So, does Lynch have a case?
Hi Tony, firstly, Cian served a three-month suspension for his Athens infringement. As to HSI being weak, I'm not sure, but I will say that they are very conscious of the optics. Don't forget that the Olympic Council of Ireland had the final say on this and they could have rejected Cian's nomination. Their memories would stretch back to Athens, I'm sure, so they must be satisfied he is a safe bet... at least in terms of controversy. As for his ability to perform with Blue Loyd, the horse has talent, no doubt, but has Cian had enough time to truly gel with him? As I outlined earlier, Shane has an impressive record and has shown dedication to the Irish cause. Consider the cost of bringing horses over from the US to Europe. I feel he is within his rights to question why he was not selected.
Hi Peter, on the question of Lynch having a case. His strongest argument would be that he has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing. He has given plausible explanations for why his three horses were disqualified and these have been accepted by the FEI. But three hits in one year is an inordinately high figure and, when coupled with his 2008 Olympic disqualification, it was enough to convince HSI Lynch was not suitable. HSI has been very public and pro-active in telling the riders they needed to be above reproach and that it would take a hard line. I'm sure HSI would not have withdrawn his nomination unless they had a legally-sound basis for doing so.
@John I think we can expect Mr Straumann, Lynch's backer, to launch an appeal. After all, he has probably put in major money...
Apologies for the delay in John's reply, but he is currently on the phone with Cian O'Connor.
Cian has declined to comment.....
Hi Pat, apologies for the delay. I think this whole situation is a sad day for show jumping. I do think the FEI still has work to do and also HSI, perhaps. It looked to me that the FEI were waiting in the long grass in Hong Kong at the last Olympics to ambush the riders and it proved an unmitigated PR disaster for the sport. Thus, I had suspected that the FEI would be more, let's call it 'vigilant', in the run up to the Olympics this time and some rider, not necessarily an Irishman, would find themselves in the news for the wrong reason.
Hi Peter, I just asked Denis's brother/manager Shay if there is any consideration being given to him quitting Ireland and transferring allegiance to Germany and he said: 'None'.
@Sheena Walsh I agree, he has paid the price and been clean for eight years, so good luck to him.
Hi Tony and Irene, I know that Shane's horse owners, Spy Coast Farm, would fund the cost of sending Amaretto d'Arco to London.
Hi Tony, re Cian keeping his cards close to his chest: In fairness, I think he was fairly forthcoming in today's Irish Examiner and I wouldn't blame anybody for being circumspect in this case, considering the history of show jumping and controversy. Also, Sheena, I believe everybody deserves a second chance.
Hi Tony, I'm not sure what you mean about bully boy tactics. Speaking as a newspaper man, I see nothing wrong in self-promotion, considering these are the stars of the sport. I think it is a cheap shot on your part and other riders could learn a little from him in terms of PR. You cannot avoid recognising that these days it is major element of being a professional rider, particularly in terms of sourcing sponsorship. Regarding the FEI, their handling of the Athens affair was nothing short of a disgrace and they were totally compromised.
Horsetimesmag, I was never suggesting Denis could ride for Germany at the Olympics. It was merely by way of background to show Denis's history with officialdom.
@tony I don't see why you are picking on Cian, if anything he is powerless in the situation. I for one will support him while feeling sympathy for Shane Sweetnam.
Hi Tony, no argument in terms of Billy's standing. Rather than defending Cian, I would prefer to think I am throwing some light on all sides of this debate. Sure, I recognise Cian's selection would anger some people. It is perfectly understandable and I respect you right to have a viewpoint and to put that view forward.
Just spoke by phone to Shane's dad Jerry. He said his son is very 'disappointed', adding: 'He's clean and successful and the only combination [with Amaretto d'Arco], apart from Billy Twomey, with a championship record. He came fourth on the last day of last year's European Championships.'
Hi Twiggy, undoubtedly, it must be very painful for Denis. As for Cian being in the Olympics again, I am long past being surprised by him, which is why I went out on a limb in March and said he had laid down a marker for Olympic selection with his double clear in the US Nations Cup. Prescience!!
Hi Patrick, I can appreciate why you cannot understand how Denis was withdrawn, especially as, with his talent and Thomas Straumann's backing, he has achieved so much. Unfortunately, it always comes back to the three disqualifications in one year, even if they were all naturally occurring. Does it mean, Denis was, at the least, careless, or is there a vendetta at work? It's impossible to say, but I firmly believe it demonstrates that riders have to be ultra cautious. I also believe this will apply to Cian in London and the run-up. He cannot afford any slip ups. To sum up: Cian can point to his current form, Shane can feel aggrieved, considering his consistency over the past 18 months, Denis, I feel, has the right to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to question the process. Meanwhile, only manager Robert Splaine can answer why he went for Cian over Shane.
Hi everyone, thanks for taking part in this discussion. We are winding it up now, but could revisit this in the future. We will keep you posted.
Okay, I think we will wrap things up for now. Many thanks to John Tynan for giving up his time to take part in our Q&A, and many thanks to all of you who contributed, it made it all the more interesting to see the opinion out there on this affair. I think it is far to say that this may run and run and we haven't heard the last of it. Feel free to contribute more comments and opinions.