Canada’s Olympic Jumping Riders Denounce Own Federation for Voting to Cut Olympic Teams to 3 From 4
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Nov. 23, 2016
Canada’s Olympic jumping team riders including world No. 6 ranked Eric Lamaze on Wednesday spoke out against the Canadian federation vote in favor of reducing to three from four the number of combinations on teams at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Team mates Yann Candele and Tiffany Foster joined Eric, an Olympic gold, silver and bronze medalist, in criticizing the Canadian federation’s vote at the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) General Assembly in Tokyo earlier this week on the number of horse and rider combinations for dressage, eventing and jumping at the 2020 Games. Of the 107 national federations represented, 11 voted against the proposed three-man format including team gold medal winner France and team bronze Germany. Amy Millar was the fourth Canadian rider.
“While at the Rio Olympics, a meeting was called with the Canadian show jumping athletes present to discuss the proposed changes,” said Eric who is based in Wellington, Florida and competes out of Belgium when in Europe.
“It is hard to get all of the riders to agree on something but, on this point, the riders in Rio were unanimous; we were all against it. Given the outcome of our meeting, it comes as a complete shock that Canada voted in favor of the proposed change to three-man teams. What the Canadian federation went forward with was not the wish of the Canadian show jumping riders, as per our meeting in Rio.
“I accept the fact that our vote would not have changed the outcome, but we made a decision and believe that our voices should have been heard. For the Canadian federation to change its vote without notifying or consulting the athletes is wrong, in my opinion. This was not the riders’ choice, and this is not what was presented to us in Rio.”
“Both the North American Riders Group and the International Jumping Riders Club put forth recommendations against the proposed change to a three-man format,” said Tiffany, ranked 21st in the world and who is on the boards of both organizations. “Specific to the Canadian federation, all of the Rio Olympic show jumping athletes were called to a meeting and asked what the recommendation was from the athletes, and what the position of the Canadian federation should be. We were unanimous in that the proposed change was not in the best interest of the horse, the rider, or the sport, and that Canada should vote against the proposed change.
“What is important here is that the athletes’ voices were not heard, and that our own federation went against us after giving us the impression that we all shared the same opinion. We wanted to be aligned with the other powerhouse nations in our sport in saying that we were against this change. Instead, Canada is now on record as saying this is what we wanted when it wasn’t. It is frustrating and extremely disappointing that our own federation did not act in accordance with what we were told.”