During two weeks, Toronto Pan Am Games attracted the attention of every sports enthusiast, not only in America. Scores of records were established and there were spectacular victories; moreover, some teams strengthened their position in this kind of event, while others couldn’t meet the predictions. 364 sets of medals were handed out, so it’s not easy to identify the top moments lived throughout the 17th edition of the utmost sports event in the continent; but PanamericanWorld has made a selection and we shed light in this article on five unforgettable performances that took place at the Canadian city.
Victory of Canadian Andre De Grasse in 100 and 200 Meter Dash
The level shown in athletics was way higher than previous Pan American editions. This time round, some stars of the continent decided to compete, when there is only one moth to go to the World Championship, and the results were very interesting.
Just as it usually happens in multi-sports events, speed in athletics caught the eye of enthusiasts and the media. Canadian Andre De Grasse, winner in 100 and 200 meter dash, was the greatest figure in Toronto. He wasn’t described as main favorite in none of these races; however, this athlete showed remarkable strength at the end and got a historic run of wins.
In 100 m, De Grasse clocked 9.97 seconds in the qualifying stage and in the final, although he couldn’t finish below 10 seconds – it was 10.05 – he did cross the line before Barbadian Ramon Gittens.
The 200-meter race was even better. In the first stage, Jamaican Rasheed Dwyer broke the longest-standing Pan American record in athletics, as he ran the distance in 19.80 seconds, thus surpassing the 19.86 seconds established by his compatriot Donald Quarrie in Cali, 1971; but, in the race for the gold, De Grasse finished with 19.88 seconds and left Dwyer and Panamanian Alonso Edwards behind.
Medal Record by Brazilian Swimmer Thiago Pereira
Brazilian 29-year-old swimmer Thiago Pereira’s effort to become the top medalist of all times in Pan Am Games was one of the most followed developments. Pereira needed five medals to surpass Cuban gymnast Erick Lopez and he got them. Three of those medals were golden, and he won them with his country’s relay team; he also collected one silver and one bronze medals. Pereira was also involved in a polemic matter, since he was disqualified in the final of 400 m medley, where he was the favorite by far.
With 15 gold, 4 silver and 4 bronze medals, Pereira outnumbered Lopez with one medal; although the Cuban athlete still holds the title as the top gold medal winner: 18.
Pan American Record by Yarisley Silva in Pole Vault
In athletics, pole vault was probably the strongest discipline, since some of the main international figures competed in the event. The stadium at York University welcomed US Jennifer Suhr, Olympic champion in London 2012; Cuban Yarisley Silva, Pan American champion in Guadalajara and Olympic silver medalist, and Brazilian Fabiana Murer, world champion in Daegu 2011.
This event was very exciting, since Murer and Silva carried out a tough duel. None of them was willing to give up. The South American athlete jumped 4.75 meters and, minutes later, the Cuban pole vaulter went even higher. Afterwards, they were standing over 4.80 meters, but Silva had had fewer failed jumps throughout the competition, so she held the Pan American crown. The greatest moment was witnessed when the Cuban athlete, who was already the champion, jumped 4.85 meters and broke her own Pan American record.
World Record Matched by Shooter Kim Rhode
US Kim Rhode was chosen to carry her country’s flag during the opening ceremony of the Pan Am Games. She paid tribute to that honor with the results obtained on the field, as this sharp shooter, three-time Olympic champion, conquered the gold in skeet with 74 points and she matched the world record in this discipline, which had been established by Italian Simona Scocchetti in Grenada, Spain, on July 10, 2013.
36-year-old Rhode is described as one of the best shooters of all times. Her career includes the gold in Atlanta Olympics 1996, Athens 2004 and London 2012; moreover, she was the champion in Guadalajara Pan Am Games, 2011.
Canada’s Extra Innings Victory against USA in Baseball Final
The baseball tournament was very hard and left several moments to be recalled in the Pan American history. For example, in one of the semifinals, the United States was strong enough to recover from a four-race disadvantage in the last third of the game and it defeated Cuba.
The United States and Canada met again in the final. Four years ago, in Guadalajara, the Canadians had gotten their victory in extra innings. Now, in Toronto, the situation was similar. The US team was winning 3 – 0, the locals reacted and took the lead, 4 – 3; but the runner-up team matched the scoreboard and send the game to the tenth inning.
The North Americans scored two races and they seemed to be the champions; nevertheless, at the end of the inning, with runners on first and third bases, David Huff made a mistake as he turned to first base. That’s how the Canadians matched the game and the runner that was on first base went all the way home. The catcher couldn’t hold the ball and, as incredible as it sounds, Canada held its Pan American crown.