SANTIAGO, Chile — Chile celebrated their first gold medal of the Pan American Games when Francisca Crovetto eased mounting pressure by winning women’s skeet, while mighty United States stepped up their assault on the podium and a Canadian skateboarder grabbed the spotlight.
Even without Simone Biles and Rebeca Andrade, the US artistic gymnastic all-around final produced one of the Pan Am Games’ compelling competitions with Kayla DiCello taking gold, signalling she will be a contender for a spot on the US Paris Olympic squad.
While many of 39 sports at the Pan Ams lack depth and quality, the women’s all-around field had enough of both to leave a sellout crowd on the edge of their seats until DiCello, the last to compete, had her floor routine score pop up on top of the leaderboard.
As expected, the battle for podium places was between the United States and Brazil, who sent out athletes all with Olympic and or world championship medals on their resumes, Reuters reported.
DiCello, an alternate on the US squad that won gold at the recent world championships in Antwerp and an all-around bronze medallist at the 2021 worlds, posted the best scores on the uneven bars and floor, helping her to a winning total of 54.699 points.
Brazil’s Flavia Saraiva took silver on 54.565, with Jordan Chiles making it two Americans on the podium taking bronze.
DiCello’s win returned the all-around title to the US after Canada’s Ellie Black won gold at the previous two Games in Toronto.
Elsewhere, Hugo Catrileo of Chile came second in the men’s marathon, after Canada had denied Chile a golden start by sweeping top spots in the cross-country mountain bike events, leaving brother and sister Martin and Catalina Kossmann with silver.
The wait for gold came to an end on the shooting range for both Chile and Crovetto, who had won two silvers and a bronze at three previous Pan Am Games.
For a moment it looked as if Crovetto might settle for a third runner-up finish but the 33-year-old held her nerve to beat Mexican Gabriela Rodriguez in a shoot-off.
“This is my fourth consecutive medal in the Pan American Games, but the fact that the first gold medal was in my country is like a dream come true,” said Crovetto according to Reuters. “It couldn’t be better.”
While Chile celebrated their first gold, the United States added 11 to their Day One haul, finishing atop the podium in men’s racing, sport climbing and skateboarding, as well as in the women’s cycling time trial and the artistic gymnastics women’s team title.
Despite sending a B team to the Pan Am Games, US swimmers had another dominating display in the pool, scooping up four gold medals.
The US finished Day Two with a total of 46 medals, including 20 golds, double second place Mexico’s 10.
Led by Jordan Chiles, a member of the US silver medal squad at the Tokyo Olympics, the Americans claimed the Pan Am gymnastics team gold for the sixth consecutive time with a 165.196 score. Brazil, headed by their Olympic champion Rebeca Andrade, took silver and Canada bronze.
With the all-round and apparatus finals still to come, the showdown between Chiles and Andrade, who won gold in the vault and silver in the all-round at the Tokyo Olympics, is expected to produce some of the Games most memorable moments.
“Jordan is a complete gymnast, very talented,” said Andrade, who comes to Chile in superb form after beating all-time great Simone Biles to take gold in the vault at the recent world championships in Antwerp. “This is a great scenario.”
Earlier it was Canada’s 13-year-old skateboarder Fay De Fazio Ebert putting on a show by taking gold in the park competition.
Competing with a good-luck feather in her helmet from Richard, one of her two pet ducks, Ebert gave her father the perfect present on his birthday, posting a winning score of 84.66 points to grab gold ahead of Brazil’s Raicca Ventura on 82.54 and American Bryce Wettstein (79.95).
“I was pumped I got podium but I was like ah, I just want to land my full run and have fun and smile,” said Ebert. “I can’t find words to explain how exciting it was.”