Steve Gaudet, known by his wondrous nickname, put in a pair of clean rounds to win the individual show jumping gold medal on Wednesday afternoon at Greenwich Park.
The Swiss rider took his 11-year-old gelding Nino Des Buissonnets through a tough Bob Ellis-designed course cleanly while a herd of contenders struggled behind him.
Gerco Schroder, of the Netherlands, won a jump off for the silver medal on London, with Cian O’Connor of Ireland in bronze, on Blue Loyd 12.
O’Connor had not knocked down a rail in the two final rounds (A and B), but a shot at the gold disappeared with a time fault in the second ride.
Schroder came into the B Round with a time fault for one point, but found what he needed second ride when he went clean, then did it again in the extra ride.
Ian Millar, of Perth, Ont., finished tied for 9th.
Millar’s chance had already ended in the middle of the B round triple when Star Power, his 11 year old Dutch warmblood gelding, just tickled the front of the fence and brought it down for four faults and eight on the day. He would have needed to be clean with just one time fault for a medal shot.
It was the Canadian captain’s 10th Olympic team, going back to Munich in 1972. He did not ride in Moscow in 1980 because of a Canadian boycott.
Eric Lamaze, of Schomberg, Ont., riding his new mount Derly Chin de Muze, did not advance, picking up 12 faults in the A run.
Lamaze may want to quickly forget a mean time he’s had at Greenwich.
The defending gold medalist, who lost superstar stallion Hickstead last November to a heart attack, came in with the new mare and they had some difficulty getting together with little time to prepare. Most pairings have years together.
His young protégé, Tiffany Foster, was disqualified on Sunday morning when officials found her horse, Victor (co-owned by Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Farm) was showing hypersensitivity in the left front limb caused by a small cut.
Foster was absolved of any blame by the FEI, the world organization. An appeal was denied and Canada was forced to ride the team finals a pairing short.
Furious, Lamaze went on the offensive as an emotional spout swirled around the team and he came out strongly in support of Foster.