David O’Connor Appointed USEF Chief of Sport

David O’Connor and Giltedge on their way to winning the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2001. Photo used with permission from Shannon Brinkman.

On the heels of announcing Graeme Thom as the new FEI/High Performance Director of Sport Programs, US Equestrian has also announced the appointment of David O’Connor to the newly created position of Chief of Sport beginning October 3, 2022.

O’Connor, a decorated Olympian, is no stranger to US Equestrian, having earned individual gold and team bronze medals in Eventing at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics and a team silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. Additionally, David served as the USEF President from 2004 to 2012 and currently serves on the FEI Board of Directors. In 2021, he was presented with the USOPC’s General Douglas MacArthur Exemplary Service Award in recognition of his continued service and commitment to equestrian sports within the Olympic and Paralympic movements.

O’Connor’s responsibilities will be primarily strategically focused. He will be responsible for working with the Executive Team regarding overall international and national sport support of the USEF Strategic Plan and its initiatives, sport integrity, education, and equine and human safety and welfare. Additionally, he will provide oversight of the international and national sport operations, ensuring that the Sport Department’s short-term and long-term strategic plans align with USEF’s priorities, and he will focus on strengthening relationships with stakeholder groups such as the USOPC, FEI and USEF’s Recognized Affiliates.

“I very much look forward to the opportunities afforded by this new role within the USEF,” stated O’Connor. “The chance to perform a 365-degree view of equestrian sport from a national and a global perspective and share strategies to ensure safety, welfare, and enjoyment while growing the sport across all breeds and disciplines will be an exciting prospect. My passion has always been horses and promoting equestrian sport both within and outside of our equine community is a very important mission, both personally and for the USEF as a whole.”

“We are pleased to welcome David to USEF to serve in this new role,” said Bill Moroney, USEF CEO. “As a key member of the executive leadership team, David will provide thought leadership, innovative problem-solving, and share diverse ideas to guide strategic actions and important business decisions, drive priorities, and lead change for the organization’s success.”

US Equestrian President Tom O’Mara added, “David’s extensive equestrian and governance experience will be instrumental in the continued implementation of the USEF Strategic Plan and the growth of equestrian sport nationally and internationally.

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