In Memoriam: Roland DeSourdy (CAN)

Roland Désourdy (CAN), known by his many Canadian friends as Monsieur Roland, passed away at the end of last month at the age of 93. A well-known businessman in Québec, he founded Ville de Bromont, which he planned as a city for the 21st century and which has developed into the city of Bromont that we know today.

Mr Désourdy, who was first and foremost a horseman, was instrumental in the organisation of the equestrian events of the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. The equestrian stadium built at Bromont, where all the competitions were held except for team Jumping, was considered to be near perfect. There was seating for 15,000 spectators on the side of the valley and on the other side were the facilities for the organisation, the media and VIPs. The steeplechase for the three-day event was nearby, as was the cross-country course.

The 1976 Olympic equestrian competitions lifted the level of equestrianism in Canada, leading to the great success the country has enjoyed since Michel Vaillancourt’s individual silver medal in those very Olympic Games and on to Eric Lamaze’s individual gold in Hong Kong in 2008.

Monsieur Roland continued riding and driving into his late 80s and, never one to take holiday, he was always hard at work training horses for his children and grandchildren. A church service was held in Bromont on 6 May, attended by dignitaries from all levels of government and media. The attendance was so large that the family erected a tent in the church grounds with a giant screen for those that were unable to get into the church.

The FEI expresses its sincere condolences to Mr Désourdy’s family and to the wider Canadian equestrian community.

Photo caption: M. Roland Désoudry, 1917 – 2011