Lamaze jumps from bans to gold

Thu Aug 21, 2008 3:37pm EDT
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By Sophie Taylor

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Canada's Eric Lamaze, who missed two Games because of drugs bans, won the Olympic show jumping gold after two dramatic jump-offs on Thursday.

In a thrilling climax to the equestrian events, rocked earlier by positive doping tests involving four horses, Lamaze put his past troubles behind him to beat Sweden's Rolf-Goran Bengtsson into silver. American Beezie Madden took bronze.

"The past is the past and if this doesn't make people forgive and talk to me about this all the time, I don't know what will," Lamaze told a news conference.

"There were days when this was only a dream. Now it's a reality," said the 40-year-old.

Lamaze was thrown out of the Canadian teams for the 1996 and 2000 Games after testing positive for cocaine on two separate occasions, according to the official Olympic News Service.

He also tested positive for a banned diet supplement in 2000 and has received two lifetime bans during his career, both of which were overturned after he appealed them.

The final leg of the three-day show jumping competition followed the discovery that four horses had tested positive for capsaicin, which is banned for its hypersensitizing and pain-relieving properties.

Norway's Tony Andre Hansen was provisionally suspended from the Olympics after his horse Camiro returned a positive dope test, event organizers said.   Continued...

<p>Eric Lamaze of Canada riding Hickstead throws his helmet to celebrate his winning in the jump off of the equestrian jumping individual final round of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong August 21, 2008. REUTERS/Bobby Yip</p>