Who will be the next U.S. Eventing Technical Advisor and Chef d’Equipe? David O’Connor, the current U.S. Equestrian Federation President and Canadian Eventing International Technical Advisor, is turning in his application today, as first reported on Eventing Nation. He joins Phillip Dutton and Bobby Costello, who also announced their plan to submit a joint application by the Jan. 31 deadline.
“It’s something that I’ve been training myself for, planning for, educating myself for. It’s been a lifelong pursuit of mine to try to get to this point,” said O’Connor.
O’Connor began representing the United States internationally in 1986. His impressive résumé includes team silver from the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, individual gold and team silver from the 2000 Sydney Olympics and team gold from the 2002 World Equestrian Games as well as various other World Championship and Pan American Games appearances. He also won the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event three times, twice as a three-star and once as a four-star, in addition to winning the Badminton CCI**** (England) in 1997.
When O’Connor retired from high performance competition in 2004, he jumped headfirst into eventing administration—he became the first president of the USEF in 2005 and took on the role of coaching the Canadian eventing team shortly thereafter. He is currently a member of the Fédération Equestre Internationale Bureau, was chosen to lead the FEI Safety Sub-Committee and is the current chair of Group IV, one of nine regional groupings.
But many of O’Connor’s commitments to the FEI, USEF and Canada will end in 2012, just in time for him to take on this new position after the London Olympic Games. “I couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t, and don’t want to go on [as USEF president],” said O’Connor. “I’ve spent nine years doing this job. I’m very proud of that and the team building that’s occurred during my tenure.”
O’Connor is also committed to coaching Canada through the London Olympics—a team he’s already led to silver medals at the 2007 Pan American Games (Brazil) and the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
“I’m fully expecting to try to win the Olympics,” said O’Connor. “My competitive nature is an asset. That competitive side of me as a regular competitor was huge.”
On the competition from Costello and Dutton, O’Connor would only say, “I think those guys have their reasons for doing it. There are different philosophies.
“I’m excited and honored to be able to try for it,” he continued. “I would be very honored to get it. I think we can bring the USA back to the medal-winning performances that we’ve had in the past. I’m a very optimistic positive person and coach. My horsemanship stands for itself. My leadership stands on its own. I have the experience of producing a medal winning team. I’m itching to do it.”