Irish Equestrian Pulls Out of Tokyo Olympics After Horse Bleeds During Individual Jumping Final

Published 08/05/2021, 1:15 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Equestrian – Jumping – Individual – Final – Equestrian Park – Tokyo, Japan – August 4, 2021. Cian O’Connor of Ireland on his horse Kilkenny competes. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis


Irish equestrian Cian O’Connor suffered a bitter end to his journey at the Tokyo Olympics. During the individual jumping final earlier today, his horse Kilkenny spewed blood from his nostrils which raised concerns.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Although the FEI didn’t eliminate the 41-year-old and his horse, O’Connor announced their withdrawal from the team jumping later this week.

Cian O’Connor and Kilkenny pull out from Tokyo Olympics

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

O’Connor made his first Olympic appearance in the 2004 Athens Olympics. He became an instant Irish hero after clinching the only gold medal in individual jumping. However, the FEI stripped the medal off him after his horse, Waterford Crystal tested positive for a banned substance.

He returned to the Olympics in 2012, taking home a bronze medal. Coming into Tokyo, he carried Irish hopes of a medal in equestrian sports. However, the incident during the final today forced O’Connor to make the choice of withdrawing from the team jumping event on Saturday, August 7.

After the individual jumping event, the 41-year-old issued a statement confirming the same alongside Kilkenny. He said“He looks great; the vets have checked him over, and he seems fine. We’re allowed to continue to compete, but for me, his future is more important.”

During his statement, he also appreciated his horse’s performance today. “We’ll be back to fight another day. I’m just happy he’s in such good shape, and he jumped so well in the qualifier and the final,” said O’Connor.

DIVE DEEPER

Equestrian Rider Disqualified From Tokyo Olympics 2020 After Judges Spot Blood on Horse’s Mouth

about 2 months ago

FEI let O’Connor compete despite spotting blood on Kilkenny

After any equestrian event, FEI officials inspect every horse. One of the aspects they check for is blood on their flanks or mouth. However, they found O’Connor did not violate this rule since it was an epistaxis, or a nosebleed.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

An FEI spokesperson said, “The vets established that this was a nosebleed (epistaxis) and, as a precaution, the horse has gone to the onsite Veterinary Clinic for a further examination. Under the FEI Jumping Rules, blood on the flanks or in the horse’s mouth results in elimination, however, equine epistaxis is not a cause for elimination.”

The Irish equestrian ultimately finished seventh and did not advance to the jump-off for the gold medal. Great Britain’s Ben Maher took the gold medal with his horse Explosion W to make an impression in his fourth Olympic appearance.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Equestrian – Jumping – Individual – Medal Ceremony – Equestrian Park – Tokyo, Japan – August 4, 2021. Gold medallist Ben Maher of Britain poses with silver medallist Peder Fredricson of Sweden and bronze medallist Maikel van der Vleuten of the Netherlands. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Swedish rider Peder Fredericson clinched silver with his horse All In, while Dutch rider Maikel van der Vleuten took bronze with his horse Beauville Z.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

WATCH STORY: Most Exciting Equestrian Jump-Offs at Olympic Games

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Sanket Nair

639 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT