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Blood Gold-Medal Horse to Be Tested

November 5, 2004

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) _ A blood sample from Ireland’s Olympic show jumping champion will be tested to determine whether a gold medal won in Athens should be stripped.

Waterford Crystal’s sample will be analyzed at the U.S. equestrian drug-testing lab in New York, the International Equestrian Federation, the sport’s governing body, said Friday.

At stake is the medal won by rider Cian O’Connor, Ireland’s only gold.

An inquiry was launched after Waterford Crystal’s initial sample tested positive for a banned substance. The medal could be stripped if there is a second positive result.

A portion of the horse’s backup sample was stolen last month while being delivered to the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory in Newmarket, England.

Police investigations are under way in Britain, Ireland and Switzerland.

O’Connor has denied any wrongdoing.

If Ireland loses the gold, the medal would go to Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa.

The Irish equestrian federation has said Waterford Crystal was given a sedative for a leg injury a month before the Olympics in August.

O’Connor said his veterinarian assured him the sedative would work its way out of the horse’s system before the games.

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