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Lamaze wins equestrian gold for Canada

Equestrian Eric Lamaze of Canada won the gold medal in the Olympic individual show-jumping competition Thursday.

Schomberg, Ont., rider takes 2nd medal in Beijing

Equestrian Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, Ont., won the gold medal in the Olympic individual show-jumping competition Thursday.

Riding a horse named Hickstead, the Canadian defeated Sweden's Rolf-Goran Bengtsson in a jump-off to earn Canada's third gold medal of the Beijing Games.

Thursday's victory was sweet redemption for Lamaze, who missed out on the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and the 2000 Sydney Games due to positive drug tests. He's also a member of the Canadian team that won silver in the team jump competition on Monday.

"When you give people chances and allow them to come back from their mistakes, great things happen and I'm a perfect example that you shouldn't give up on people," an emotional Lamaze told CBC Sports.

It was also Canada's first-ever individual equestrian gold medal and just the second individual show jumping medal in Olympic history. Michel Vaillancourt won an individual silver medal at the 1976 Games in Montreal.

"Michel is one of my greatest friends. It's an honour to be in the same category as him. It's going to take some time to sink in," Lamaze said.

American scores bronze

American Beezie Madden took the bronze Thursday after winning a seven-way jump-off.

Lamaze, 40, posted back-to-back clean runs in his first two rounds before adding a third clean run in the jump-off to win his second medal of the Beijing Games.

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

Bengtsson earned four faults in the jump-off, setting the stage for Lamaze's third perfect run of the night.

Lamaze gave Hickstead the bulk of the credit for the medal-winning performance, saying the horse is "one of a kind."

"He gave me everything he had," Lamaze said.

Henselwood of Oxford Mills, Ont., did not finish her second run after earning four faults in the first round. Ian Millar of Perth, Ont., had eight faults in the opening round and failed to advance to the final.

Henselwood, Millar and Mac Cone of King City, Ont., are the other members of Canada's silver-medal team.