Multi-Olympian Karen O’Connor has been appointed the new Coach of the Mexican Eventing Team and will assume the role immediately. The appointment will involve O’Connor training the team for major events including the Pan American Games in Toronto this summer and the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in 2016.
O’Connor is looking forward to the challenge and commented: “It is with great pleasure that I have been appointed as National trainer of Mexico’s Eventing Team. There is tremendous support in Mexico from the army and the civilians alike, for the implementation of a solid program going forward to develop Mexico into a true competitive nation on the world stage. This comes at a very good time for me. I finally feel recovered from my back injury to take on this position. Since David’s appointment as U.S. Chef d’Equipe some two years ago, I have had to stand down from all involvement to the USA’s HP committees to prevent any perceived conflicts of interest. I had served on all of the standing committees for over 25 years. Letting go of this, has been very frustrating for me. I have been forced therefore to consider other options including other nations.
Sue Ockenden has done tremendous work in developing eventing in Central and South America. Other American and Canadian riders are coaching teams from the Americas and Mark Todd is now coaching Brazil. Wonderful sites in Mexico have been developed and are currently scheduled for CCI** in February, and tentatively CCI 3* in September. There is plenty of talent in Mexico. I look forward to working with all of the riders, and I am very confident in developing their National Program so they can very soon become a competitive nation on the world stage.”
O’Connor has represented the USA at five Olympic Games and four World Equestrian Games as well as two Pan American Games and numerous four-star events around the world. In 1993, O’Connor was the number one ranked lady rider in the world and she has been named U.S. Female Equestrian Athlete of the Year ten times. She won the Team Silver Medal at the Atlanta Olympics, riding Biko, and the Team Bronze Medal at the Sydney Olympics, aboard Prince Panache. At the Pan American Games at Fair Hill, O’Connor and Joker’s Wild earned the Individual Silver Medal. In 2007, Karen and Theodore O’Connor won the Individual Gold Medal in addition to leading the U.S. to the Team Gold Medal at the Pan Am Games in Brazil. Karen was the highest placed American eventer at the 2012 London Olympics, riding Mr.Medicott. She was also the oldest female Olympian of all athletes and the oldest U.S. athlete, male or female, in London.