OLYMPIC MEDALLIST CIAN O’Connor has put his success at London 2012 down to “hard work, dedication and commitment”.
The Meath rider claimed third place in the individual jumping event after only losing out in a jump-off with Gerco Schroder of the Netherlands after clipping the final fence to pick up four penalty points.
It spells the end of a remarkable chapter in the 32-year-old’s career. Eight years ago, he won gold with Waterford Crystal but saw it stripped from him after the horse failed a drugs test before serving a three-month ban.
He was first reserve for yesterday’s final but received a last minute call-up when a Swedish horse was forced to pull out.
“It’s been amazing, unbelievable, a rollercoaster ride to get here,” he told RTE Sport last night. “So many people helped me to get here and they are behind this success.
“We were only one place out so if one person had a little bit of bad luck, I was ready. When we got the call, we said let’s go and get organised.
Being prepared is the key to a lot of success. I don’t think I’m the best rider but I’m the most organised.
“I possibly got a little excited over the last. Hindsight is great and I was a little disappointed to go one down but I took off my cap as I knew I had won bronze.”
On the controversy surrounding his first Olympic appearance, 32-year-old O’Connor added:
“Athens is eight years ago, I put it behind me. I never said mistakes weren’t made and we learned from them. There are stricter rules with Horse Sport Ireland and the vets now. Hopefully the Irish people can take something from this.
It’s certainly shows that hard work, dedication and commitment, a lot is possible.”