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Canada's Lamaze wins gold in equestrian

Hong Kong, China (Sports Network) - Canada's Eric Lamaze and his horse, Hickstead, won the gold medal in the individual jumping competition after capturing a jump-off with Sweden's Rolf-Goran Bengtsson Thursday night at the Olympics.

Bengtsson and his horse, Ninja, were first out in the jump off, but the last fence went down and Lamaze was able to play it safe on his try, incredibly finishing with the same time at 38.39 seconds in the jump-off. The difference of course was the four penalties incurred by Bengtsson.

"My horse is really careful," said Lamaze. "You can count on him to give you 100 percent effort. I have all the confidence in the world (in him). He makes my job very easy."

The 40-year-old Lamaze won the first individual jumping medal for Canada. It was Canada's third gold medal of the Beijing Games and the second medal for Lamaze.

Lamaze missed the 1996 Games after testing positive for cocaine and was dropped from Canada's team and handed a four-year ban. That was reduced to seven months, but then was removed for the 2000 Olympics after testing positive for ephedrine and was handed a lifetime ban. He argued that too, saying he had unknowingly taken it in a diet supplement that was labeled incorrectly. That claim was supported by the manufacturer and the ban was reduced to a warning.

There was more trouble for Lamaze in August 2000 when he again tested positive for cocaine and his lifetime ban returned. But his lawyer successfully argued that Lamaze was banned from competing when he wasn't subject to further testing. The lifetime ban was lifted, but he was still barred from competing in Sydney at those Olympics.

Bezzie Madden of the United States won the bronze medal in a jump-off with seven contenders on four penalty points. Her horse, Authentic, was fastest of three clear rounds in the jump-off, finishing in 35.25 seconds.

McLain Ward of the U.S. came in sixth place.

Earlier on Thursday, three riders were excluded from the jumping medal competition due to equine doping. The individuals were provisionally suspended by equestrian's international governing body (FEI) due to doping control tests that indicated the presence of capsaicin in each horse. Capsaicin is classified as a doping prohibited substance given its hypersensitizing properties, mostly for pain relief.

Coster, the horse of Germany's Christian Ahlmann; Chupa Chup, the horse of Brazil's Bernardo Alves; Latinus, the horse of Ireland's Denis Lynch; and Camiro, the horse of Norway's Tony Andre Hansen, were all announced as doping violators.

Hansen, Lynch and Alves were set to compete Thursday, but Ahlmann wasn't entered in the event.

Confirmatory analysis of the B-samples will be carried out shortly, according to FEI.

Because of the suspensions, Norway could lose its bronze medal for the team jumping competition.

08/21 14:51:02 ET