Equestrianism: O'Connor ponders appeal against loss of gold medal
Tuesday 29 March 2005
Having been stripped of his Olympic gold medal in Zurich late on Sunday evening - and with a three-month ban from showjumping in prospect - Ireland's Cian O'Connor has been left to consider the option of appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"I'm going to go away and think about it," he said. In view of the procedural errors made by the International Equestrian Federation [FEI], it is conceivable that he would get to keep his medal on appeal. But it seems doubtful that this would have much value under such circumstances.
Though he described the loss of the medal as "a huge disappointment", the 25-year-old Irishman must have realised that it was virtually a foregone conclusion after traces of two forbidden substances were found in samples taken from his mount, Waterford Crystal, after his victory in Athens.
Having always maintained his innocence (insisting that the drugs had unexpectedly remained in the horse's system after medical treatment five weeks before the Olympics), O'Connor at least has the satisfaction of feeling that he has been vindicated by the Judicial Committee of the FEI. Their statement exonerated him from any "deliberate attempt to affect the performance of the horse".
So maybe it is time to bite the bullet and accept the penalties. No doubt the FEI would be happy for him to do so, since any appeal to the Court of Arbitration would serve to highlight their own inadequacies in the bizarre events, which included the theft of the B sample of Waterford Crystal's urine from outside the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory in Newmarket.
If O'Connor does relinquish the medal - the only one obtained by Ireland in Athens - it will go to Rodrigo Pessoa, who will add it to the mementos of his 1998 world title and his three victories in the World Cup final. The Brazilian was not, however, in any mood to gloat yesterday.
"There's not much emotion to winning under these circumstances," he said. "It's very sad for Cian O'Connor and he must be having a hard time for the moment, but we all know the rules and we have to go by them. I guess that's life."
Pessoa said that he would "definitely try to win in the right way in three years' time". O'Connor, whose showjumping ambitions are undiminished, will also have his sights set on Beijing in the hopes of collecting a medal that he is allowed to keep.
Latest in Sport
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Sir Alex Ferguson reveals who he thinks is better between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
Chelsea transfer news: 'Eden Hazard will cost Real Madrid £100m - and a Galactico,' says Jose Mourinho
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...