The United States roster of 631 athletes at the Pan American Games finished on the top of the medal table for the 17th time, as expected, but with fewer podiums than four years ago in Lima.
American athletes in Chile won 124 gold medals, two more than in Peru. Medal tables at sports events traditionally take into account gold, silver and bronze to place teams.
The U.S also won 75 silver and 87 bronze in Santiago, totaling 286. In 2019, the American tally was 293 medals.
Women of three team sports on Sunday helped the U.S. beat the number of gold medals obtained in the previous Pan American Games: softball, water polo and rugby sevens.
Many athletes were much more interested in spots at the Paris Olympics than in the color of their medals. Among those were the men's and women's water polo teams; B-girl “Sunny” Choi, who will compete in the first Olympic break dancing tournament; and boxer Joshua Edwards.
As four years ago, Brazil finished second in the medal with its best Pan American Games campaign in history; 66 gold, 73 silver and 66 bronze, a total of 205.
Like the U.S., Brazil did not send most of their top athletes to Chile.
The track and field competitions in Chile took place with few top competitors, as most of them finished their season in September. The few stars in Chile included U.S. wrestler Kyle Snyder, Brazilian gymnast Rebeca Andrade and Canadian swimmer Maggie Mac Neil — all won gold medals.
Mexico had its best Pan American Games in history with a mix of veteran and young athletes, who brought 52 gold, 38 silver and 52 bronze, relegating Canada to fourth place in gold medals.
Cuba, once a sports superpower, celebrated fifth place in the medal table, with 30 gold, 22 silver and 17 bronze. The rest of the top 10 teams at the Pan American Games gold medal table include Colombia (29), Argentina (17), Chile (12), Peru (10) and Venezuela (8).
The organization of the Pan American Games in Santiago had its struggles since the start of the events, but the Andean nation managed to get to the finish line for 41 teams, about 7,000 athletes in 39 sports.
During a visit, the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, said, “Chile can do greater things,” which made locals hopeful one day the Sumer Olympics could come to their city.
The next Pan American Games will be held in four years in the Colombian city of Barranquilla, near the Caribbean.
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