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‘My true partner’: Olympic champions to take their place in hall of fame

Olympic gold medallists Eric Lamaze and Hickstead are to be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

The pair are the second horse and rider combination to join the hall of fame, and Eric will also receive Canada’s highest sporting honour, the order of sport.

The combination claimed individual gold and team silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as well as individual bronze at the 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG), plus individual silver and team bronze at the 2007 Pan-Ams.

The Beijing success was a defining moment for Canada, as Eric was the country’s first Olympic showjumping champion. He ended the year as Canada’s first world number one in the FEI rankings, an achievement he followed up in 2010 and 2011.

Hickstead was also given the title of “best horse” at WEG 2010, when the championships still ran to the format where the top four combinations swapped horses in the final round.

Their grands prix record together included titles at Calgary, Geneva, Aachen, La Baule and Rome. They also finished second in the 2011 World Cup final in Germany.

“It is an honour for myself and Hickstead to be recognised for our achievements by Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame,” said Eric.

“I’m especially happy for Hickstead. In our sport, it takes two athletes, one human and one equine, working together and in Hickstead I found a true partner. It’s wonderful that his accomplishments are being recognised for the great athletic feats that they were.

“Together, we were proud to represent Canada on the world stage. My sincerest thanks to all who supported this nomination and made it possible. I gratefully accept this honour on behalf of all of our supporters, our fans, and our great nation.”

The induction ceremony, which normally takes place in October, will not be held this year owing to the coronavirus, so Eric and Hickstead will be part of the 2021 cohort.

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Hickstead was bred in the Netherlands by Jan van Schijndel and joined Eric’s string as an eight-year-old.
Eric co-owned Hickstead with John Fleischhacker and the stallion earned more than $3m (£2.43m) in prize money during his career. He died aged 15 in 2011 after sustaining an aortic rupture during a leg of the World Cup series in Italy.

The Hickstead Trophy has been awarded annually in his honour since 2012 to Equestrian Canada’s horse of the year.

Eric, 52, who has competed at every WEG since 1994 as well as the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, winning individual bronze in Rio, has the rescheduled Tokyo Games in his sights.

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