Top Mexican Athletes in the History of Pan American Games
Throughout the history of Pan-American Games, numerous successful lines have been written by the Mexican delegation. However, diver Paola Espinosa stands out as the top gold-medal winner for Mexico.
With nearly six gold medals, diver Paola Espinosa heads the list of athletes that have won the highest number of gold medals for Mexico in the 16 editions of the Pan-American Games. The three golden medals obtained by Espinosa in Guadalajara Pan-American Games, 2011, made her total six gold medals, two silvers and one bronze. The medal tally could go way up as this active athlete is going to participate in the upcoming edition of the continental event to be held in Canada, where she has real possibilities to show great competitive level, both in individual and couple competitions.
28-year-old Espinosa’s Olympic record is made up of one bronze medal Beijing Olympic Games, 2008, where she was the standard-bearer of the Mexican delegation in platform synchronized diving along with Tatiana Ortiz. In London 2012, with Alejandra Orozco, she got the silver in platform synchronized diving. Furthermore, this diver has won medals in World Championships, Grand Prix, World Series, and she has attended Asian Championships.
The next name on the individual list of the Mexican medal table is one of the country’s tennis legends, Gustavo Palafox (91 years old), who was the utmost Mexican medal winner for several years with five gold and two bronze medals in Pan-American Games. The history of outstanding Mexican athletes in Pan-American Games also includes diver Joaquin Capilla (1928-2010), who shares the third position with tennis player Yolanda “Yola” Ramirez (79 years old), both hold four Pan-American gold medals.
Subsequently, there are several athletes that have won three gold medals throughout their career, such as diver Fernando Silvers (41 years old), tennis player Rosa Maria Reyes (76 years old), walkers Graciela Mendoza (52 years old) and Carlos Mercenario (47 years old), sprinter Ana Gabriela Guevara (37 years old), canoeists Manuel Cortina (31 years old) and Everardo Quirino (28 years old).
Tae kwon do experts Victor Estrada (43 years old) and racquetball player Paola Longoria (25 years old) also store three gold medals. In the case of the world champion, Longoria, she got her three medals in her first Pan-American Games, Guadalajara 2011. Out of all the athletes included on this list, just a small group is active. Along with the above-mentioned Paola Espinosa, there is another Mexican star that will certainly increase her medal tally, Paola Longoria, who is the great favorite in her discipline and is young enough so as to participate in more events; meanwhile, this could be the last Olympic cycle of the diver.
The leading Mexican golden-medal winners are:
Paola Espinosa – diving. 6 gold medals, 2 silvers, 1 bronze: Guadalajara 2011. Gold in platform synchronized diving 3 (Laura Sanchez), platform (Tatiana Ortiz). Bronze in diving board 3m. Rio de Janeiro 2007. Gold in platform, diving board 3m and synchronized 3m (Laura Sanchez). Silver in platform synchronized diving (Tatiana Ortiz). Santo Domingo 2003. Silver in synchronized diving 3 m (Laura Sanchez) and platform synchronized diving (Laura Sanchez).
Gustavo Palafox – tennis. 5 gold medals, 2 bronzes: Chicago 1959. Gold. Mixed doubles (Yola Ramirez), doubles (Antonio Palafox). Mexico City 1955. Gold in mixed doubles (Yola Ramirez), doubles (Mario Llamas). Buenos Aires 1951. Gold in mixed doubles (Imelda Ramirez). Bronze. Singles, Doubles (Anselmo Puerta).
Yola Ramirez – tennis. 4 gold medals, 3 silvers, 1 bronze: Sao Paulo 1963. Gold in mixed doubles (Francisco Contreras). Silver in singles. Bronze in doubles (Elena Subirats). Chicago 1959. Gold in doubles (Rosa Maria Reyes), doubles (Gustavo Palafox). Silver in singles. Mexico City 1955. Gold in mixed doubles (Gustavo Palafox). Silver in singles.
Joaquin Capilla – diving. 4 gold medals: Mexico City 1955. Gold in platform, diving board. Buenos Aires 1951. Gold in diving board, platform.
Fernando Silvers – diving. 3 gold medals, 4 silvers: Santo Domingo 2003. Silver in diving board 3 m, platform synchronized diving (Rommel Pacheco). Winnipeg 1999. Gold in platform. Silver in diving board 3 m. Mar del Plata 1995. Gold in diving board 3 m, platform. Silver in diving board 1m.
Rosa Maria Reyes – tennis 3 gold medals, 1 silver: Chicago 1959. Gold in Doubles (Yolanda Ramirez). Silver in mixed doubles (Francisco Contreras). Mexico City 1955. Gold in Doubles (Esther Reyes), singles.
Carlos Mercenario – athletics 3 gold medals, 1 silver: Winnipeg 1999. Silver in 50 km walk. Mar del Plata 1995. Gold in 50 km. Havana 1991. Gold in 50 km walk. Indianapolis 1987. Gold in 20 km walk.
Ana Gabriela Guevara – athletics. 3 gold medals, 1 silver: Rio de Janeiro 2007. Pro 400 meter dash. Silver in relay 4×400. Santo Domingo 2003. Gold in 400 meter dash. Winnipeg 1999. Gold in 400 meter dash.
Manuel Cortina – canoeing. 3 gold medals, 1 silver: Rio de Janeiro 2007. Gold in K1 500 m, K2 500 m (Jesus Valdez), K2 1,000 m (Jesus Valdez). Santo Domingo 2003. Silver in C1 1,000 m.
Everardo Quirino – canoeing. 3 gold medals, 1 silver: Guadalajara 2011. Gold in C-1 1,000 m. Rio de Janeiro 2007. Gold in C1 500 m, C1 1,000 m. Silver in C2 500 m (Gilberto Soriano).
Graciela Mendoza – athletics. 3 gold medals: Winnipeg 1999. Gold in 20 km walk. Mar del Plata 1995. Gold in 10 km walk. Havana 1991. Gold in 10 km walk.
Victor Estrada – taekwondo. 3 gold medals: Santo Domingo 2003. Gold in +80 kg. Winnipeg 1999. Gold in -83 kg. Mar del Plata 1995. Gold in -83 kg.
Paola Longoria – Squash. 3 gold medals: Guadalajara 2011. Gold in individual, doubles (Samantha Salas), teams (Samantha Salas).
Article by Ricardo Vazquez with information provided by Ricardo Villanueva
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