Cuba Shines at 2011 Pan-American Games

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The Cuban Team finished on top of the medals table with nine medals, including four Golds, while the Canadians grabbed seven medals at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Led by Carrie Johnson with two golds, and Ryan Dolan with a bronze in men’s K1 200m, Team USA claimed the third position on the medals table, earning two gold and two bronze medals, and, more importantly, two starting positions at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“We’re very proud of the performance of our sprint athletes at the Pan Am Games,” says USA Canoe/Kayak CEO Joe Jacobi. “Carrie, Maggie, Kaitie and Ryan represented their country and sport as champions and have created great momentum for the program heading toward to London.”

Women’s K2 500m

On the final day of the competition, Cuba bagged one last gold medal when Dayexi Gandarela and Yulitza Meneses won the Women’s K2 500m race. The Argentinean duo of Sabrina Ameghino and Alexandra Keresztesi came in a close second, while Margaret Hogan and Kaitlyn Tara McElroy of Team USA came in third, winning the bronze medal.

Men’s K1 200m

The Men’s K1 200m was won by Cesar Ernesto De Cesare of Ecuador, whereas Miguel Correa (ARG) took the silver. Ryan Dolan (USA) won the bronze medal and pending an official announcement from the ICF, he would have benefited from an exception to the Olympic qualification rule to unofficially earn an Olympic slot for Team USA.

The first and second place finishers from Ecuador and Argentina respectively had already qualified Olympic slots in other events at the Games and 2011 World Championships, allowing the third place finisher to earn the Olympic slot. Who fills the spots for Team USA will be determined by performances at the 2012 National Team Trials and the first event on the 2012 World Cup circuit.

Men’s C1 200m

Thirty-two year old Richard Dalton from Canada took top honors in the Men’s C1 200m when he won the gold medal, beating out Nivalter De Jesus (BRA) who took the silver, and Roleysi Baez (CUB) who captured the bronze. “It was another very intense battle,” Dalton says.
“I haven’t taken one second off since I made this team because I knew how tough my competition was. I didn’t leave anything to chance, so I’m very happy with the result.”

The win earned Canada a spot in the men’s C1 200-meter event at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Women’s K1 200m
The Women’s K1 200m final began with two false starts, but that did not distract Carrie Johnson (USA) from winning her second gold medal in as many days.

“I am very excited,” Johnson says. “I had a good race this morning. Overall, it’s great to have qualified the quota spot and it’s a bit of confidence booster to have won both races. It’s a great way to end the 2011 season.”

Darisleydis Amador (CUB) who had led for most of the race came in second, Sabrina Ameghino (ARG) wrapping up the podium places with a bronze medal.

Men’s K2 200m
Ryan Cochrane and Hugues Fournel (CAN) won the Men’s K2 200 race. The silver medal went to Ruben Voizard and Miguel Correa from Argentina.
“Usually, we would have rested after the world championships, but we just kept going,” Cochrane says. “Everything just came together. We did what we would always do and it just worked.” Brazil’s Givago Ribeiro and Gilvan Ribeiro took home the bronze medal.

Men’s K4 1000m
Earlier , the Cuban Men’s K4 1000m had won the gold medal, the first of many medals for the Cuban canoeists. Maikel Daniel Zulueta, Reinier Torres, Osvaldo Labrada and Jorge Antonio García gave a steadfast performance that left the Canadians and Brazilians to the second and third positions, respectively.

Women’s K1 500m
Carrie Johnson (USA) won the Gold medal in the Women’s K1 500m final guaranteeing the USA a boat quota slot in the event at the London 2012 Olympic Games. FOURNEL Émilie Fournel (CAN) won the Silver and Alexandra Keresztesi from Argentina won the Bronze medal.

Women’s K4 500m
Kathleen Fraser, Kristin Gauthier, Alexa Irvin and Una Lounder of Canada finished first in the Women’s K4 500 on the first day of the competition. Mexico grabbed the Silver, while Cuba won the Bronze medal.

Info: www.guadalajara2011.org.mx/home

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Women’s K1 winner Carrie Johnson (USA) Photo by Jill K. Robinson

Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)