Eight-time Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON, took one step closer to the medal podium by qualifying for Friday’s Individual Show Jumping Final at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. " /> Eight-time Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON, took one step closer to the medal podium by qualifying for Friday’s Individual Show Jumping Final at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. " /> Eight-time Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON, took one step closer to the medal podium by qualifying for Friday’s Individual Show Jumping Final at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. ">
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Eight-Time Olympian Ian Millar Qualifies for Individual Final in Athens

Canada's Ian Millar & Promise Me photo ©TetleyPhoto.com

Eight-time Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON, took one step closer to the medal podium by qualifying for Friday’s Individual Show Jumping Final at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Millar, who has been named to every Canadian Olympic Team since 1972, was among the top 45 athletes at the end of Tuesday’s Team Final to advance to Friday’s Individual Final. In the opening round of competition on Sunday, Millar was sitting in 59th position after incurring 11 faults. In Tuesday’s two-round competition, which also acted as a Team Final, Millar incurred 10 faults in each round to bring his total score to 31 faults to tie for 44th position overall, good enough to make the cut.

In the first round, rails fell for Millar at the third or ‘c’ element of the triple combination, as well at the final fence. Coming back in the second round, held in the evening under the lights, Millar had the third fence on course down, as well as the first or ‘a’ element of the triple combination. In both rounds, Millar exceeded the 98-second time allowed set by course designer Olaf Petersen of Germany to incur two time faults.

“I could have done with one less rail in each round,” noted Millar, 57, who enjoyed a 13th place finish at the 2000 Sydney Olympics riding Dorincord. “I deserved to have one down, but was unlucky to have two. This course required careful jumping and was beautifully built, but the footing isn’t as great as it should be, the turf doesn’t seem to have the root system that it should, and is not providing a firm base for the horses. But the course is everything that you would expect - unique in look, very big and extremely careful.”

The qualifiers behind him, Millar will now start fresh in Friday’s Individual Final. Held over two rounds, the top 25 from the first round will move forward to the second round, held at 8:30 p.m. under the lights, to determine the Individual Medals.

“I am very pleased with my horse, he’s building in quality, and I think he is going to be plenty ready for Friday,” noted Millar of Promise Me, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by The Baker’s Dozen. “We need things to go well on Friday; we need the luck to come our way. We haven’t had bad luck but we haven’t had good luck, either.”

Germany claimed the Team Gold Medal while the United States prevailed in a jump-off to claim the Silver Medal over Sweden, who claimed the Bronze. In total, 77 athletes representing 27 nations contested the show jumping events at the Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Center.

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