Lamaze captures gold in equestrian show jumping

The Canadian Press
8/21/2008 12:25:36 PM
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HONG KONG - Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, Ont., captured the show jumping title Thursday at the Beijing Games, giving Canada its first-ever individual equestrian gold.

Lamaze, aboard Hickstead, posted back-to-back clean runs in his first two rounds before winning a jump-off with Sweden's Rolf-Goran Bengtsson for his second medal of the Games.

It's just the second individual show jumping medal for Canada in Olympic history. Michel Vaillancourt won an individual silver medal at the 1976 Games in Montreal.

Canada's only other equestrian gold came in team jumping at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

Lamaze was also part of the Canadian team that won silver in the team jump Monday.

The 40-year-old enjoyed a clean run in the first round, one of 10 riders to post a perfect score. Knowing he would need another perfect run to earn a jump-off with Bengtsson, Lamaze guided Hickstead through the Shatin equestrian course without a fault to earn at least a silver.

Bengtsson earned four jumping faults in the jump-off, setting the stage for Lamaze's third perfect run of the night - and Canada's third gold medal of the Games.

The 40-year-old missed out on the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and the 2000 Games in Sydney because of drug suspensions. Though he had his lifetime ban for a second drug offence overturned in time for the Sydney Games, the Canadian Olympic Committee wouldn't let him compete.

He entered the Beijing Olympics ranked fourth in the world.

Jill Henselwood of Oxford Mills, Ont., did not finish her second run after picking up four jumping faults in the first round.

Ian Millar of Perth, Ont., had eight jumping faults in the opening round and failed to advance to the final.

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