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Lamaze wins jump-off for gold; Madden of U.S. takes bronze

8/21/2008

HONG KONG -- Eric Lamaze of Canada rode Hickstead to the gold medal in Olympic equestrian individual jumping on Thursday.

Lamaze won a timed jump-off with Rolf-Goran Bengtsson of Sweden on Ninja, who took the silver medal. U.S. rider Beezie Madden on Authentic won the bronze.

Lamaze and Bengtsson were among 10 riders with clean rides in the first rounds, but they were the only ones to cleanly finish the second round.

Bengtsson knocked down one rail in the jump-off, while Lamaze went clean to win the gold.

The win capped a successful comeback for Lamaze, who was thrown off the Canadian team for the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Games after testing positive for cocaine on two separate occasions.

Lamaze first tested positive for cocaine in 1996 and
was suspended from competition for four years, a penalty later reduced to seven months on appeal.

He was given a lifetime ban just before the 2000 Olympics
in Sydney for consuming two banned substances found in cold
remedies and a diet supplement. The ban was overturned after his lawyer argued that the
items had not been properly labeled.

Lamaze then tested positive a second time for cocaine, earning a second lifetime ban, but successfully appealed that ban as well.

"When you give people chances and allow them to come back
from their mistake, great things happen and I'm a perfect
example," Lamaze told CBC after winning his gold. "You
shouldn't give up on people and people can still do great
things in their lives, it doesn't matter what's happened."

It was Lamaze's second medal of the Beijing Games, the
40-year-old having already shared in the silver won by Canada
in the team jumping event.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.