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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

JAMES DAY

Inducted in 1968

Member Details

Date of Birth: June 7, 1946
Place of Birth: Thornhill, Ontario
Sport: Equestrian
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1966-68

Horseman of the year

1967

Individual gold, team silver, Pan Am games

1968

Mexico City Olympic Games - Team Gold

1971

Inducted to the Canadian Olympic Sports Hall of Fame

Honoured Member JAMES DAY
Inspire

Story

Equestrian rider James Day first rode with the Canadian International Team in 1964 and was victorious at the individual championship at Harrisburgh, Pennsylvania, that year. In 1966, he tied the long standing record jump of 7'1" at the National Horse Show in New York. At the 1967 Pan American Games, he took gold in the individual competition. On the final day of the Mexico City Olympic Games in 1968, 80,000 spectators packed into the main stadium to watch the equestrian Grand Prix show-jumping final, the last event of the Games. While the Canadian team of Jim Elder, Jim Day, and Tom Gayford was a close second after the morning round, it was the Americans, Germans, and British who were medal favourites. That afternoon, with the leaders from Britain faltering badly and falling out of medal contention, the Canadians continued their solid display and leaped their way to Canada's only gold medal of the 1968 Summer Games. What's more, it was the first time Canada had ever entered a team in this event. In 1970, Day was a member of the World Prix des Nations team and in 1973 he won the North American three day event title. As a teenager, Day had become acquainted with Ernie Samuel who at the time was also interested in show jumping. In 1971, Samuel purchased his first thoroughbred race horse and offered Day the job of training for his newly formed Sam-Son Farm. During the next quarter century, Day helped build the farm into one of the top racing and breeding operations in North America. Adding to his success as a rider, horses trained by Jim Day won two American Eclipse Awards, Canadian Horse of the Year honours five times, the Queen's Plate twice, the Breeders' Cup Distaff, and the Canadian Triple Crown (with filly Dance Smartly in 1991). Day was also was named the Sovereign Award winner four times as Canada's top trainer.


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