Gold Medalist in Utah to Teach 'Equestrian Eventing'

Gold Medalist in Utah to Teach 'Equestrian Eventing'

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Shelley Osterloh ReportingOlympic Gold medalist David O'Connor is busy preparing for his third Olympics, but is also taking some time to teach others.

It's not his first trip to Salt Lake; he's been visiting here regularly for twenty years. O'Connor hopes to promote a sport known as "equestrian eventing."

At the 2000 Sydney Games David O'Connor won the individual Eventing Gold Medal with an Olympic record setting score. It had been more than 20 years since an American had won gold in this event. That same year he and his wife Karen led the team that won the silver medal.

David O'Connor, Olympic Gold Medalist: "It’s an amazing thing to stand on the podium at the Olympic Games for your country."

O'Connor says, winning Olympic medals has give him the opportunity to travel the world. And hold clinics where he shares his enthusiasm and knowledge for the sport. This week O'Connor is teaching Utah riders the tricks and skills of the trade, working with both beginners and experienced riders at the Golden Spike Arena and Linnleigh Farms.

David O'Connor: "Obviously just like skiing or a lot of sports, it's competed at a myriad of different levels. So we are here really to help people who don't do it as a profession be safe and enjoy their sport. And they get to do, at a smaller level, what we do at the Olympic games."

In spite of O'Connor's busy competition and training schedule, he enjoys instructing others. He has been coming to Utah regularly to teach for 20 years. In fact his Mother Sally - who also teaches - used to live in Salt Lake. Local riders say the O'Connor family has had a tremendous influence on the sport in Utah.

Susan Goodman, Amateur Competitor: "Some of the kids that he started here in Utah are Olympic hopefuls. They may not be right on his tail, but they are very close."

O'Connor, who still has to qualify for Athens, says this will likely be his last Olympics. But he will continue to promote equestrian eventing and is president of the US Eqeustrian Federation, and that may be his greatest legacy.

David and his wife Karen both hope to be on the US Olympic Team, which will be chosen this month.

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