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.
Hansen was a member of the Norwegian team that won bronze in the team show jumping competition on Monday.
The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has not made a decision on whether Norway should keep the medal.
Three other show jumpers, Denis Lynch of Ireland, Bernardo Alves of Brazil and Germany’s Christian Ahlmann, were suspended after positive tests on their horses.
“We have to see the positive side of things and that is that nothing stays hidden,” German rider Ludger Beerbaum told reporters.
“All federations need to do their homework, but the public can see that everything is brought into the open.”
In the team show jumping, the United States defended their Olympic title on Monday, beating Canada in another breathtaking jump-off.
Additional reporting by James Pomfret, editing by Jon Bramley and Ralph Gowling