Hey Gopher Fans,
Well, the team competition is over here at the Pan Am Games and we are back in the Pan-Am Village relaxing after a hard fought battle in the gym today. As I mentioned earlier, the team competition was split into two subdivisions with Team USA competing in the first. Puerto Rico had a solid showing and posted a score of 353.90 to our score of 353.30. A close meet, but not enough to get ahead of Puerto Rico.
We started out the meet on high bar and had a couple of misses and a couple of hits but it was a bit of a rough start. Next, we went to floor exercise where Guillermo Alvarez hit a great routine for a score of 15.05. This turned out to be a good enough score to make the event finals on Tuesday (top 8 on each event with a maximum of 2 finalists from each country). Unfortunately we had two misses on floor exercise so we couldn’t quite get our momentum on track. Next event was pommel horse and unfortunately we had two falls from our top two horse guys, Alvarez & Dave Durante, which put us further behind after three events. With three events to go we were 11 points behind Puerto Rico and it was time to get this team on track. They improved on the last three events, posting solid scores on still rings, vault, and parallel bars to finish the meet only 0.6 points behind Puerto Rico. To make up 11 points in three events is unbelievable and it’s a testament to the character of this team and the way they NEVER give up and keep on fighting.
Brazil and Cuba were in the second subdivision and we stayed to watch the competition to see if either team would bump us out of the medals. Brazil had a great home court advantage and they took advantage of it only missing one routine in the entire competition. It came down to the last man on the last event and they did a very good job to move ahead of Team USA to secure the silver medal, bumping us down to the bronze medal award stand. While it was a little disappointing to know we could have won the meet with one more hit routine, it was still extremely gratifying to be on the awards stand at one of the biggest gymnastics competitions in the western hemisphere. The thrill of the competition was incredible and the fight these guys put up was evident by the fact they were able come back from such a large deficit in the first half of the competition.
Tomorrow are the all-around finals and Guillermo and Dave Durante will be competing for more medals in this competition. The top 24 all-arounders will compete and Guillermo & Dave finished eighth & 10th respectively in today’s meet. Tomorrow’s meet will be a “new life” format where everyone starts at zero and none of the scores will carry forward from today’s meet. The top 8 individual event finalists were also determined tonight and as mentioned earlier, Guillermo made floor exercise finals along with Justin Spring. Sean Golden made still rings finals while Justin and Guillermo both also made parallel bars finals. On high bar, Todd Thornton and Spring will be vying for medals in Tuesday’s finals. There are still a lot of medals to be contending for between the all around and event finals competitions so keep following things right here on The Burns Blog from the Pan Am Games!!
GO GOPHERS and GO TEAM USA!!!