The second last day of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games was Team Canada’s most successful over the last two weeks as 20 medals were added to the count.
B-Boy Phil Wizard got his golden ticket to Paris 2024, world champion hammer thrower Ethan Katzberg put his name on another record, there were four more podiums by Canadian paddlers, and a gold by the men’s sabre team added to Canada’s largest ever medal haul in fencing.
Take a dive into the top stories of the day:
Breaking: Phil Wizard wins gold, qualifies for Paris 2024
Philip Kim, aka B-Boy Phil Wizard, qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games with a gold medal win on Saturday. Kim defeated B-Boy Jeffro of the United States 3-0 in the final. That followed a 3-0 win over B-Boy Gravity of the United States in the semifinals and a 2-0 win against B-Boy Leony of Brazil in the quarterfinals.
Through the two days of competition, Kim did not drop a single round to an opponent. He placed second at the WDSF World Championships in September, falling just short of an Olympic spot, but has now secured his place in breaking’s Olympic debut next summer.
“It means a lot, I mean, I this whole pathway since the beginning of this year and even last year with the whole Olympics being introduced to breaking, it’s been an incredible experience,” said Kim. “So, to be a part of history, for me, that really means the world.”
Athletics: Katzberg, Desgagnés take gold, Butterworth claims silver
Ethan Katzberg followed up his gold medal and Canadian hammer throw record from the World Athletics Championships in Budapest with another gold medal and a Pan Am Games record.
Katzberg became the first man to go over 80 metres in the hammer throw at the Pan Am Games with his performance on Saturday, hitting a distance of 80.96 metres. He threw more than three metres farther than silver medallist Daniel Haugh of the United States (77.62m).
“Obviously it’s extremely exciting. I came in and just wanted to have a good first throw, and going over 80 metres in my first throw was definitely a confidence booster,” said Katzberg, who surpassed that mark on four of his six attempts. “I was really happy with my performance. Santiago’s an amazing competition and the people, they love track and field and they were supporting everyone, that made it really special.”
Jean-Simon Desgagnés claimed gold in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, with a big enough lead to win even after a fall on the last water jump. He finished in 8:30.14, more than six seconds ahead of Daniel Michalski of the United States.
“Going away with a medal in my first multi-sport Games is incredible, had a little technical difficulty in the last 400 metres, but I kept raising myself back up and got away with a gold medal,” said Desgagnés.
Alycia Butterworth also claimed a medal in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, finishing with the silver in a time of 9:40.86, less than a second and a half behind Argentina’s Belen Casetta.
Canoe Kayak Sprint: Four medals cap off last day of finals
After claiming five medals on Saturday, Team Canada paddlers continued to find themselves on the podium Sunday as they took home another four medals. Canoers Katie Vincent and Sloan MacKenzie led the way with gold in the women’s C-2 500m, finishing with a time of one minute 54.26 seconds to defeat Chilean pair María Mailliard and Paula Gómez by 17 one-hundredths of a second.
It’s been a great year for Vincent and MacKenzie, who secured an Olympic spot for Canada in this event with their bronze-medal performance at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Duisburg, Germany in August.
“It’s pretty exciting, the whole team has done really well so far, and we’re just adding to the pile,” said MacKenzie.
“It made me pretty fired up for sure, it was so exciting to see our teammates kind of go up there and just do their thing with the confidence that they deserve to have,” said Vincent. “I think we just brought that into our race today.”
Just before, Courtney Stott and Madeline Schmidt won K-2 500m bronze, finishing in a time of 1:42.84, less than a second behind Mexico, who topped the podium.
The day started with a bronze medal for Connor Fitzpatrick in the men’s C-1 1000m. He finished in a time of 3:55.13 to place behind Cuba’s José Román Pelier, who won the race in 3:48.69 and Brazil’s Isaquias Queiroz, who was just over a second ahead of the Canadian.
Fencing: Team gold for men’s sabre, silver for women’s épée
After five silver medals in the team fencing events in Santiago, the Canadian men’s sabre squad claimed gold. That was Canada’s 12th fencing medal, the most ever by the country in the sport at a single Pan Am Games.
The team of Fares Arfa, Shaul Gordon and François Cauchon defeated the United States 45-38 in a close final match where the United States looked to take the edge late before five points in the ninth relay secured the gold for Canada.
“It’s stressful, even looking back now, because it was a close match,” said Gordon. “But again, I’ve been on the senior team since 2013 and I’ve been finishing for most of these years. I have some experience with that and I try not to think about the results.”
Just before that, the women’s épée team finished with a silver medal, falling to Brazil 45-40 in the final. Canada’s trio of Ruien (Angel) Xiao,Alexanne Verret and Leonora Mackinnon were narrowly defeated, as they made a late comeback in the eighth and ninth relays.
Rugby Sevens: Canadian teams both find podium
Canada’s women’s rugby sevens team fell just short of a gold medal, falling 19-12 to the United States and taking the silver medal in the event.
Canada took the first lead of the game 5-0, but trailed the United States 7-5 going into halftime. A try from Piper Logan, her second of the match, would give Canada the lead back in the second half. But 12 unanswered points from the United States with two minutes to go took the momentum away from the Canadian side and give the Americans their first rugby gold at a Pan Am Games.
“Yeah, obviously wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but we’re still proud of our performance and happy to build for the rest and it was a good building block for the rest of the season,” said captain Chloe Daniels.
After falling 21-7 to Argentina in the semifinals, the Canadian men’s rugby sevens team will still be coming back with hardware after a close 19-17 win over the United States in the bronze medal match.
Narrowly leading 7-5 at the half, Canada would jump out to a 12-5 lead to start the second half before the United States tied things at 12-all. Canada would reclaim the lead with a try and a successful conversion to go up 19-12, with the United States adding one final try to make it a 19-17 final score.
“We like making it stressful on ourselves,” joked Kal Sager. “I mean, all the guys fought really hard. We knew it was gonna be a tight, hard fought game coming off the change room and onto the field and yeah, it feels good to get a win. Proud of everyone involved.”
Water Polo: Canada claims sixth straight women’s silver
Canada was unable to claim the Olympic spot that was available in women’s water polo as they were defeated 20-11 by the United States in the gold medal game. Canada will have one last opportunity to qualify for Paris 2024 at the World Aquatics Championships in February in Doha, Qatar.
The Canadians were led by drive Hayley McKelvey, who scored four goals, while hat tricks were added by both wing Verica Bakoc and 19-year-old centre back Serena Browne. Wing Axelle Crevier rounded out the scoring for Canada but it would not be enough to keep up with the Americans.
Canada won gold at the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg where the women’s game made its debut, and since have won the silver medal at each Games.
On the men’s side, Canada fell to Argentina 12-10 in the bronze medal match on Saturday.
Softball: Canada blanks Mexico to take home bronze
The Canadian women’s softball team defeated Mexico 7-0 to take home the bronze medal.
After a scoreless first inning, Canada took a one run lead in the second inning before a four-run third inning put them ahead 5-0. Canada scored their final two runs of the game in the fourth inning.
“I think no matter what medal color we won, we still want to bring that home for our country, so it means a lot, obviously, it’s not the colour we wanted and what we thought we could do, but coming together with a big win in a short amount of innings was good for us, definitely a good win,” said Groenewegen.
“I felt good on the mound for my first time in a very long time and I know so did Morgan (Rackel) and we were able to string together a lot of hits to get seven runs, good team win and we’re excited to bring back a medal.”
Sailing: Canada sails to Sunfish gold, silver in ILCA 6
Lee Parkhill won gold in the men’s Sunfish class. Though he was second in the medal race, he netted out at 25 points, finishing three ahead of Jean Paul de Trazegnies of Peru.
“That was definitely the goal coming in, a long week and very close competition, so [I’m] happy to get it done,” said Parkhill.
Sarah Douglas picked up silver in the women’s dinghy (ILCA 6). She was second in the medal race to finish second overall behind Erika Reineke of the U.S.
Douglas already qualified Canada an Olympic quota spot in the event in August at the Sailing World Championships in The Hague, Netherlands. In her Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, Douglas finished sixth, the best individual Olympic performance by a Canadian woman in the sport.
“I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t get to defend the gold medal, but my competitor Erika Reineke sailed a phenomenal week, she really performed and showed a top performance,” said Douglas. “I had a great fun week… a bit disappointed, but very very happy and had great support from the whole Canadian team here.”
Crossing the finish line with a combined time of 1:15:36, the Canadians were just 10 seconds behind the United States, who won silver. Brazil topped the podium in a time of 1:15:08. Canada finished nearly a minute faster than fourth place Mexico.
“It’s pretty special to come away with the medal at a major Games, we’ve worked really hard as a team to get this, it was really a team effort,” said Legault. “Everybody did their part super well, that’s how we came away with this medal and we’re all really happy to come home with some hardware.”
Squash: Women to play for gold, men take home bronze
The Canadian men’s team will get the bronze medal after losing their semifinal to Colombia, while Canada’s women’s team will compete for a gold medal on Sunday.
George Crowne was defeated 3-0 by Juan Vargas before David Baillargeon fell 3-0 to Miguel Angel Rodriguez. Colombia will play Argentina in the gold medal match on Sunday.
The Canadian women’s team will play the United States for gold after beating Colombia 3-0. Hollie Naughton and Nicole Bunyan both won their respective matches 3-1 before Nikole Todd won her match 2-0 to claim victory.
“This is kind of what we wanted coming into the Games, this is the goal, to be in that gold medal match. It’s gonna be a very, very tough line up against the U.S., but I think anything’s possible. We’ll just go out there and give it our all and hope to just have a good match,” said Naughton.
Trampoline: Men’s synchronized duo claims silver
Canada finished second in the men’s synchronized trampoline event, finishing with a total score of 48.480, behind the United States who topped the podium with a score of 49.880.
Keegan Soehn and Rémi Aubin claimed silver with the highest difficulty score in the final (15.600) but were lower than the Americans in their execution (7.250), horizontal displacement (9.050) and synchronization (16.580).
“We had a bit of struggles but we pulled it together and I’m super happy with the result,” said Soehn. The two will compete at the FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships in Birmingham, United Kingdom next week.
Karate: Silver for Lahyanssa at first Pan Am Games
In her Pan Am Games debut, Yamina Lahyanssa took home the silver medal in the women’s 50kg event.
The 21-year-old fell 5-2 to Colombia’s Yorgelis Salazar in the final. Salazar won one of the bronze medals in the women’s 50kg event at the 2023 World Karate Championships.
“I’m very proud, I’m extremely happy even though I wanted that gold medal,” said Lahyanssa. “I’m still really happy about my performance and I’m so happy to just bring the medal back home and I’m proud of myself.”
Other Team Canada News:
Mitch Hupé finished atop the men’s singles bowling ranking round and will now play in the semifinals on Sunday with the aim of advancing to the gold medal final.
Etienne Papineau and Alena Sharp are both in podium contention heading into the final round of the men’s and women’s golf tournaments. Papineau is in third, one stroke back of the leaders. Sharp sits tied for third, one stroke back of second.
The Canadian men’s table tennis team will play for gold on Sunday after defeating the United States 3-2 in the semifinal.
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