TORONTO -- Alysia Montano was grinning ear to ear after winning the silver medal in the women’s 800-meter at the Pan American Games Wednesday at the CIBC Pan Am Athletics Stadium. For Montano, her performance was about more than just a medal.
“It is about putting your best foot out there, putting in your best effort, and I did that today,” Montano said. “This is my second time running under two minutes post-pregnancy, and I'm really excited about that. You have to appreciate the small victories.”
Montano, the current U.S. 800-meter outdoor champion and the U.S. women’s team captain at the Pan Ams, won the event just 11 months after the birth of her daughter, Linnea. She jokes that she is the “team mom,” but the nickname suits her all too well.
“This was my second medal as a mom,” Montano said. “I feel like every time I come out, I think about what am I going to do for my daughter.”
Canada's Melissa Bishop (1:59.62) won gold as Montano finished the two-lap race in 1:59.76. Montano was proud Bishop could win in front of her countrymen and women.
“I feel like in so many different ways life is challenging,” Montano said. “My extra challenge I added was a daughter. But there is always something different and you just have to be up for it. It's better than any medal, any win. She gives me a new perspective on sport.”
In the men’s 100-meter, Canadian and 2015 NCAA champion Andre De Grasse won the gold medal in 10.05 seconds as Americans Remontay McClain and BeeJay Lee finished fifth and sixth with times of 10.15 and 10.17, respectively.
According to Lee, who trains and competes collegiately with De Grasse at the University of Southern California, they have a lot of respect for one another both on and off the track.
“That’s like my little-big brother, it’s like real love,” Lee said. “On the track, it’s like no love-hate, it’s a competition. He deserves it.”
Runners Medal In Pan Am Games Debuts
In the women’s 400-meter hurdles, Shamier Little was planning the entire race when to make her move – a move that would earn her a Pan American Games gold medal.
“Just staying strong and attacking Hurdles 8, 9, 10,” Little said on her final-turn performance, which ultimately gave her the advantage coming onto the home stretch. “It starts at Hurdle 8, I felt like that’s where I make my move and I broke away and just try to maintain it; it felt great.”
Little won in a time of 55.50, beating Sarah Wells of Canada (56.17) and Deborah Rodriguez of Uruguay (56.41). The winning part was nothing new to her, but the setting was.
“(Winning medals feels good), it’s not in Oregon – I’m used to running my best races and winning good in Oregon and this is a different setting for me,” Little said on her first Pan American Games experience. “A different atmosphere, a lot of cheering for the Canadians. It was just weird, but I had fun.”
Meanwhile, Barbara Pierre was also making the most of her Pan American Games opportunity. Her bronze medal in the women’s 100-meter in a time of 11.01 seconds was a satisfying consolation for not making the world championships team.
“I am happy with all three of my races today,” Pierre said. “I've had a difficult season. It was really rough. I didn't make the worlds team so I'm happy with what I've done here.”
Despite having issues out of the gun, Pierre, who set a Pan American Games record July 21 in the heats, was able to finish third behind gold medalist, Jamaica’s Sherone Simpson (10.95) and Angela Tenorio of Ecuador (10.99).
“I had an issue in the blocks so I kind of stumbled a little bit,” Pierre said. “It freaked me out but I tried to stay in the zone. I'm just glad I got third.”