Eric Lamaze has become Canada’s first Olympic show jumping champion following a thrilling climax to the equestrian Olympics in Hong Kong. All the medals were decided in a jump-off and the gold only at the very last fence.
Eric, riding the much-admired Dutch warmblood Hickstead, jumped off against Sweden’s Rolf Bengtsson on the compact Ninja for gold. Eric and Rolf had jumped the sole double clears of the competition.
They both finished on the same time, 38.39sec, but Ninja crashed through the final fence, a multi-coloured wall.
Seven riders jumped off for bronze. The honours went to America’s Beezie Madden on Authentic who put in a cheeky sharp turn over a bank of rushes part way round the course.
Ben Maher maintained British interest with a lovely clear in the first round. Unfortunately the 90min wait between rounds took its toll on Rolette, and she looked a little tired in the second, clocking 20 faults.
Tim Stockdale also went clear in the first round but picked up 16 faults with Corlato in the second round.
Hong Kong is Eric Lamaze’s first Olympics, and this is vindication for a checkered past. He missed Atlanta and Sydney, due to testing positive for cocaine twice, but managed to get his lifetime ban lifted to compete here.
Read H&H’s full report on the individual show jumping competition, on sale 28 August, ’08