Jim Elder

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Other
Full nameJames Robert "Jim"•Elder
Used nameJim•Elder
Born27 July 1934 in Toronto, Ontario (CAN)
Measurements172 cm / 70 kg
NOC Canada
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 2


Jim Elder took up equestrian in 1950 and, six years later, was attending the 1956 Summer Olympics, where he won a bronze medal as a member of the Canadian eventing team, alongside Brian Herbinson and John Rumble. Individually, he placed 19th. He earned his first major international victory at the 1959 Pan American Games, where he took the gold medal in the three-day event with his brother Norman and Tom Gayford. His next stop, and his final one as an eventer, was the 1960 Summer Olympics, where he and his brother were eliminated after their teammates, Gayford and Herbinson, failed to complete the race. Jim was 10th individually.

Jim switched to show jumping after these Games but, because Canada did not send an eventing or jumping equestrian team to the 1964 Summer Olympics, he had to wait until the 1967 Pan American Games to show what he was capable of. After taking bronze in the team event, alongside Gayford and Jim Day, the trio was selected for the 1968 Summer Olympics, where they won a surprise gold medal in team jumping. Individually Elder was sixth after losing a bronze medal jump-off against David Broome of Great Britain, Frank Chapot of the United States, and Hans Günter Winkler of West Germany; it was, however, his best solo rank across five editions of the Games. Elder then won two more team gold medals at the 1970 World Championships (with Day and Gayford) and the 1971 Pan American Games (alongside Gayford, Torchy Millar, and the non-Olympian Barbara Simpson). It was not until the 1972 Summer Olympics, with Day and Torchy and Ian Millar, that he was dethroned, finishing sixth in team jumping and joint-43rd individually.

The 1972 Games signaled the end of Elder’s glory days, but he continued to compete through the 1980s and attended two more editions of the Olympics in 1976 and 1984. His last hurrah came at the 1983 Pan American Games, where he captured silver in both individual and team jumping (with Torchy Millar and Hugh Graham). A graduate of the University of Toronto, by career he was a businessman who ran a successful refrigeration company. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports (1968), the Canadian Olympic (1971), the Canadian Eventing Hall of Fame (2009), and the Jump Canada (2010) Halls of Fame, was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1983, and became a part of Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2003.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1956 Equestrian Olympics Equestrian Eventing (Equestrian) CAN Jim Elder
Individual, Men (Olympic) Colleen 19
Team, Men (Olympic) Colleen / Canada 3 Bronze
1960 Summer Olympics Equestrian Eventing (Equestrian) CAN Jim Elder
Individual, Men (Olympic) Canadian Envoy 10
Team, Men (Olympic) Canadian Envoy / Canada DNF
1968 Summer Olympics Equestrian Jumping (Equestrian) CAN Jim Elder
Individual, Open (Olympic) The Immigrant 6
Team, Open (Olympic) The Immigrant / Canada 1 Gold
1972 Summer Olympics Equestrian Jumping (Equestrian) CAN Jim Elder
Individual, Open (Olympic) Shoeman =43
Team, Open (Olympic) Houdini / Canada 6
1976 Summer Olympics Equestrian Jumping (Equestrian) CAN Jim Elder
Individual, Open (Olympic) Raffles II =15
Team, Open (Olympic) Raffles II / Canada 5
1984 Summer Olympics Equestrian Jumping (Equestrian) CAN Jim Elder
Team, Open (Olympic) Shawline / Canada 4

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1956 Equestrian Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony CAN Jim Elder
1972 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Closing Ceremony CAN Jim Elder

Olympic family relations

Special Notes