Gladstone, NJ — February 2004 — The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has selected David O’Connor as the 2003 Equestrian Developmental Coach of the Year.
O’Connor, the 2000 Olympic individual Gold Medalist in eventing, has helped the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s eventing program by working closely with its Developing Riders. He was chosen by the United States Olympic Committee’s Coach Recognition program for his commitment to training and helping to develop future US Equestrian Federation equestrian athletes.
Demonstrating the dramatic effect O’Connor’s coaching has had on this country’s eventing Developing Riders was the success achieved by some of them in 2003. At age 21, Kristin Schmolze finished as the Reserve Champion in the Fair Hill International CCI***. Will Faudree, age 22, was part of the United States’ Gold Medal team at the Pan American Championships in Fair Hill, MD.
In September 2002, O’Connor added to his list of illustrious career highlights as a rider when he helped the U.S. earn the team Gold Medal at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain. In 2000, O'Connor won the first Olympic Gold Medal for the United States since 1984 when he clinched the individual eventing championship at the Sydney Olympic Games finishing with the best score in Olympic history.
In addition to sharing the team Bronze in Sydney, he and his wife, Karen, were also teammates on the Silver Medal-winning U.S. squad at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. At the 1999 Pan American in Winnipeg, Canada, O'Connor won team Gold and individual Silver Medals.
While serving US Equestrian as coach of eventing Developing Riders, O’Connor is also leading equestrian sport into the 21st century as President of the Federation. He remains an active competitor and is targeting a third consecutive Olympic appearance and the chance to defend the Gold Medal he won in Sydney.
U.S. Equestrian Inc., as the National Equestrian Federation of the U.S., is the regulatory body for the Olympic and World Championship sports of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, reining, show jumping, and vaulting, as well as 19 other breeds and disciplines of equestrian competition. As the country’s largest multi-breed organization, the Federation has over 80,000 members and recognizes more than 2,800 competitions nationwide each year. It governs all aspects of competition, including educating and licensing all judges, stewards, and technical delegates who officiate at these shows.
The vision of U.S. Equestrian is to provide leadership for equestrian sport in the United States of America, promoting the pursuit of excellence from the grass roots to the Olympic Games, based on a foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare of its horses, and embracing this vision, to be the best national equestrian federation in the world.
The USET Foundation fosters the highest ideals of horsemanship and excellence in equestrian sport while promoting international goodwill. The USET Foundation supports US Equestrian teams by funding International High Performance programs, athletes and coaches.