The Tipperary native was the surprise choice to represent Ireland in the show jumping competition
Greg Broderick is heading to the Rio Olympics as Ireland's sole representative in show jumping.
The Tipperary native was selected on Wednesday with his horse MHS Going Global to represent Ireland at the Games. He was picked ahead of the higher ranked trio of Bertram Allen, Denis Lynch and Cian O'Connor.
Broderick impressed last week in St. Gallen, Switzerland, jumping two double-clear rounds in the Nations Cup and Grand Prix events. He has told Newstalk.com that if the selection took place last week before the event, he may not have been given the nod for Rio.
"(The performance in Switzerland) was definitely crucial in the selection. My horse was phenomenal last year. He was only a nine-year-old and he jumped a double-clear in Dublin and St. Gallen last year... The horse came out with all guns blazing on Friday and jumped a double-clear in the Nations Cup, and then again in the Grand Prix. I couldn't have asked for any more."
"I was more hopeful than confident" of getting the spot, Broderick admitted. "Nobody was going to begrudge Bertram the spot. We were hoping after he won the spot in the winter, that things were going to go his way. My horse jumped fantastically well and I was given the option to go (to the Olympics). I'm thrilled."
Horse Sport Ireland's selection criteria for the event, was published in April and they state the the primary aim of selection was "to select the athlete and horse combination(s) to represent Ireland which will deliver the best possible result at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio 2016".
Broderick is already aware of the pressure the selection brings, but is ready for the trip to Brazil. "It''s a great honour to be given the chance to go... I do believe that MHS Going Global is one of the best horses in the world at this time. There was four of us shortlisted, I think all four combinations could have gone to the Olympics and done a great job. I'm honoured hat I've been picked and I hope to do the country proud."
Allen, Lynch and O'Connor were "very supportive" of Broderick's selection, but the 31-year-old admitted he contacted Allen straight-away after getting the selection call. "He won the spot, and I felt very bad for him. If I put myself in his shoes, If I won the spot, it would be very disappointing not to go."
"Bertram needs to be congratulated on winning the spot. It took a lot of jumping from him and commitment throughout the year to win the individual spot for Ireland. He's real gentleman... I hope he comes back and gets to many Olympic Games".
Broderick and MHS Going Global were part of Ireland's winning team at last years Nations Cup event in Dublin. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
If Broderick is to be in medal contention in Brazil, he and his horse will have to compete in five rounds, compared to the regular two of Nations Cup events. The long competition may be an advantage for the duo.
"The more jumping (the horse) gets, the better he seems to get... Hopefully as the week goes on, he's just going to get better, while some of the other horses will be getting tired."
Despite winning the individual spot, Broderick still has regrets about Ireland not qualifying for the team event. "If I had my way, I'd much prefer to be going with a team. We have four proper championship horses that could have done a job... We could have gone there as true medal contenders in the team event. Some of the favourites will be breathing a sigh of relief that Ireland won't be there to take them on".
There is still a slim chance that Broderick may have a team mate travel with him has Ireland have the first reserve spot in both the individual and team events. "It would have been great to be going with two opportunities to win a medal. We only have the one spot. I'm lucky to be selected. I'm going to go, keep my head down and do the best job I can.
Ireland have only won one medal in show jumping in the history of the Olympics. That came four years ago in London, when Cian O'Connor claimed bronze. Broderick is confident he will add his name to that roll of honour.