Team Brazil brings home gold at the PanAm Games Mixed Relay
After leading solo the individual race for over one hour and a half to then loose the medals at the end, Vittoria Lopes was today on a mission at the Mixed Relay of the Pan American Games: get Team Brazil on the podium. And she did deliver. She was the anchor woman that brought home the gold medal with a superb leg, overpassing Team USA, who crossed the finish line to claim silver, and Team Canada, third on the day.
The second day of triathlon competition at the 2023 Santiago Pan American Games saw 11 teams facing the hard weather conditions, on another cold, windy and wet morning in Vina del Mar. And it was the local hero, Diego Moya (CHI), who charged out of the ice-cold Pacific Ocean onto El Sol beach in first place, followed closely by Seth Rider (USA) and Brock Hoel (CAN), while Crisanto Grajales (MEX) and Miguel Hidalgo (BRA) struggled in the first segment of their race.
Moya was quickly left behind by the leading duo from Team USA and Team Canada, who charged hard in the first leg to open a gap of 34 seconds before handing over to their teammates.
Erica Ackerlund (USA) and Emy Legault (CAN) both showed a fantastic form on the swim and increased their advantage with Djenyfer Arnold (BRA), who by the time she hoped on her bike, was solo in the third place, with Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela and Ecuador in a large group behind her.
But soon after they mounted their bikes Ackerlund pushed hard to leave Legault behind, and solo she went until she handed over to Mathew McElroy. Behind him, 24-year-old rookie Liam Donnelly (CAN) had the race of his life, being called for the team at the last minute after his teammate Martin Sobey felt sick this morning.
With McElroy leading solo, even after serving a 10 seconds penalty, Donnelly teamed up with Manoel Messias (BRA) -also willing to deliver a great race after his eight place on the individual race- on the short and technical bike loop and the fast run, managing both of them to even increase the distance with Aram Penaflor (MEX), fighting hard to try to close the gap with the podium positions.
It was Gina Sereno for Team USA the one taking the responsibility of the anchor leg, and even though she had a 12 seconds lead, she was quickly catched by Vittoria Lopes (BRA), who produced another magnificent swim and never looked back.
All smiles, Lopes hit the tape in first place to give Brazil their second consecutive gold medal at the Mixed Relay at the pan American Games, after their victory in Lima 2019. “Today we all raced really well, and I am really glad that I could put behind my performance of yesterday and deliver a great swim, bike and run. I am really happy for the whole team”, said Messias.
Sereno managed to stay ahead of Dominika Jamnicky to claim silver for team USA. “Yesterday the four of us played on our minds all the possible scenarios, so we came to the race really well prepared. And I think we all delivered and executed the plan almost perfectly”, said Ackerlund. “I had such a strong motivation after watching all my teammates perform that I was pumped. They handed over to me up front and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to be on, so I just managed to stay there and hang on for the silver medal”, explained Sereno.
Bronze on the day was for Team Canada. “We raced really well as a team today, and even though Martin got sick tonight we managed to deliver a great performance today. I am really proud for the team and to be able to bring this medal to all the Canadian fans”, said Hoel.
Related Event: 2023 Santiago Pan American Games
|Results: Elite Men