The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Equestrian Canada (EC) have named the 10 athletes nominated to represent Canada at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games from August 5-21.
Both eventing and jumping will field teams of four athletes, while two individuals will represent Canada in dressage. The Canadian Eventing Team earned their Olympic berth after finishing sixth at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. The Canadian Jumping Team received a team berth after winning the gold medal on home soil at the TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games last July. Although the Canadian Dressage Team did not earn a team berth, spots for two individuals were secured through qualification criteria set by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).
The equestrian team which will represent Canada at Rio 2016 includes:
Yann Candele/Caledon, ON/Showgirl/Watermark Group & First Choice 15/Watermark Group
Tiffany Foster/North Vancouver, BC/Tripple X III/Artisan Farms LLC & Victor/Artisan Farms LLC
Eric Lamaze/Schomberg, ON/Fine Lady 5/Artisan Farms LLC & Check Picobello Z/Artisan Farms LLC
Amy Millar/Perth, ON/Heros/AMMO Investments
Kara Chad/Calgary, AB/Bellinda/Stone Ridge Farms Ltd.
Rebecca Howard/Mallborough, UK/Riddle Master/Blithe Hill Farm
Colleen Loach/Dunham, QC/Qorry Blue d’Argouges/Peter Barry
Selena O’Hanlon/Kingston, ON/Foxwood High/John & Judy Rumble
Jessica Phoenix/Cannington, ON/A Little Romance/Donald Leschied
Kathryn Robinson/Kettering, UK/Let it Bee/Kathryn Robinson
Megan Lane/Collingwood, ON/Caravella/Megan Lane & Cathy Lane
Belinda Trussell/Stouffville, ON/Anton/Robyn Eames & Mark Trussell
Karen Pavicic/Surrey, BC/Don Daiquiri/Karen Pavicic & Jayne Essig
Chef d’Equipe – Eventing/Clayton Fredericks/Ocala, FLA
Chef d’Equipe – Jumping/Mark Laskin/Langley, BC
Chef d’Equipe – Dressage/Christine Peters/Ottawa, ON
Technical Advisory – Dressage/Dr. Volker Moritz/Germany
Prior to being named to the final Canadian Rio 2016 Team, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Federations.
After the announcement several team members offered their enthusiastic hopes for the Games.
Show jumper Tiffany Foster, who was disqualified from competition at the 2012 London Games, when her horse Victor was found to have hypersensitivity in the left front leg, said, “I am thrilled to be representing Canada in show jumping in Rio,” “The Olympics are the pinnacle of sport; for most athletes it starts as a dream, for the fortunate few it is then a goal and, for the lucky ones, it becomes a reality. I feel incredibly privileged to be one of those lucky ones. A huge thank you must be given to our incredible horse owners, our tireless support staff, and the hardworking individuals at Equestrian Canada who make it all possible. There may only be five people named to the Canadian Jumping Team, but the team that stands behind us consists of so many more. I’m looking forward to doing my very best in Rio and making Canada proud!”
Dressage rider Belinda Trussell, who is also making her second Olympic appearance (since Athens 2004) said, “It is an honour to be chosen to represent Canada at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. These Olympics are so special to me because four years ago my dreams were shattered when my horse Anton had a major injury that took us out of the running for the London 2012 Games. Little did I know he would recover so well and earn a place on the Rio Olympic Team with personal best scores. I could not have accomplished this goal without my amazing family, team and coach. Thank you to Equestrian Canada for all the support and huge organizational challenges getting us all to Rio safely. I will wear the maple leaf proudly in Rio!”
Eventer Selena O’Hanlon, Beijing 2008 Olympian, said, “I’m super excited and honoured to be part of Team Canada again. It means a lot to me to represent Canada with John and Judy Rumble’s Foxwood High at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. I’d like to thank Canada for choosing us and thank my owners, sponsors, friends and family for believing in me. Teamwork makes the dream work. Go Canada!”
Jessica Phoenix was not originally named to the team, but an appeal was heard by the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada which issued a ruling in her favour and awarded A Little Romance a spot on the team. As part of binding arbitration, the decision is final and the judge’s full explanation will be made public in the coming weeks.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everybody for their incredible support throughout all of this,” said Jessica Phoenix after the announcement. “Especially the owners of my horses.”
This will be the second Olympics that Jessica will be attending, she competed as an individual in London and finished 22nd.
The Canadian Equestrian Team’s final preparations for Rio over the next few weeks will include training camps in Florida and Germany. In addition, jumping athletes will compete at the prestigious CHIO Aachen World Equestrian Festival, which began July 11 and will continue through to July 17 in Aachen, Germany.
At the Games, equestrian sport will kick off with eventing, August 6-9. Dressage will follow on August 10, 11, 12 and 15. Jumping closes out the equestrian portion of the Games on August 14, 16, 17 and 19.
Historically, Canada has achieved impressive results at the Olympic Games, earning a total of six equestrian medals. Most recently, Eric Lamaze claimed the individual gold medal in jumping at Beijing 2008. His teammates, Mac Cone, Jill Henselwood and “Captain Canada” Ian Millar also helped secure the silver medal for the Canadian Jumping Team. Millar also set a record at London 2012 by becoming the first athlete in any sport, from any nation, to compete in 10 Olympic Games.
“Our Canadian Equestrian Team has worked extremely hard to earn their berths to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and achieved remarkable milestones along the way, from winning Pan Am medals to breaking Canadian records,” said Eva Havaris, Equestrian Canada’s chief executive officer. “Our team for Rio also demonstrates how unique and extraordinary our sport is. Not only does equestrian sport display an incredible bond between horse and rider, as one of the only mixed gender Olympic sports, it celebrates gender equality. I know our athletes nominated today will continue to make Canada proud and I look forward to celebrating their success in Rio.”