Curragha woman Natalya Coyle suffered Olympic heartbreak in Tokyo as the horse she drew to ride in the show jumping section of the Modern Penthatlon refused at three separate jumps sending the Meath woman toppling from fifth to seventeenth place.
In the event competitors do not get to ride their own horses they are provided with a selection by the host committee and a draw is made to see who rides what, and Coyle came out with a horse called Constantin, described by the commentator in the clip below as a ‘tramp’.
The man with the mike knew what he was talking about as he correctly predicted Constantin would clear the last two fences easily because he knew he was heading back to his stables!
Coyle, 30, was third in the rankings after Thursday’s fencing round, then fourth after Friday’s swimming and fencing bonus round.
But the Meath woman suffered badly when thanks to the horse only managed to score 234 points out of the 300 on offer, leaving her 64 seconds adrift of the lead.
Earlier, Constantin had refused at one of the same fences for Uzbekistan’s Alise Fakhrutdinova.
That dropped Coyle to 19th place and the final leg, the combined run and pistol shooting, was academic as Kate French won gold for GB and Coyle finished 24th overall.
It was a major disappointment to her after finishing ninth in London 2012 sixth in Rio 2016 and she harboured real hopes of going close to a medal here after some excellent results since then.
Constantin will surely go down in Irish Olympic history alongside Cian O’Connor’s horse Waterford Crystal who was found with an illegal substance in his body costing O’Connor gold at a previous games, and of course earlier this time around Rhys McLenaghan fell off the pommell horse when well placed for a gymnastics gold.
The videos below show Coyles showjumping round and her emotional interview afterwards