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Team USA sailors clinch gold in Pan Am Games medal haul

by US Sailing Team 10 Aug 11:57 PDT 9-10 August 2019
Pan American Games Lima 2019 Team USA Sailing Medalists (right to left): Charlie Buckingham, Charlotte Rose, Anna Weis, Riley Gibbs, Pedro Pascual © US Sailing

Racing has concluded in six of the seven 2020 Olympic class sailing events at the Pan American Games Lima 2019. Team USA had representatives in all six Medal Races and delivered Medals in four of the five that were sailed.

Riley Gibbs (Long Beach, Calif.) and Anna Weis (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) clinched a Gold Medal in the Nacra 17 fleet. Charlotte Rose (Houston, Texas) and Pedro Pascual (West Palm Beach, Fla.) earned Silver Medals in the Laser Radial and RS:X fleets, respectively. Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) won the Bronze in the Laser fleet.

After establishing a strong lead earlier this week, Gibbs and Weis focused on keeping their final race, in upwards of 25 knots of wind, low-risk. "We didn't need to win the race to get the Gold, so we wanted to sail a good, low-risk race," said Weis. Their strategy paid off. The pair sailed a clean race in the extreme breeze and finished second in the Medal Race, clinching the Gold Medal and officially earning country qualification for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Gibbs also noted his gratitude for their competitors, this week, "The Brazilians and Argentineans put up such a good fight the whole week. It was even kind of nerve-wracking heading into today, a little bit of a sleepless night. But hats off to them, because they were pushing us the whole time."

Weis expressed that the win is a validation of the hard work she and Gibbs have out in recently, "It's an amazing feeling, to come away with Gold. We've been through a lot as a team—a new team—so it's awesome to see our hard work pay off."

Now that the pair has won Gold, their sights are already turned to their next endeavor. "I thought it was kind of funny. Straight after the medal ceremony, we went back to de-rigging the boat, like nothing really happened," said Gibbs, "It's another stepping stone, we're already looking ahead to trying our best at the Olympic Test Event in Japan and putting it all out there."

Team USA is happy to take home three more medals in addition to Gibbs and Weis' Gold. Pascual secured the Silver for Team USA by finishing fourth in the Medal Race. Rose displayed an excellent demonstration of skill in the Laser Radial Medal Race. In a tight battle for Gold, she narrowly finished just behind the first-place boat representing Canada to win the Silver Medal. Buckingham finished the Laser Medal Race in the Bronze position. This earned him a spot on the podium next to his training partner, Juan Maegli (Guatemala City, GUA) who won the Gold for Guatemala.

In an extremely windy Medal Race, Team USA 49er athletes, Andrew Mollerus (Larchmont, N.Y.) and Ian MacDiarmid (Delray Beach, Fla.) were bested by Canada for the Bronze Medal and North American berth to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Despite the loss, Malcolm Page, US Sailing's Chief of Olympics said, "Although the wind got the better of them today, they were incredible this week with their composure under pressure. I truly believe they were the more skilled team. The sport just didn't go in their favor today."

After the multiple capsizes in the Men's 49er Medal Race, the Women's 49erFX fleet was postponed. Theirs will be the first of today's Medal Races, beginning at 12:30, local time. Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wisc.) and Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) will be looking to clinch the Silver Medal for Team USA.

The remaining four Medal Races are also scheduled for today. Conner Blouin (Tampa, Fla.) will start the day in fourth, with a chance at the Bronze. Lightning sailors, Jody Starck (Buffalo, N.Y.), Skip Dieball (Grosse Ile, Mich.), and Ian Jones (Buffalo, N.Y.), are in fourth-place. Will Cyr (Bayview, Mich.) is currently sitting in the Bronze position in the Formula Kite class. Ernesto Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) and Hallie Schiffman (Sarasota, Fla.) will be looking to clinch the Gold Medal.

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