LIMA, Peru – Chilly temperatures at the Videna Athletics Stadium couldn’t keep Mike Rodgers and Jordan Geist from earning spots on the podium on Wednesday. Rodgers finished the 100-meter dash in 10.09 seconds to earn gold, and Geist’s dramatic final throw of 20.67 meters elevated him past two opponents and onto the podium with the silver medal in the men’s shot put.
“It was cold, man, I didn’t know I was going that fast,” Rodgers said. “The cold started getting to my muscles, I was cramping a little bit. But I got through it. I just focused on my race. It was a pretty good time for the weather. I’m very happy to bring the gold back to the U.S.”
Rodgers became the first U.S. athlete to win gold in the 100-meter dash since Bernard Williams in 1999. Cravon Gillespie finished sixth with a time of 10.38. Paulo Andre Camilo de Oli of Brazil won silver with a time of 10.16 and Cejhae Greene of Antigua and Barbuda earned bronze with a time of 10.23.
In the shot put, Geist’s quest for the podium was a dramatic one. He established himself as a contender in the second round when his throw of 20.16 landed him in third place. He maintained that position until the fourth round when Uziel Munoz of Mexico overtook him with a throw of 20.32. In the fifth round, Geist’s throw of 19.78 wasn’t enough to gain any ground.
But in the decisive sixth round, Geist’s throw of 20.67 jumped him ahead of not only Munoz but also Timothy Nedow of Canada to win the silver medal.
“A lot of it was just using my legs,” Geist said. “For the whole competition, I was a little nervous. I wasn’t using my legs. I wasn’t getting low enough. The last round was about trusting myself, my technique.”
Geist finished behind gold-medal winner Darlan Romani of Brazil, whose sixth-round throw of 22.07 set a Pan American Games record. Munoz earned bronze with a throw of 20.56.
In the first day of competition for the women’s heptathlon, Annie Kunz established herself as a podium contender. Her combined score through the high jump, shot put, 100-meter hurdles, and 200-meter sprint landed her in third place.
“It’s where I wanted to be,” Kunz said. “I didn’t perform like I wanted to in the shot put but I’ll just have to make those points up somewhere else. So many different things can happen in the heptathlon.”
In the women’s 100-meter dash, Twanisha Terry’s time of 11.37 seconds resulted in a fifth-place finish. Elaine Thompson of Jamaica won gold with a time of 11.18. Michelle-Lee Ahye from Trinidad and Tobago earned silver with a time of 11.27 and Brazil’s Vitoria Cristina Silva Rosa finished third with a time of 11.30 for the bronze.
In the men’s long jump, Trumaine Jefferson withdrew after his second attempt due to injury. His first attempt was deemed illegal. The jump of 7.66 was the fifth best to that point. His second-round jump was still enough for him to finish sixth. Cuba’s Juan Echevarria Lafle won gold with his jump of 8.27.
On the second day of the men’s decathlon, Nathan Hite of the U.S. began with a total score of 3,903, seventh among the twelve competitors. His chances of a comeback were effectively squandered on the first event of the second day, the 110-meter hurdles. His time of 15.04 seconds earned him just 845 points, second fewest in the event, and dropped Hite to eighth. His total score of 7,389 landed him in sixth place. Canada’s Damian Warner took home the gold with 8,513 total points.
Sharika Nelvis and Chanel Brissett each qualified for the women’s 100-meter hurdles final with semifinal times of 12.85 and 13.08, respectively. In the women’s 400 semifinal, Jaide Stepter’s time of 52.17 was fourth highest of the day, enough to qualify for the final, as was Courtney Okolo’s 52.31, the fifth best. Justin Robinson impressed in the men’s 400 semifinal. His time of 45.38 was third best among the 17 competitors. Wilbert London III also earned a spot in the final with his time of 45.78.