Fri, September 20, 2013

Ian Millar, 65, ready to roll for Rio

Canadian misses out on medals in London, but plans to be back in 2016

By BOB MACKIN, Special to QMI Agency


Ian Millar of Canada riding Star Power performs during the equestrian individual jumping final at the London 2012 Olympic Games in Greenwich Park August 8, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

LONDON - The 2012 Olympics may not be Ian Millar’s last.

The 65-year-old veteran of 10 Olympic Games and his horse, Star Power, could be turning their sights from the London Games’ venue at Greenwich Park to south of the equator for Rio 2016. Millar will be 69 when the next Games take place, but the decision, he said, will be the horse’s.

“If Star Power wants to go, he cannot go without me,” Millar said. “So I will go.”

Millar was ninth with eight penalty points split between rounds A and B on Wednesday in the jumping individual event. Steve Guerdat of Switzerland and Nino des Buissonnets won gold with no penalty points. Gerco Schorder of Netherlands and the aptly named London and Ireland’s Cian O’Connor on Blue Lloyd 12 had a jump-off to determine silver. Schroder, with only one penalty point from the first round, beat O’Connor, who had one from the second round and four in the jump-off.

“I am out of a medal now, but hopefully a top 10 would be good,” said Millar, of Perth, Ont., after his ride. “(Star Power) just jumped fantastically.”

Schomberg, Ont.’s Eric Lamaze — the jumping individual champion from Beijing 2008 — and horse Derly Chin De Muze had 12 penalty points in Round A and did not qualify for the final.

“I think my mare is tired,” Lamaze said. “She has jumped a lot of big courses here and she hasn’t a lot of expreince. I did not wake up this morning imagining myself on the podium, so I am not too sad.”

Lamaze, 44, won four years ago when the competition was held at Hong Kong. Lamaze and Millar were also part of the silver medal-winning jumping team. In 2008, Lamaze rode Hickstead to victory, but the horse collapsed and died at a world cup event last November in Verona, Italy.

The Greenwich course at a temporary stadium, near where the world’s official time was once kept, featured fences inspired by British landmarks and culture, including Stonehenge, a red double decker bus, the Abbey Road crosswalk and the Cutty Sark tall ship.