London, England – In a world record setting tenth Olympic appearance, Canadian Olympic Team member for Show Jumping Ian Millar, 65, of Perth, ON, enjoyed a top ten placing in the Individual Final held Wednesday, August 8.
Finishing tied for ninth place riding Star Power with a total of eight faults, Millar had his best ever individual Olympic result. Millar and the 11-year-old Dutch-bred gelding owned by Team Works incurred four faults in the first round at fence number five, an airy white plank, and had the ‘b’ element of the triple combination in the second round of competition.
“There are so many subtleties to this thing,” said Millar of the demanding tracks set by course designer Bob Ellis of Great Britain. “The rider and the horses are so good, and the course designer has to be so good. The competition is really against the course designer.”
Prior to London, Millar’s best Olympic result to date had come at the 2000 Sydney Olympics where he placed 13th riding Dorincord. He also placed 14th individually at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and 15th at the 1988 Seoul Olympics riding Big Ben on both occasions.
“Each Olympics stands out well on their own; London is outstanding,” said Millar, who has now competed in more Olympic Games than any athlete in any sport, debuting at the 1972 Munich Olympics. “The public have been so supportive and sympathetic. I am very much a team rider, and I would have liked more team company with me today.”
Millar and 2008 Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze were the only two members of the Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping to advance to the Individual Final. The top 37 athletes from the original starting field of 75 qualified for Wednesday’s two-round Individual Final.
Lamaze, 44, of Schomberg, ON, incurred 12 faults in the first round of the Individual Final and did not advance to the second and final round of competition. He tied for 29th position in the final individual standings.
“I didn’t wake up this morning seeing myself on the podium, so I am not disappointed,” said Lamaze, who was riding the nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare Derly Chin de Muze, owned by the Fleischhacker family’s Ashland Stables and Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable. “She’s jumped a lot of big tracks this week, which she’s not used to, and maybe it was just fatigue. She’s young, but she gained experience and came out of this a better horse.”
Lamaze continued, “These were supposed to be Hickstead’s Games and when the tragedy happened, we just didn’t have time to prepare.”
Hickstead collapsed and died of an aortic rupture last November while competing at a world cup qualifying event in Verona, Italy. Under 2012 Olympic Games qualifying rules, horses must be registered in the ownership of the nation they will represent by December 31, 2011.
On Monday, August 6, the Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping comprised of Tiffany Foster, 28, of Schomberg, ON, Jill Henselwood, 49, of Oxford Mills, ON, Lamaze and Millar of Perth, ON, finish fifth in the Team Final from the original starting field of 15 nations. Great Britain won the Team Gold while the Netherlands claimed the Team Silver. Saudi Arabia was awarded the Team Bronze medal. Switzerland placed fourth.
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.