O'Connor stripped of medal

Irish showjumper Cian O’Connor was today officially stripped of his Olympic gold medal because his horse failed a drugs test.

Irish showjumper Cian O’Connor was today officially stripped of his Olympic gold medal because his horse failed a drugs test.

Waterford Crystal failed the test at last year’s Athens Games and then a ’B’ urine sample was stolen from a laboratory in Newmarket in October.

A blood sample later confirmed that sedatives were found.

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board, meeting in Singapore, today ratified a decision by International Equestrian Federation’s to disqualify the horse and the Co Meath-based rider.

Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa who rode Baloubet Du Roet is now the Olympic champion.

He is set to receive his medal in August – a year after he unknowingly rode to victory.

O’Connor has already returned his gold medal and plans are now underway for IOC President Jacques Rogges to either award the medal in person or pass it on to Brazilian Olympic officials.

IOC communications director Giselle Davies said: “Mr O’Connor has chosen not to appeal and the executive board made a decision that he be disqualified and the gold medal and other medals will now be redistributed.”

American Chris Kappler who rode Royal Kaliber now takes the silver and Germany’s Marco Kutscher on Montender takes the bronze. Britain’s Robert Smith on Mr Springfield moves up to fourth.

O’Connor had claimed the drugs, fluphenazine and guanabenz which are used to treat high blood pressure in humans, were given to Waterford Crystal a month before the Games when it was being given hydrotherapy treatment on a fetlock injury, and that they in no way boosted performance.

He said last November: “We’re talking about a fraction of a millionth of a gram in each case. We in no way tried to affect the results of the Olympic Games with drugs.”

O’Connor has denied any involvement in the theft of the sample, or of documents about him taken in a burglary of the Irish Equestrian Federation headquarters the day after the international federation announced the B sample had been taken.

The showjumper has blamed personal enemies inside the Irish equestrian establishment of plotting against him.

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