‘I’m crushed’: Olympic show jumping champion Eric Lamaze retires as he battles brain cancer

‘I’m crushed’: Olympic show jumping champion Eric Lamaze retires as he battles brain cancer

Eric Lamaze, who captured the 2008 Olympic gold medal and is Canada’s most decorated show jumper, announced his retirement on Thursday.

The Montreal native, who has been battling brain cancer since 2017, is leaving the sport he dominated to focus on his health but will remain with the Canadian show jumping team as Chef d’Equipe. 

“It’s with great sadness that I am making this decision,” Lamaze, 53, announced on his Torrey Pines stable website.

“There’s a part of me that feels really upset that I’ve been battling cancer with the hope of riding again and I’m crushed that that won’t be the case. I’ve always said that I will retire under my own terms when the time is right. The situation with my health has forced me to make the decision earlier than I had envisioned, but the silver lining is that I still have the will to win and can contribute to the Canadian team and the sport I love through my new role as Chef d’Equipe.”

Lamaze began at the Grand Prix level in 1991 and over the past 30 years has piled up numerous victories, including winning gold at the 2008 Olympics in individual jumping. He also earned an Olympic silver medal as part of the team jumping event in 2008.

Lamaze then helped Canada win gold at the 2015 Pan American Games in team jumping, as well as a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in individual jumping.

“I would like to congratulate Eric on his retirement as a competitor and thank him for his unwavering dedication and passion for equestrian sport over the past three decades,” said EC Chief Executive Officer, Meg Krueger.

“His many unmatched achievements are an enduring legacy in Canadian show jumping history. We are saddened that we will no longer have the joy and excitement of watching Eric compete as an athlete but look forward to his contributions and success in leading our Canadian Show Jumping Team into the future.”

Lamaze and his horse Hickstead — who he began ridding in 2004 — were inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2020-21, and he also received the Order of Sport, Canada’s highest sporting honour for the induction.

WATCH | Lamaze, Hickstead going into Hall of Fame:

Equestrian legend Eric Lamaze praises horse Hickstead on way to Hall of Fame

Eric Lamaze, an Olympic champion in equestrian, could not have accomplished all he did without his partner, Hickstead. Now, Lamaze is going into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. 3:01

He last competed for Canada at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament in Calgary, where he anchored the Canadian Show Jumping Team to victory in the BMO Nations’ Cup in September 2021.