London 2012

Irish joy, agony for GB

Ireland's wait for a medal at London 2012 finally comes to an end

Last Updated: 08/08/12 9:19pm

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Cian O'Connor: Won the bronze medal

Cian O'Connor: Won the bronze medal

Showjumper Cian O'Connor won Ireland's first medal of London 2012 with a bronze in the individual competition - but there was heartache for Great Britain's trio of riders at Greenwich Park.

Nick Skelton, Scott Brash and Ben Maher, who combined to win the team gold medal on Monday, all missed out on a place on the podium.

Switzerland's Steve Guerdat won gold as the only rider with two clear rounds in the individual final, while Holland's Gerco Schroder beat O'Connor in a jump-off for silver and bronze.

O'Connor won Olympic gold in Athens eight years ago, but he was stripped of the medal after his then horse Waterford Crystal failed a drugs test.

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.

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.

Schroder's horse, aptly called London, almost helped Holland deny Britain team gold two days ago, but he will still leave for for home with two silvers.


For Skelton, it was sheer torture. The last rider to go, he would have forced a jump-off with 30-year-old Guerdat.

But one fence down - the first his brilliant stallion Big Star has had in six rounds of jumping across team and individual competitions in London - cost him a medal.

He finished joint fifth with Brash, while Maher was a little further down the pecking order.

Skelton led going into the final showjumping round in Athens eight years ago, but eight faults there relegated him from first to 12th.

His wait for an individual showjumping medal goes on, as does Britain's, with Ann Moore and Psalm the last combination to collect one when they took silver in Munich 40 years ago.

Skelton told BBC 1: "It's one of those things. He hasn't touched a jump all week, and that was the worst time to hit one.

"I've been there before. It's the same thing again. What can you do? He is still a great horse.

"He's still fresh - he could go again. He was unlucky. It wasn't meant to be."

Six riders carried zero faults into the final individual round, including Skelton and and Brash, but only Guerdat kept everything up.

Britain equestrian, though, will still enjoy its most successful Games in history if they collect a medal in Thursday's final event, the individual freestyle final.

The dressage trio of Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin all have strong medal chances, and if that transpires then British riders would equal their previous record of three gongs in one Games.

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