Skelton suffers showjumping agony… but Ireland celebrate first medal as O'Connor lands bronze
15:47 GMT, 8 August 2012
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There was heartache for Nick Skelton in the individual showjumping but it was celebrations for Ireland as they scooped their first medal of the Olympics.
Skelton would have forced a jump-off with a clear round but one fence down – the first his brilliant stallion Big Star has had in six rounds of jumping across team and individual competitions in London – cost him a place on the podium.
His two British gold medal-winning colleagues Scott Brash and Ben Maher also missed out, with Switzerland's Steve Guerdat taking gold.
Disappointment: Nick Skelton and Big Star had one costly mistake in the individual showjumping
Ireland's Cian O'Connor took the bronze after losing a jump-off to Dutch rider Gerco Schroder.
Skelton led going into the final showjumping round in Athens eight years ago, but eight faults there relegated him from first to 12th.
His wait for an individual showjumping medal goes on, as does Britain's, with Ann Moore and Psalm the last combination to collect one when they took silver in Munich 40 years ago.
So close: Nick Skelton almost produced a clear round on Big Star
Skelton told BBC 1: 'It's one of those things. He hasn't touched a jump all week, and that was the worst time to hit one.
'I've been there before. It's the same thing again. What can you do He is still a great horse. He's still fresh – he could go again. He was unlucky. It wasn't meant to be.'
Six riders carried zero faults into the final individual round, including last-to-go Skelton and Brash, but only Guerdat kept everything up.
Off the mark: Cian O'Connor celebrates winning the bronze on Blue Loyd 12
O'Connor won Olympic gold in Athens eight years ago, but he was stripped of the medal after his then horse Waterford Crystal failed a drugs test.
Ireland failed to qualify a team for the London Games, and were restricted to just two individual places that were taken by O'Connor and Billy Twomey.
O'Connor, riding Blue Loyd 12, gave it everything, clocking a faster time than Schroder in the jump-off, but he had one fence down.
Schroder's horse, aptly called London, almost helped Holland deny Britain team gold two days ago, but he will still leave for for home with two silvers.