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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

TOM GAYFORD

Inducted in 1968

Member Details

Date of Birth: November 21, 1928
Place of Birth: Toronto, Ontario
Sport: Equestrian
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1959

Pan-Am Games - Team Gold medal

1968

Mexico City Olympic Games - Team Gold medal

1970

World Championships - Team Gold medal

1971

Pan-Am Games - Team gold medal

1972

National Horse Show - Individual jumping title

1976

Course designer, Montreal Olympic Games

Honoured Member TOM GAYFORD
Inspire

Story

Tom Gayford has brought tremendous international success to Canada's equestrian teams. His brilliant performance on the show jumping course has earned him numerous gold medals at Pan-American, world championship, and Olympic events. Gayford's first big victory came in 1959 when the Canadian equestrian team claimed a Pan-American gold medal in the three-day event. In 1966, he captained his team to the Nations Cup and Team Championship at the Royal Winter Fair. With Jim Day and Jim Elder, Gayford led the Canadian show-jumping team to glory in the late 1960s and early '70s. After winning bronze at the 1967 Pan-Am Games, they shocked the world by claiming gold at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. This spectacular victory in a sport traditionally dominated by Europeans was passed off as a mere fluke by the equestrian world. Gayford and his teammates proved them wrong, however, when they won gold at the 1970 World Championships in France. They followed up this victory with another team gold medal at the 1971 Pan-Am Games. Individually, Gayford was three times high-jumping champion at the New York National Horse Show, and, in 1972, he claimed the National Horse Show jumping title. He retired from competition shortly thereafter when his prize horse, Big Dee, was mysteriously attacked. Gayford remained involved in the equestrian world throughout the 1970s, '80s, and '90s as coach, consultant, judge, and course designer. He designed the jumping course for the 1976 Montreal Olympics and served as chef d'équipe of the national team from 1978-96.


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