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1998 Rome, Italy

Canadian Fast Facts

1998 marked the first time Canada had sent vaulters to a WEG, with Colin Schmidt and Stephanie Guidobono taking part and placing 26th and 35th, respectively.

John Pearce and Jamco's Vagabond were top Canadian entries in show jumping, placing 36th.

The Canadian Show Jumping Team placed 10th, missing earning a berth to the Sydney Olympics, as did the Dressage Team, which placed 17th.

Karen Brain romped around the cross-country course with no jumping faults, just time penalties, aboard Double Take in her very first four-star, ultimately finishing 40th. Fellow Canadian Stuart Black placed 32nd riding Market Venture.

Victoria Winter and Wedgwood placed 47th overall in their first major international dressage competition.

The only other Canadian top-10 finish in this Games was Christine Janzen, who rode Täis to 9th place in endurance.

Overview

Originally assigned to Dublin, Ireland, the 1998 WEG experienced some insurmountable organizational and financial problems which eventually saw it abandoned. In 1996, two years after the city had successfully won its bid to host the third edition of the Games, the Irish government withdrew its support. Then Nissan stepped up with £2 million in funds, only to have the Royal Dublin Society in Ballsbridge state in 1997 that their facilities would not be available for the events, after which Nissan backed out. The FEI then turned to Aachen and Rome, choosing the latter as an alternative site; against all odds the Italians were able to pull off the monumental preparations in just eight months. Only the endurance race was held off-site, in Abu Dhabi. 

One of the only complaints was the distances between venues – Pratoni del Vivaro, site of the three-day event and driving, was a 1 1/2-hour bus ride away from the main stadium in Rome, while the vaulting site was two hours away. This made it difficult for the media and anyone else trying to attend overlapping events.

A total of 42 countries took part in this WEG, including Venezuela, Greece, Jamaica, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bulgaria, and Lithuania, which were participating for the first time.

Highlights

  • The show jumping competitions took place in the Flaminio soccer stadium, and despite torrential rains flooding the field on championship warm-up day, the resilient new footing recovered beautifully. It was a new system of sand-over-polyurethane-padding designed by Hermann Duckek.
  • Rodrigo Pessoa, 25, of Brazil became the youngest-ever winner of the individual gold show jumping medal. His father, Nelson Pessoa, 62, placed third in the opening speed class and finished in 11th place overall with the sensational Baloubet du Rouet.
  • The German team took the show jumping gold medal for the second consecutive time.
  • The jumping course designer was Marcello Mastronardi of Italy.
  • French show jumper Alexandra Ledermann stirred up some controversy when she apparently received some illegal verbal help from outside the ring when she was in danger of going off-course.
  • The Americans were shocked to finish 9th in show jumping, blaming the poor result partly on a gruelling eight-event qualification system in the US.
  • On cross-country day, roads and tracks was shortened and one imposing jump on the course was eliminated because rain had made ground conditions unfavourable.
  • Dressage was a see-saw battle between Anky van Grunsven (NED) with the great Gestion Bonfire and Germany's Isabell Werth with Nissan Gigolo FRH. The audience was not shy about voicing their disapproval when, despite Bonfire never setting a foot wrong in the kür, the final class was won by Gigolo by .18 of a percent.
  • The endurance race held in Abu Dhabi attracted a record 162 competitors, with just 78 completing the 160-km ride. This was the first occasion where time was completely computerized, with the riders using plastic swipe cards to register their arrival at each phase.

Canadian Results:


jumping

Team Jumping
10. CANADA
Eric Lamaze, Cagney
John Pearce, Jamco's Vagabond
Beth Underhill, Altair
Ian Millar, Mont Cenis

Individual Jumping
36. John Pearce, Jamco's Vagabond
38. Ian Millar, Mont Cenis
42. Beth Underhill, Altair
52. Eric Lamaze, Cagney


dressage

Team Dressage
17. CANADA
Victoria Winter, Wedgwood
Liz Hopps, Elymas
Nancy MacLachlan, Davis Cup
George Miechowsky, Leonti

Individual Dressage
47. Victoria Winter, Wedgwood
48. Liz Hopps, Elymas
79. Nancy MacLachlan, Davis Cup
81. George Miechowsky, Leonti


eventing

Individual Eventing
32. Stuart Black, Market Venture
40. Karen Brain, Double Take


endurance

Individual Endurance (Abu Dhabi)
9. Christine Janzen, Täis


reining

N/A


vaulting

Individual Vaulting Female
35. Stephanie Guidabono

Individual Vaulting Male
26. Colin Schmidt


driving

N/A

   

Did you know ?

Reining made its debut at the 2002 WEG in Jerez, Spain, with 49 participants taking part.