Olympian rider Eric Lamaze retires as he battles cancer

“I have always said that I will retire on my own terms when the time is right.”

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Three-time Olympic medalist Eric Lamaze, who has been battling brain cancer since 2017, announced on Thursday that he is retiring from show jumping competitions.

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The 53-year-old Montrealer last competed at the Spruce Meadows Masters in Calgary in September 2021. Two months later he announced his decision to retire from competition to focus on his health, and in February he has been appointed Technical Jumping Advisor for Equestrian Canada.

“It is with great sadness that I make this decision,” he announced on the website of his team Torrey Pines. “There’s a part of me that feels really upset to have battled cancer in hopes of riding again and I’m disappointed that’s not the case. I have always said that I will retire on my own terms when the time comes. The situation with my health forced me to make the decision sooner than I imagined, but the bright side is that I still have the will to win and can contribute to the Canadian team and the sport. which I love thanks to my new role as chief of equipment.

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“Now I have to focus on passing on my knowledge to my fellow riders. I have always enjoyed teaching and preparing horses and riders for major championships. I will give these riders all the opportunities I have had myself and I have big ideas for the future. I want every Canadian driver to know that their dreams are mine too. When they win, I win.

Lamaze, who is based in Florida and Belgium, has previously acted as team leader at competitions in Wellington, Florida and Coapexpan, Mexico.

“The new role has taken a lot longer than I initially imagined, but I love the energy we are creating and the path we are following. The enthusiasm of the Canadian riders and the support they have given me helped me make my decision much easier. What I personally give up by not competing, I gain 10 times by leading other Canadians on their path to success. Yes, it’s is bittersweet, but knowing that I can still make huge contributions to the sport in another role leaves me at peace with my decision.

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Lamaze joined the national team in 1992, but two positive doping tests delayed his Olympic debut until Beijing 2008, where he won individual gold and team silver. He was dropped from the Canadian squads for Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 after testing positive for cocaine.

His third and final Olympic medal, an individual bronze, came at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. He has also won gold, silver and two bronze medals in competitions at five Pan American Games.

“On behalf of Equestrian Canada, I would like to congratulate Eric on his retirement as a competitor and thank him for his unwavering dedication and passion for equestrian sport over the past three decades,” said Meg Krueger, Equestrian General Manager . “His many unparalleled accomplishments are a lasting legacy to Canadian show jumping history.

“We are saddened to no longer know the joy and excitement of watching Eric compete as an athlete, but we look forward to his contributions and success in leading our Canadian show jumping team to a bright future. »

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Naomi C. Amerson