It’s the jump crew dive heard ’round the world, as a member of the jump crew at the FEI European Championships was standing in the track as Ireland’s Cian O’Connor galloped around the turn. It was the second round of the Nations Cup team competition, and O’Connor and Good Luck encountered the man on the turn to the 11th fence and then had the 11th fence down.
The rail meant the difference between sixth and seventh place for team Ireland and seventh place means they don’t qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. O’Connor was furious upon concluding his round and the Irish team immediately lodged a protest with the ground jury and then the appeals committee, claiming the jump crew interference contributed to O’Connor’s rail at Fence 11. But those bodies denied the protest.
The Fédération Equeste Internationale released a statement on the decisions: “The protest was heard by the Ground Jury, who ruled that as the athlete had continued his round, they saw no reason to stop him by ringing the bell. Under Article 233.3 of the FEI Jumping Rules, the athlete had the opportunity to stop voluntarily due to unforeseen circumstances beyond his control, however he did not do so.”
The Irish are vowing to continue to pursue avenues to contest the ruling.
What do YOU think? Did the jump crew member interfere with O’Connor’s approach to Fence 11?