TORONTO – The Toronto 2015 Pan American Games drew to a close Sunday following 17 days of competition between nearly 7,000 athletes representing all 41 member nations of the Pan American Sports Organization. The Games, which featured 39 sports – including for the first time all 28 sports on the Olympic program – saw Team USA top the medal chart in every category, leading all nations with 265 medals, including 103 golds, 81 silvers and 81 bronzes.
The winning campaign extended Team USA's reign atop the overall medal count to 16 straight Games, dating back to 1955. Overall, 448 U.S. athletes contributed to Team USA’s medal count, including 81 multiple-medalists and 22 who won multiple gold medals.
“This has been an excellent all-around effort by Team USA,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “Our athletes had an incredible experience in Toronto, and performed in a way that made our nation proud. I’d also like commend the city of Toronto and our hosts for creating such a fantastic Games experience for our entire delegation.”
Canada closed the Games with 217 medals (78 golds), shattering its previous best of 196 – and 64 golds – set at the 1999 Pan Ams in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Looking ahead with an eye toward the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil rounded out the top-three spots with 141 total medals, including 41 golds.
Canada’s historic performance on the field of play was one of many highlights for the host nation, which delivered a successful Games by any measure. The Pan Ams marked the largest multi-sport event ever held in Canada – double the size of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, which featured just under 2,600 competitors.
“Toronto exceeded our expectations,” added Blackmun of Toronto 2015’s efforts. “Whether it was the organizing committee or the local authorities, our team operations went very well, and it really couldn’t have been a more positive experience for us. The city and fans brought a lot of positive energy to the venues, and overall our athletes had a fantastic time.”
The 621-member U.S. team competed in 54 disciplines, winning medals in all 37 sports in which it competed. Team USA collected the most hardware in track and field, winning 13 golds and 41 medals overall, marking the team’s biggest medal haul since 1999. Of that total, 23 podium spots went to U.S. women, surpassing the previous high from 1987. U.S. swimmers also impressed in the pool, topping all nations in both the overall (32) and gold-medal (12) charts.
Team USA’s Laura Zeng (Libertyville, Ill.) was the winningest athlete of the Games, earning five gold medals and becoming the second woman ever to sweep the individual rhythmic gymnastics titles. Swimmer Allison Schmitt (Canton, Mich.) was also among the most decorated athletes in Toronto, earning four medals, including three golds. Additionally, Kim Rhode (El Monte, Calif.) was the only athlete to either set or tie a world record at these Games as she defended her title in women’s skeet shooting.
The U.S. also picked up five gold medals in team sports, with women’s field hockey, and men’s and women’s water polo defending their titles from 2011. Additionally, the U.S. women’s indoor volleyball team won its first Pan Am gold medal in 48 years, and Team USA won the inaugural Pan Am championship in women’s baseball on the final day of competition.
Other historic highlights include middleweight champion Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) becoming the first American to win a medal of any color in women’s boxing, Amanda Sobhy (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) claiming gold in all three women’s squash events, and men’s water polo team captain Tony Azevedo (Long Beach, Calif.) winning his fifth consecutive Pan Ams gold medal, dating back to 1999. Also rewriting history, the U.S. men’s artistic gymnastics team captured gold for the first time since 1995, while Sam Mikulak (Corona del Mar, Calif.) became the first American to win the men’s all-around title in 28 years. The U.S. also earned podium spots in all four sports to debut on the Pan Ams stage, highlighted by medal-winning performances in all five new canoe/kayak slalom events.
With only 376 days to go until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the U.S. also took advantage of available Olympic qualification spots in canoe/kayak, equestrian (dressage and eventing), women’s field hockey, men’s water polo, modern pentathlon, shooting and table tennis. Pentathlete Nathan Schrimsher (Roswell, N.M.) became the first qualified member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team with a podium finish, and table tennis player Jennifer Wu (Fort Lee, N.J.) also punched her ticket to Rio with a winning effort in women’s singles.
“These were an important two weeks in terms of Olympic qualification, but we also wanted to ensure that all our athletes had positive experiences, especially for those who were representing their country in a multi-sport environment for the first time,” said Alan Ashley, USOC chief of sport performance and Team USA chef de mission. “This is what makes the Pan Ams so special and unique, and we’re extremely proud of everything our athletes accomplished here.”