Pan American Games  Preview

Pan American Games Preview

By ITU Admin on 09/07/07 at 12:00 am

This weekend the Carnival city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will host the 15th edition of the Pan American Games.  The Women’s and Men’s Triathlon competitions will be held this Sunday, July 15th on the famous Copacabana Beach.  The event, which also doubles as the ITU Pan American Triathlon Championships, will host 67 athletes from 19 countries across North and South America. 

Women’s defending gold medalist, Jill Savege of Canada, is set to compete against a strong Pan American field including fellow Canadian and medal hopeful Lauren Groves as well as top-ranked Sara Haskins of the United States.  Haskins is coming off of a podium finish at the recent Vancouver BG Triathlon World Cup amongst a strong field while Groves has been peaking the past year with a fourth place finish at the Triathlon world championships in Switzerland on her resume.

Savege’s and Groves’ team mate and reigning continental champion Kathy Tremblay is also on the start list as well as Haskins’ team mate and current American champ Julie Swail, who is in top form and looking for her first win at a major international race. 

The fleet-footed Brazilian, Mariana Ohata, has been training for this race all year with hopes of bringing home a gold medal for the host country, earning herself a spot on the 2008 Olympic team.  Ohata podiumed at the recently stacked Des Moines BG Triathlon World Cup and her team mate and veteran Carla Moreno, who medaled at the 1999 Games, is with her to try and accomplish this feat. 

American and Canadian women have dominated the medals in the past winning eight of the available nine - five for Canada and three for the United States.  Brazil was the only other country to win a medal in the event’s previous three showings.

In the men’s event, reigning gold medalist Hunter Kemper of the United States will not be in attendance to defend his title.  Kemper has medaled at two of the three PanAm triathlon competitions.  Instead, the American team is lead by multiple world cup winner Andy Potts

Reigning continental champion Paul Tichelaar is also set to start this weekend after two personal-best world cup finishes already in 2007.  He will have 2004 Olympian Brent McMahon to help bring gold home for the northern nation.

Included in the top contending men are 1999 Pan American Games gold medalist Gilberto Gonzalez of Venezuela and former Under23 Triathlon world champion Jarrod Shoemaker of the United States. 

Local Brazilian favourite Antonio da Silva is also one to watch, becoming one of the few men to break 30 minutes for the triathlon’s 10-kilometre run on this very course at the 2004 ITU Rio de Janeiro World Cup.

There is more then just gold on the line as the first woman and man across the line could potentially earn their country a spot on the start line for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games as this could be the last Pan American Triathlon Championships before the Olympics.

Click here for full start lists.

Click here for information on the Pan American Games.

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