Katie Vincent, Phil Wizard to team up as Team Canada’s Closing Ceremony flag bearers in Santiago
Team Canada has concluded one of its most successful Pan American Games ever.
Among the 46 gold medals won at Santiago 2023 were two won by the athletes who have been given the honour of carrying the Canadian flag into the Closing Ceremony — canoer Katie Vincent and breaker Philip Kim, better known as B-Boy Phil Wizard.
Both stood atop the podium on Saturday when Team Canada athletes collected 20 medals, the most by the country on a single day in Santiago.
At the start of the day, Vincent and partner Sloan MacKenzie were crowned Pan Am Games champions in the women’s C-2 500m. That victory came at the end of a season that saw them win bronze at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships, securing an Olympic spot for Canada in the event.
In the early evening, Kim became the first ever Pan Am Games champion in men’s breaking — and was awarded his golden ticket to compete at Paris 2024 where breaking will make its Olympic debut.
“I was really honoured when I found out. A lot of my heroes, Adam van Koeverden and Mark Oldershaw, also carried the flag at major Games, so they kinda mentored me to have this opportunity. It’s really special,” said Vincent. “I am glad I can represent our sport and country in this way.”
“It was an emotional moment when they told me. I cried a little bit, to be honest,” Kim recalled of being given the good news by Chef de Mission Christine Girard just after he won his gold medal. “It’s something I can definitely say I’m proud of. I’m proud to be Canadian and it feels like Canada, I guess, is proud of me, which is a really good feeling.”
Vincent looks to make her second Olympic appearance at Paris 2024. She was part of history at Tokyo 2020 where women’s canoe events were included on the Olympic program for the first time. She won bronze in the C-2 500m with now-retired partner Laurence Vincent Lapointe and placed eighth in the final of the C-1 200m. A month later, she won her first individual world title in the C-1 200m.
“I wouldn’t be here without the support of my family, coaches, and teammates over the years, so a big thank you to them. I hope they can celebrate and watch from home tonight!” Vincent added.
While Vincent has experienced a major Games before, Santiago 2023 offered something new but entirely welcome for Kim.
“It’s my first time here for the Pan Am Games. First time in a village and Games environment, it was a really cool experience, meeting other athletes. Team Canada took really good care of us,” he said.
The day of the Closing Ceremony was the first time Vincent set foot in the Chilean capital as the canoe/kayak sprint competition was held in Concepcion, about 500 kilometres south. But that created the opportunity for some unique memories for her and her teammates.
“We went viral on TikTok on our coffee trips, we were big in Biobio [province]. That was pretty awesome,” she explained. “Every day we would go out in matching fits and go to a new café and the town started to love us. It was a fun and cool way to experience the Games just in our own way.”
It only added to her experience that Canadian paddlers were all over the podium, winning nine medals to top the medal standings in canoe/kayak sprint.
“Cheering on our teammates and getting cheered on, the momentum from our team is really going to help us going into next year,” Vincent said, already looking ahead to the Olympic season on the horizon.
Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games Hub
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