In dramatic fashion, Canada came up just short of the podium in the equestrian team jumping competition on Wednesday at Rio 2016, losing the bronze medal to Germany in a jump-off.
The quartet of Yann Candele, Tiffany Foster, Amy Millar and Eric Lamaze had finished the two-day team event with eight penalties, tying with Germany for third place behind France (three penalties) and the United States (five penalties). That sent the two countries to a jump-off for the bronze medal.
Candele hit the course first with his mount First Choice 15, knocking down one rail for four penalties, just as they had in the morning’s second round following a clean first round on Tuesday. After Germany’s first rider, Christian Ahlmann, posted a clean run, Foster was up next aboard Tripple X III. The duo achieved their second clean run of the day. They had taken just four penalties on Tuesday.
Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum also went clean, putting the pressure on Millar and Heros. In both Tuesday’s first round (five penalties) and Wednesday’s second round (12 penalties), it was their score that was dropped from the Canadian team total. While each team consists of four horse-rider combinations, only the top three scores in each round are counted. In the jump-off, Millar and Heros hit one rail for four penalties.
That set the stage for Daniel Deusser, who posted Germany’s third clean run of the jump-off to secure the bronze medal. Lamaze and Fine Lady 5, who had been clean through both rounds, never got the chance to take to the course. As the only rider with zero penalties, Lamaze was the top qualifier for the individual jumping event to be contested on Friday. He is aiming for his second Olympic medal in that event after winning gold at Beijing 2008 aboard Hickstead. Candele and Foster are also qualified for the individual final.
Canada had been looking for its third ever Olympic medal in team jumping. Eight years ago in Beijing, Lamaze was a member of the team that took home silver after losing a jump-off for gold to the United States. That team also included Millar’s father Ian. A podium for the younger Millar in Rio would have made them Canada’s second father-daughter combo to ever win Olympic medals. Earlier in the Games, swimmer Kennedy Goss joined her father Sandy as Canadian Olympic medallists.
Canada’s best ever Olympic result in team jumping is the gold medal won at Mexico City 1968.