Two of the biggest names at the Pan American Games, Brazilian gymnast Rebeca Andrade and Canadian swimmer Maggie MacNeil, seized the spotlight with golden wins on Tuesday while the United States blasted past 100 total medals.
With marquee names in short supply, Olympic champions MacNeil and Andrade commanded the Pan Am stage, the Canadian tying American Gabi Albiero for first in women’s 50 metre freestyle while Andrade soared to the top of the podium in the vault.
Simone Biles aside, Andrade might just be the most intriguing athlete competing in her sport in Santiago. At the Tokyo Olympics, Andrade confirmed her status as one of her sport’s more charismatic figures when she placed second in the all-around, then added gold in the vault.
The 24-year-old also has a drawer full of world championship medals including the 2022 all-around title and beat Biles into second in the vault at the recent worlds in Antwerp.
Biles may be recognised as the greatest gymnast of all-time but Andrade is the queen of the vault, holding the Olympic, world championship and now Pan Am Games crowns on the apparatus.
It was another dominating high-flying display from Andrade, who posted a winning score of 14.983 to finish almost a full point clear of the United States’ Jordan Chiles on 14.150.
Andrade closed out the evening with a second place finish in the uneven bars behind American Zoe Miller to give her a gold and two silvers in her first Pan Am Games with a chance to add to her total on Wednesday when she competes on the balance beam.
MacNeil’s fourth win in Santiago tied the record for most gold by a Canadian swimmer at a Pan Am Games while her six total medals (four gold, a silver and bronze) also equalled a single Games national mark.
The 23-year-old could own both records on Wednesday as she returns to the deck as part of the Canadian team that will swim in the women’s 4x100 medley relay.
“It’s still new swimming freestyle for me internationally,” said MacNeil, the Tokyo Olympics 100m butterfly champion. “The good thing is this is obviously one of my weaker events, I really miss having that extra wall. So I’m really happy with that.”
Chile enjoyed their best day of the Panamerican Games scooping up three gold to push their total to five while Argentina’s struggles continued.
Argentina, hosts of the first Pan Am Games in 1951, usually features near the top of the medal table but so far has been limited to just two gold, with both of those coming in water skiing.
With just two gold from the first three days, hosts Chile more than doubled that production in one morning claiming three at the rowing competition with wins in the men’s and women’s fours and women’s lightweight double sculls.
While there was no gold for the U.S. at the Laguna Grande rowing venue on Tuesday there were plenty mined elsewhere including once again in the swimming pool.
After four days the U.S. has amassed 51 gold, 17 of those coming from the pool. Swimmers are almost certain to had to that haul on Wednesday the last day of competition at the Aquatic Centre.
Picking up medals in everything from sport climbing to shooting, the U.S. pushed their overall total to 109 - well in front of second place Mexico on 22 gold and 50 total and Canada with 20 and 58.
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