Eric Lamaze leads Canadian Olympic equestrian team in Ian Millar's absence
Veteran's record of 10 Olympic appearances comes to an end
By Amy Cleveland
For the first time in more than four decades, the Canadian Olympic equestrian team does not include "Captain Canada" Ian Millar.
Equine Canada announced the 10-person Rio-bound team Thursday, which includes 2008 Olympic champion Eric Lamaze, London 2012 Olympian Tiffany Foster and veteran Yann Candele.
As member of Canada's 2012 Olympic Games team, Millar broke the record when he competed in his 10th Summer Games.
It's the end of an era, but possibly the beginning of another.
Although Millar will not be competing, the 69-year-old will be providing strong support for the fourth member of the jumping team. His daughter Amy Millar will be taking the reins as Canada looks to reproduce its success from the Beijing 2008 Games, where the team earned silver, and Lamaze claimed individual gold.
"My son [Jonathan Millar] and daughter both have a strong possibility, so I go as a rider, I go as a trainer or I go as a father," Millar said prior to the team being named. "I'm still going to go. If all else fails, I'll go as a commentator."
Ian Millar's top mount Dixson underwent sinus surgery in March, making Ian unavailable for the Olympics for the first time since the 1972 Munich Games.
In Ian Millar's absence, Lamaze is the jumping team's most seasoned Olympian. The 48-year-old Lamaze made history in his first appearance in 2008 by becoming the first Canadian equestrian athlete to win individual Olympic gold aboard Hickstead.
Lamaze is currently ranked 16th in the world and has found recent success riding Fine Lady 5. The pair beat out some of the world's top riders to claim a victory on Wednesday at the CHIO Aachen World Equestrian Festival in Germany.
Foster will be riding in the Olympics for the second time. Her competition in London was cut short when her horse Victor was controversially disqualified for hypersensitivity.
"The Olympics are the pinnacle of sport; for most athletes it starts as a dream, for the fortunate few it is then a goal and, for the lucky ones, it becomes a reality," Foster said. "I feel incredibly privileged to be one of those lucky ones."
French-born Candele will be making his Olympic debut for Canada.
Canada's complete Olympic equestrian team:
- Megan Lane, Collingwood, Ont. (Dressage)
- Belinda Trussell, Stouffville, Ont. (Dressage)
- Rebecca Howard, Marlborough, UK (Eventing)
- Colleen Loach, Durham, Que. (Eventing)
- Selena O'Hanlon, Kingston, Ont. (Eventing)
- Jessica Phoenix, Cannington, Ont. (Eventing)
- Eric Lamaze, Schomberg, Ont. (with Fine Lady 5, Check Picobello Z)
- Yann Candele, Caledon, Ont. (with Showgirl, First Choice)
- Tiffany Foster, North Vancouver, B.C. (with Triple X III, Victor)
- Amy Millar, Perth, Ont. (with Heros)
- Karen Pavicic, Surrey, B.C. (Dressage)
- Kathryn Robinson, Kettering, UK (Eventing)
- Kara Chad, Calgary, Alta. (Jumping)
With files from the Canadian Press