August 6, 2012, London, England – With all three scores counting, the Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping persevered to finish fifth in the team competition on Monday, August 6, at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Despite the disqualification of Tiffany Foster of Schomberg, ON, just prior to the start of the first round of team competition on Sunday, her teammates Jill Henselwood of Oxford Mills, ON, defending Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, and 10-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON, rallied to finish fifth overall in the final team standings. All three scores had to be counted as Canada did not have the advantage of a drop score. Canada and Brazil were the only nations competing in Monday’s team event with three members.
Entering Monday’s Team Final in sixth position carrying a total of five faults, the Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping added 21 faults to bring its two-round total to 26 faults. Both Millar and Lamaze qualified to move forward to the two-round Individual Final on Wednesday, August 6.
Setting a world record in London by competing in more Olympic Games than any athlete in any sport, Millar incurred four faults in Monday’s competition. His rail came at fence nine ‘a’, the first element of a double combination.
“It was a regrettable four faults,” said Millar, 65. “I thought we were good, to tell you the truth. I heard the rub and wasn’t sure if we had it down or not, and I was not about to look over at the scoreboard! In Star Power’s history, if he’s going to have a rail, he’s likely to have it at a tall vertical of the combination.”
Millar finished three rounds of individual qualification tied for 11th place with a total of eight faults.
“He gets better every day, and I’m optimistic about Wednesday,” said Millar of his Olympic mount Star Power, an 11-year-old Dutch-bred gelding owned by Team Works.
Lamaze also qualified for the Individual Final with a total of nine faults for 22nd position. Lamaze, who was only carrying one fault coming into Monday’s event, had rails down at the ‘b’ element of the triple combination at fence seven, as well as number 10.
“It was a difficult course for my horse; it was a difficult course for many horses,” said Lamaze, 44, of his mount, Derly Chin de Muze, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Ashland Stables and Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable.
As the defending Olympic Champion, Lamaze said of his chances on Wednesday, “My horse is young and inexperienced, but we all start from zero. Anything can happen.”
Henselwood, 49, had two rails down, at fence 10 and fence 12, riding George, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Brian Gingras.
“I thought George was awesome,” said Henselwood, a member of Canada’s silver medal team at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games riding alongside London teammates Lamaze and Millar. “He’s green. He’s tried so hard at these Games and with a little more experience, he would jump clear.”
In the Team Final, the Olympic equestrian venue of Greenwich Park erupted when Great Britain won the team gold medal in a dramatic jump-off. Both Great Britain and the Netherlands were tied with a total of eight faults following two rounds of team competition to force an all-deciding jump-off.
To the delight of many of the 21,000 spectators, Great Britain finished the jump-off with a perfect score of zero faults to earn its first team gold medal since the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games. The Netherlands incurred 12 faults in the jump-off to take the team silver. Saudi Arabia earned its first Olympic team medal in show jumping, taking the bronze medal with 14 faults.
Switzerland placed fourth with 16 faults while Canada was fifth with 26 faults. Sweden and the United States tied with 28 faults for sixth while Brazil finished eighth with 67 faults. From the original starting field of 15 nations, eight teams qualified to compete in Monday’s Team Final.
The Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping is supported by Chef d’Equipe Terrance Millar; Assistant Chef d’Equipe Mark Laskin; Veterinarian Dr. Sylvie Surprenant; Stable Manager Lori Green; and Team Manager Karen Hendry-Ouellette. Grooms include Cristian Canobbio (Foster), Jessica Dooley (Henselwood), Delphine Rouston (Lamaze), Sandy Patterson (Millar) and Anne-Sophie Canut (Candele). Kerri McGregor is the Team Leader for the Canadian Olympic Team for Equestrian and Tina Collins is Assistant Team Leader.
For more information, including live scoring and results, please visit the equestrian sport section of the official 2012 London Olympic Games website at www.london2012.com/equestrian.