Olympic gold finally goes to Brazil

  • More than nine months after the Olympic Games in Athens, Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa will swap his Olympic silver medal for a gold one in an official medal redistribution organised by the International Olympic Committee.

    This follows an announcement by the FEI that it has received an official waiver from Cian O’Connor’s attorney, confirming that he will not appeal against the Judicial Committee’s decision of 23 May 2005.

    O’Connor won the gold medal in Athens, but traces of banned substances fluphenazine and zuclopenthixol were found in a blood and urine tests carried out on his winning ride Waterford Crystal.

    In March the FEI’s Judicial Committee accepted the reports of both dope testings on the grounds that “the FEI Veterinary Regulations Art. 1022 permits the combination of analyses of blood and urine”. They also confirmed that both substances are banned under the federation’s rules.

    Despite disqualifying O’Connor from the Games, suspending him from competition for a three month period and fining him £2,224, the Judicial Committee maintained that he was not involved in “a deliberate attempt to affect the performance of the horse”.

    In a statement following the hearing, O’Connor was evidently relieved to be cleared of any deliberate misconduct: “I am delighted that the Judicial Committee has accepted and affirmed that I was not involved in any deliberate attempt to affect the performance of my horse Waterford Crystal – as I have always maintained,” he said.

    Although he is now a confirmed Olympic gold medal winner, Pessoa is unlikely to be particularly excited. “This medal would not mean very much. It will go in the cabinet with the others, but it will be just a statistic: the emotion is not there anymore” he told Horse & Hound in April.

    The official results following O’Connor’s disqualification are:

    • Gold: Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and Baloubet du Rouet
    • Silver: Chris Kappler (USA) and Royal Kaliber
    • Bronze: Marco Kutscher (GER) and Montender 2

    O’Connor’s disqualification results in the Irish team being eliminated from the competition. Consequently, the Italian team moves up to seven place, with Korea in eighth, and all other teams classified below move up one place.

    All points counting towards the FEI/Gandini World Riders Rankings will be redistributed according to the new result of the Olympic competitions.

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