Paddler Katie Vincent and breaker Philip Kim were named Canada’s flag-bearers for Sunday’s closing ceremony of the Pan American Games.
Vincent, from Mississauga, Ont., won sprint canoe gold with Sloan Mackenzie.
“It is a huge honour to be named flag-bearer,” Vincent, 27, said in a statement to the Canadian Olympic Committee. “All my heroes have done it, it’s a huge opportunity to be following in the footsteps of paddling greats like Adam van Koeverden and Mark Oldershaw, shining a light on our sport.”
Vancouver’s Kim, known as Phil Wizard in breakdancing circles, became the first Pan Am Games gold medallist in men’s breaking.
Kim was emotional when the COC told him he would carry the Canadian flag at Sunday’s ceremony.
“I cried a little bit, to be honest,” said the 26-year-old. “I’m proud to be Canadian and it feels like Canada I guess is proud of me, which is a really good feeling.
“This was my first time at the Pan Am Games, my first time in a village and a Games environment. It was really cool meeting other athletes and this experience overall has been amazing.”
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Kim also secured a quota spot to represent Canada at the Paris Olympics next summer.
Surfer Sanoa Dempfle-Olin of Tofino, B.C., and boxers Tammara Thibeault of Shawinigan, Que., and Wyatt Sharpe of Kennetcook, N.S., were also handed the coveted gold and white souvenir tickets to Paris after their events.
Another 19 athletes qualified Canada to compete in equestrian team dressage, eventing and show jumping as well as three sailing classes and two shooting divisions.
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Olympic berth was among athletes’ goals
With 164 medals — 46 gold, 55 silver and 63 bronze — Canada had its greatest haul from a non-hosted Pan Am Games since 1995 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. The 46 gold is one shy of its record for a non-home Pan Am Games.
Winning medals, qualifying for Paris, competing for the first time in a multi-sport Games, and for the first time in that environment without COVID-19 restrictions, were among the Canadians’ many goals and objectives in Chile.
For those athletes competing in non-Olympic sports, the Pan Am Games were their international multi-sport pinnacle.
“Everybody comes with different goals in mind,” Canada’s chef de mission Christine Girard said Sunday. “I think they all came to get what they needed from these Games.
“A lot of athletes I feel, are really satisfied, but there’s no common denominator here in the sense that the goal varies quite a bit.”
Canadians collected five medals on Sunday’s final day of competition.
- Regina native Nicole Todd, Hollie Naughton of Mississauga, Ont., and Victoria’s Nicole Bunyan were silver medallists in women’s team squash. Simeon Martin, Edward Ly (both from Montreal) and Eugene Wang of Aurora, Ont., claimed silver in men’s team table tennis. Winnipeg’s Mitch Hupe took silver in men’s singles bowling.
- Alena Sharp of Hamilton was a bronze medallist in women’s golf, while Melissa Bratic of Mississauga, Ont., also earned bronze in karate’s 68-kilogram division.
The top countries, including Canada, didn’t send all of their top teams and athletes to Santiago in part because the awkward timing at the end of October and beginning of November, which is South America’s summer.
The United States continued its customary Pan Am Games dominance with 286 medals, including 124 gold. Brazil ranked second with 205 and 66. Mexico finished ahead of Canada in the gold-medal count with 52.
“On the field of play for the athletes, we see results, medal results, qualification for Paris,” COC chief sport officer Eric Myles said. “There hasn’t been that many big disappointments. A few tough or tight races or lost games, but globally I feel we’re in a real good place.
“It’s a challenging environment for different reasons. It’s re-creating the pressure of delivering at the moment, delivering in challenging conditions sometimes. All of that’s been tested on different fronts. If it was easy, we’d be up there with the States.”
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