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[RC] IntNewsGroup: DAVID O'CONNOR IS NAMED EQUESTRIAN OF THE YEAR - Lori & Rick Stewart



DAVID O'CONNOR IS NAMED EQUESTRIAN OF THE YEAR
The Olympic eventer is the first in the sport to take the title twice

After a remarkable year, David O'Connor, 41, of The Plains, VA, has been
named as USA Equestrian's 2002 Equestrian of the Year. O'Connor is the first
two-time winner of this award in the history of the sport. A stellar
horseman, O'Connor was chosen from a group of eight of the country's most
outstanding athletes that were already bestowed the title of Equestrians of
Honor.

The eventer first won the award in 2000 largely for his individual gold
medal winning performance at the Sydney Olympics, where he rode Custom Made,
an Irish Thoroughbred gelding owned by Joe Zada. While at the games,
O'Connor turned in the best eventing dressage score in Olympic history when
he opened the individual competition with a score of 29.00 penalties. He was
the first U.S. athlete to take the gold medal in the sport since 1984.

This past year has also brought significant achievements. His Olympic gold
medal horse, Custom Made, carried him to victory once again at Fair Hill
International. Before the competition, O'Connor announced the event would be
the last for the 17 year-old prize-winning gelding. At Radnor Hunt
International, he also won the USA National Two-Star Eventing Championship.

In addition, O'Connor distinguished himself in a team capacity. Riding
Giltedge, an Irish Thoroughbred gelding owned by Jacqueline Mars, he led the
team to gold at the World Equestrian Games in Spain.

The Equestrian of the Year award is presented to the individual who has
"excelled above all others in equestrian competition for the current year,
while demonstrating superior sportsmanship and dedication to the principles,
vision, and mission of USA Equestrian." The winner is determined by vote of
the general membership, USA Equestrian Board of Directors and equestrian
media.

O'Connor was presented with the Robert P. Strub Trophy at the Pegasus Awards
Dinner, January 17, 2003 during the USA Equestrian Annual Meeting at the
Marriott Griffin Gate in Lexington, KY.





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