Cealy Tetley
Cealy Tetley

Day 3 at Santiago 2023: Dressage team qualifies for Paris 2024, Dolci makes history

After racking up an impressive 21 medals over the first weekend, Team Canada launched into the first full week of competition at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games ready to add to that total.

And the Canadian athletes did not disappoint, piling another 19 medals on to the haul, which included three gold, nine silver and seven bronze. There was also a ticket to Paris 2024 secured for the equestrian dressage team.

Here are some of today’s top performances:

Artistic Gymnastics: Félix Dolci wins all-around gold

Mere weeks after helping Canada’s men’s artistic gymnastics team qualify for the Olympic Games for the first time since Beijing 2008, Félix Dolci had another huge performance at the Pan Am Games.

Dolci topped the podium of the men’s individual all-around final with a total score of 82.531. This achievement makes him the first Canadian man to win all-around gold at the Pan Am Games in 60 years — since William Weiler did it in 1963.

Canadian gymnast Félix Dolci poses with his gold medal from the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games.

“That’s crazy,” Dolci said upon learning that fact. “The team and I are coming out of a big preparation for the world championships two weeks ago just to qualify a team [for Paris 2024], so being here now is kind of a bonus for us where we’re able to showcase what we’ve done and the work that we’ve been putting in for years and years. This gold medal makes me very proud and also gives me hope for the future looking forward to Paris. There are great things to come, I’m sure.”

Dolci improved on his score from qualifying by close to two points. He did that despite a fall off his final apparatus, the horizontal bar. But he was able to get away with that because of his high difficulty score. He was joined on the podium by Brazilian Diogo Soares, who scored 81.865 for the silver medal, as well as American Donnell Whittenburg, who scored 81.764 for bronze.

Dolci has the opportunity to win even more hardware in the individual apparatus finals to come over the next two days.

Equestrian: Canada qualifies dressage team for Paris 2024

Entering the second day of the team dressage competition, there were not only Pan American Games medals on the line, but two Olympic spots up for grabs. With the United States already qualified, a podium finish was likely all Team Canada would need to secure a spot at Paris 2024.

Team Canada celebrates after winning the bronze medal in dressage at the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games. Credit: Cealy Tetley

Team Canada’s four young riders, all hailing from Quebec, came together to do just that, winning the bronze medal behind USA and Brazil. The team of Camille Carier Bergeron (riding Sound of Silence 4), Naïma Moreira Laliberté (riding Statesman), Beatrice Boucher (riding Summerwood’s Limei) and Mathilde Blais Tetreault (riding Fedor) scored a cumulative 431.937 points.

“It takes a village, it takes a big team and people at home are a part of this team and we want to say how grateful we are to all of them,” Carier Bergeron, the team’s top scorer, said post-competition.

Paris 2024 is the second straight Olympic Games for which Canada has qualified a dressage team.

Swimming: Another record for Maggie Mac Neil

Maggie Mac Neil has done it again. After setting a Pan American Games record just yesterday in her specialty event, the 100m butterfly, Mac Neil raced to another Pan Am record to win gold in the 100m freestyle. Her time of 53.64 is also a personal best.

The 23-year-old led from the get-go, with her characteristically long underwater start. She was joined on the podium by Brazilian Stephanie Balduccini for silver and American Catie De Loof for bronze. Canada’s Mary-Sophie Harvey finished just off the podium in fourth, after taking the win yesterday in the 200m freestyle.

The pool deck in Santiago is getting used to hearing O Canada play, as Team Canada swam to the top two steps on the podium in the women’s 200m breaststroke. Sydney Pickrem took the gold medal with a time of 2:23.39, closely followed by teammate Kelsey Wog in 2:23.49 for silver. Pickrem had only returned to international racing two weeks ago after taking several months away from the pool to focus on her mental health. She last competed at the Pan Am Games at Toronto 2015.

On the men’s side, Brayden Taivassalo claimed silver in the 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:10.89, narrowly out touched by Jacob Foster of the USA. This is the first international medal for Taivassalo, who remembers watching the swimmers when the 2015 Pan Am Games were in his hometown. “When this meet was in Toronto, I was in the stands, like all these kids are today, looking up to people, and that’s eventually become who I am. It’s just a really special experience.”

Canada won bronze in both 100m backstroke events, courtesy of Danielle Hanus in the women’s event and Blake Tierney in the men’s event.

Before the end of the day, Mac Neil was part of one more medal. She and Harvey joined forces with teammates Javier Acevedo and Gabe Mastromatteo to snag the silver medal in the mixed 4x100m medley relay with a time of 3:46.20. Team USA took the win, while Team Brazil took the bronze medal. Mac Neil now has five medals in Santiago with likely two more events to come.

Water Ski: Major medal haul for Team Canada

Canada won six medals in five water ski events on Monday.

The women’s slalom event kicked off the water ski and wakeboard competitions over the weekend. Three members of Team Canada –Paige Rini, Neilly Ross and Whitney McClintock — were all tied after the preliminary round.

Canada’s depth in the event was too much for the competition rules, which state that only two athletes from a nation can move on to the finals. The three Canadians were compelled to compete in a dramatic run-off to determine who move on to the final. Rini and Ross emerged victorious.

Both Canadians secured podium spots today after impressive runs. Ross scored 3.00/55/10.75 for the silver medal and Rini skied to 1.00/55/10.75 for bronze. American Regina Jaquess topped the podium with a score of 4.00/55/10.75.

“I feel like the first event is the most nerve-wracking because you just want to get it done and get a medal. So, it does set the tone for the rest of the day. I’m definitely proud of us because it was not easy for us to get into this final,” Rini said.

The nerves certainly weren’t showing later on in the day as Rini returned to the water for the jump event, flying 47.3m to take the bronze medal. Ross also followed up the morning’s performance, earning a silver medal in the women’s tricks event after scoring 10870.

On the men’s side, Dorien Llewellyn jumped 64.5m to secure the silver medal in the men’s jump event. He followed that up with another silver medal run, scoring 10690 in the tricks competition. This feat is even more impressive given that Llewellyn is coming back from a jump crash earlier this summer that resulted in an ankle injury and left him with a crunched preparation for the world championships and Pan Am Games, only returning to the water in early September.

Rini and Llewellyn will be back on the water on Tuesday for the overall event which includes all three disciplines in one.

Rowing: Podiums for women’s pair and quad sculls

Canada’s first medal of Day 3 came bright and early with Abby Dent and Olivia McMurray securing a silver medal in the women’s coxless pair event. The pair finished 4.79 seconds behind the American team of Hannah Paynter and Isabela Darvin. Nicole Martinez Gonzalez and Alejandra Alonso Alderete of Paraguay rounded out the podium.

Dent and McMurray were quickly followed onto the podium by Team Canada teammates Kendra Hartley, Parker Illingworth, Alizée Brien and Shaye De Paiva, who won bronze in the women’s quadruple sculls. Team Canada crossed the line in 6:35.62, finishing 9.58 seconds off of the American team who secured the gold. The silver medal was taken by the host nation of Chile.

Diving: Silver magic for McKay and Miller

It wasn’t just in the swimming events that Team Canada was cleaning up in the pool, with Canadian divers delivering hardware as well.

Caeli McKay and Kate Miller snagged silver in the women’s 10m synchro with a score of 310.29, putting them behind Mexico’s Gabriela Agundez and Alejandra Orozco who earned 315.42. The Canadian duo was decisively ahead of the Brazilians in the bronze medal position, who scored 273.60.

“We put down the hardest dive in our list–it’s a dive that no one else in our event is doing and it’s the first time we’ve done it very, very well, so we’re really happy with that,” McKay said after the event.

This is McKay’s second medal in Santiago, adding to the individual 10m bronze she won on Saturday when she also placed behind those same two Mexican divers.


Marc-André Bergeron will be bringing home a bronze medal in the men’s +80kg event. Bergeron also claimed bronze the last time he competed at the Pan Am Games at Toronto 2015.

Brandie Wilkerson and Melissa Humana-Paredes carry the Canadian flag in front of their teammates

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