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The Games Come To A Close
Friday (July 24) and Saturday (July 25) brought a flurry of action in both track and field and men’s basketball.
The Dominican Republic men's basketball team lost its semifinal contest to Brazil in a hard- fought game on Friday. They came back on Saturday in the bronze medal game to ultimately fall to the United States after losing a late lead. It was great to see Angel there, even if it was only in the village and on TV.
On the track on Friday morning, we witnessed one of the toughest displays of maturity and strength I have ever seen in our sport. After winning his semifinal heat of the 110-meter hurdles in the morning, American David Oliver III was ready for the final around 1:15 p.m. David and the seven other finalists took to the track in the mid-day sun. The gun went off and the racers took off, midway through the race a recall gun was shot but very hard to hear with the roar of the crowd. Four of the competitors went the distance and finished the race, with David crossing the line first. The officials said there was a timing error and decided to re-run the race. David kept his composure like a pro and prepared to go out 30 minutes later and try again. This time he left no doubt he is the best and he stormed to victory, smashing the Pan Am Games record. His maturity, poise and strength is an example for all athletes to learn from.
In the evening session, local New Jersey athlete Ashley Higginson (Colts Neck) took home the gold in the women's steeplechase as her teammate Shalaya Kipp earned the silver. Not to be out-done the women in the 200-meters captured the gold and silver medal too. The silver was won by Kyra Jefferson who happens to be my college teammate's daughter. Her father, Thomas Jefferson, Olympian in the 200-meters, was my teammate at Kent State University. In all on Friday, we captured eight medals.
On the final day of track competition, the U.S. finished strong! They captured two individual medals, gold in three of the four final relays and a bronze in the fourth. After an early morning at the men's 50k walk, I spent the afternoon helping the USOC donate leftover Gatorade product to a local school. I have never seen so much Gatorade in my life, let alone help carry it!
The evening brought with it the closing ceremonies. As we marched into Rogers Cente to a near sold-out capacity, we were amazed by an intense light show, dancing and musical performances by Canadian artists.
The U.S. Track and Field team brought home 41 medals, the most since 1999 when Coach Moon was also a member of the staff. It was great working with an amazing staff of coaches, managers and medical personnel. Everyone worked hard and contributed to the team's success. We can look forward to the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru in 2019 and hope to continue the American success. Thank you Toronto 2015 for putting on a great show!