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BEYOND LOCAL: Canada to return to Olympic team show jumping with Pan American Games silver

Mario Deslauriers (Emerson), Tiffany Foster (Figor), Amy Millar (Truman) and Beth Underhill (Nikka vd Bisschop) finished behind victor United States and ahead of bronze medallist Brazil
Canada celebrates their silver medal in equestrian jumping at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games in Quillota, Chile, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023. From left to right: Beth Underhill, Amy Millar, Mario Deslauriers, and Tiffany Foster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Santiago 2023, Photosport, Miguel Campos, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

SANTIAGO — Canada will return to Olympic team show jumping next year in Paris.

Canada's riders and horses earned the team silver medal Wednesday at the Pan American Games to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games.

“It was tough sport today, and I could not be more proud of the team," said Chef D’Equipe Ian Millar. "There were a few little things that happened in the first round, and I must tell you that I was absolutely confident that they would all get cleaned up in the second round, and sure enough, it did.”

Canada has 116 medals after 12 days of competition — 35 golds, 34 silvers and 47 bronze — and ranks third behind the United States (191) and Brazil (136).

Mario Deslauriers (Emerson), Tiffany Foster (Figor), Amy Millar (Truman) and Beth Underhill (Nikka vd Bisschop) finished behind victor United States and ahead of bronze medallist Brazil.

“These are four top horse and rider combinations, and they know how to function under pressure and they got the job done," said Ian Millar. "We got a silver medal and we are off to the Paris Olympics.”

The top three countries in the team event not already qualified for Paris earned those spots in Santiago at Grenadier Regiment Riding School.

Canada will send full equestrian teams to Paris in dressage, eventing and jumping after qualifying in all three disciplines in Santiago.

“We would not have been satisfied with anything less and we couldn’t be more excited to be on the podium like that and going to Paris!” said Foster.

Canada lost its show jumping team berth for Tokyo's Olympic Games in 2021 over coca tea.

While the Court of Arbitration for Sport determined Nicole Walker had inadvertently ingested a cocaine metabolite drinking South American tea at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, the Canadian team was not reinstated for Tokyo.

Coca tea is legal and consumed in several South American countries. Coca tea is considered an altitude sickness remedy in Peru.

But Walker was nevertheless stripped of her results in Lima after testing positive for benzoylecgonine on the day of the team final.

Canada's team tumbled from fourth to seventh and out of the last qualifying berth for Tokyo.

While CAS stated Walker of Aurora, Ont., did not intentionally take a prohibited substance, the body determined she and other competitors were contractually bound by Pan Am Sports anti-doping rules, and CAS couldn't overrule them.

Foster, Millar, Eric Lamaze and Yann Candele lost a jump-off for the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where Lamaze earned individual bronze.

Lamaze, Ian Millar, Jill Henselwood and Mac Cone earned Olympic team silver in 2008 when Lamaze also won individual gold.

Also Wednesday, Kaila Butler of Port Coquitlam, B.C., won bronze in the women’s hammer throw.

Fencers Ruien Xiao of Markham, Ont., (women’s individual épée), Shaul Gordon of Richmond, B.C., (men’s individual sabre) and Fares Arfa of Laval, Que., (men’s individual sabre) won bronze in their respective events.

Squash player Hollie Naughton of Mississauga, Ont., won bronze in women's singles.

Vancouver's Mo Zhang and Eugene Wang of Aurora, Ont., won table tennis bronze in the women’s and men’s singles, respectively.

Wresleters Nishan Randhawa of Abbotsford, B.C. and Adam Thomson of Komoka, Ont., secured bronze in the Pan Am Games debuts.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 1, 2023.

The Canadian Press