Showjumper Cian O’Connor has said the reason he won Ireland’s first medal of London 2012 today is because he can perform at the big events.
The Meath-based rider won a bronze in the individual showjumping at Greenwich Park after Holland’s Gerco Schroder beat O’Connor in a jump-off for silver and bronze.
O’Connor, riding Blue Loyd 12, gave it everything, clocking a faster time than Schroder in the jump-off, but he had one fence down.
Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat won gold as the only rider with two clear rounds in the individual final.
Ireland failed to qualify a team for the London Games, and were restricted to just two individual places that were taken by O’Connor and Billy Twomey.
At the start of the day O'Connor was not in the competition, but he got an 11th-hour call-up after a Swedish rider dropped out.
He said: "It seems to be the story of my life, but I am not complaining, I am happy.
O'Connor put his podium finish down to planning.
He said: "I planned as if I was going to be in it, because it is always better to be prepared.
"Someone said that I must be one of the greatest riders in the world, I don't think I am the greatest rider in the world but I think I can produce on a big day, and the reason I can produce on a big day is because I am organised and focused and I planned.
"I think this medal is for organisation."
The Kildare man admitted he was celebrating at the end of his second clear round of the day with five other riders still to go.
"I was thrilled, I looked up at the clock, I knew I was over the time but double-clear at the Olympic Games is always going to get you close to a medal."
O’Connor, who won Olympic gold in Athens eight years ago but was stripped of the medal after his then horse Waterford Crystal failed a drugs test, said his bronze today made up for previous events.
He said: "It certainly helps, hopefully it will have some good spin-offs for the sport at home and hopefully for the Irish public. There has been so much support for me ever since the build-up."
"What a place to do it in London right on our doorstep and I am so grateful to everyone who has helped me get here.
"The horse jumped fantastic today, the second round we were 200 hundredths of a second outside the time, but it is always more important to leave the fences standing."