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Team USA Bowlers Go For The Gold With Talent To Spare

By Zach Wagner | July 20, 2015, 5:07 p.m. (ET)

Chris Barnes bowls during the XVI Pan American Games at the Tapatio Bowling Alley on Oct. 25, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Since bowling was added to the Pan American Games program in 1991, no country has had more success than the United States.

Team USA enters the 2015 Pan Am Games trying to build upon a total of 20 gold medals and the top spot in the overall standings over the course of the last 24 years.

One of the final sports to take place, the bowlers will compete July 22-25 at the Pan Am Bowling Centre. The finals for the men’s and women’s doubles events will wrap on July 23, while the men’s and women’s singles semifinals and finals will complete the competition on July 25.

Lacing it up for the United States on the men’s side is Devin Bidwell and Tommy Jones, who are both making their first appearance at the Pan Am Games.  

Jones is one of the most accomplished bowlers on the PBA tour over the last decade, winning the PBA Player of the Year Award at the conclusion of the 2005-06 season. In this calendar year, he picked up a victory at the Bear Open.

Meanwhile, Bidwell is an up and coming amateur, who performed well enough at the 2015 USBC Team USA Trials to qualify for a spot in the Pan Am Games.

For the women’s events, the U.S. is experienced, with both Liz Johnson and Shannon Pluhowsky having competed at the Pan Am Games in previous years. 

Johnson, a recent inductee into the USBC Hall of Fame this past spring, will be looking to defend her gold medals in both the individual and doubles events, having won both during the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

As for Pluhowsky, emerging from the 2015 USBC Team USA Trials victorious was enough to book her trip to Toronto. She competed at the 2003 Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, winning the gold medal in singles and the silver medal in doubles. 

“I’m excited to represent Team USA in the Pan American Games again,” said Pluhowsky. “The first time I went, I had a great time, and it’s definitely been a tournament that I have wanted to be able to compete in again.”

Johnson won the 2015 USBC Queens tournament to secure her place at the Games for the U.S., finishing with a total of 1,640 points, only 30 points behind Pluhowsky in the overall qualification standings.

“Having the chance to bowl against some of the best bowlers in the world is a very humbling and amazing opportunity,” Johnson said. “At the same time, it is also an honor and a privilege to be able to bowl and represent Team USA.”

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Devin Bidwell

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Tommy Jones

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Liz Johnson

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Shannon Pluhowsky