The U.S. Equestrian Federation announced Thursday the appointment of David O’Connor to the newly created position of chief of sport beginning Oct. 3. The announcement comes the same day as that of Graeme Thom as USEF’s new high performance director, a position he also will assume Oct. 3.
O’Connor, a decorated Olympian, is no stranger to USEF, having earned individual gold and team bronze medals in eventing at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and a team silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Additionally, O’Connor served as USEF president from 2004-2012 and currently serves on the Fédération Equestre Internationale Board of Directors. In 2021, he was presented with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s General Douglas MacArthur Exemplary Service Award in recognition of his continued service and commitment to equestrian sports within the Olympic and Paralympic movements.
O’Connor’s responsibilities will be primarily strategically focused. He will be responsible for working with the executive team regarding overall international and national sport support of the USEF strategic plan and its initiatives, sport integrity, education, and equine and human safety and welfare. Additionally, he will provide oversight of the international and national sport operations, ensuring that the sport department’s short-term and long-term strategic plans align with USEF’s priorities, and he will focus on strengthening relationships with stakeholder groups such as the USOPC, FEI and USEF’s recognized affiliates.
“I very much look forward to the opportunities afforded by this new role within the USEF,” O’Connor said. “The chance to perform a 365-degree view of equestrian sport from a national and a global perspective and share strategies to ensure safety, welfare and enjoyment while growing the sport across all breeds and disciplines will be an exciting prospect. My passion has always been horses, and promoting equestrian sport both within and outside of our equine community is a very important mission, both personally and for the USEF as a whole.”
“We are pleased to welcome David to USEF to serve in this new role,” USEF CEO Bill Moroney said. “As a key member of the executive leadership team, David will provide thought leadership, innovative problem-solving, and share diverse ideas to guide strategic actions and important business decisions, drive priorities and lead change for the organization’s success.”
USEF President Tom O’Mara added, “David’s extensive equestrian and governance experience will be instrumental in the continued implementation of the USEF strategic plan and the growth of equestrian sport nationally and internationally.”