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Last Updated: Friday, 27 August, 2004, 19:02 GMT 20:02 UK
O'Connor jumps to gold
Dublin-born Cian O'Connor
Ireland's Cian O'Connor shows off his gold medal
Cian O'Connor won a gold medal for Ireland with a brilliant second round clearance in the individual showjumping final in Athens on Friday.

O'Connor aboard Waterford Crystal pipped Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa and America's Chris Kappler to gold.

But there was disappointment for Northern Ireland's Jessica Kuerten who was joint leader with GB's Nick Skelton after first round clears.

But Kuerten picked up 21 points in the second round to finish joint 19th.

Kevin Babington finished in joint fifth after picking up a total of 12 faults.

But O'Connor will be afforded the freedom of Dublin when he returns from the Olympics on Monday after his exploits on his 13-year-old bay gelding Waterford Crystal.

The 24-year-old picked up four faults in the opening round, but his faultless clearance in the second brings to Ireland their first medal of the games.

Swimmer Michelle de Bruin was the last Irish competitor to strike Olympic gold when she claimed three swimming titles at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

I never expected it
Cian O'Connor

O'Connor, grandson of Karl Mullen, Ireland rugby's only Grand Slam captain, is a protege of Lt Col Gerry Mullins, one of Ireland's most famous showjumpers.

The gold medallist acknowledged afterwards that he would have been a 50/1 shot to take the title.

"I never expected it," he said.

"I would have been the underdog in the final. My horse really jumped well and the track suited me.

"You need a horse that listens to you. A lot of people were saying it would be a difficult course.

"I was confident enough going into the last round."

Meanwhile, Marie Davenport finished a creditable 14th in the women's 10,000m final in a time of 31:50.49.

Although her time was almost 22 seconds outside her personal best the Clare woman finished ahead of several world-class athletes.

Ireland's Jenny McCauley finished 21st in Friday's women's mountainbike event - over a lap behind winner Gunn-Rita Dahle of Norway.

McCauley has been aiming for a top-20 finish so she is unlikely to be too disappointed although she was over 19 minutes behind the winner.

Links to more Equestrian stories


Kuerten jumps superb clear
27 Aug 04  |  Olympics 2004
Kurten makes Athens final
25 Aug 04  |  Olympics 2004


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