(L-R) Jaleen Roberts, Deja Young, Erik Hightower and Noah Malone pose for a photo at the 2019 Parapan American Games on Aug. 27, 2019 in Lima, Peru.
LIMA, Peru – Highlighted by a podium sweep and a world record, Team USA closed the Parapan American Games Lima 2019 with its most successful day at Villa Deportiva Nacional Videna Athletics Stadium, winning 16 medals, including six golds, five silvers and five bronzes.
Top Highlights from Track and Field
Sweep streak – Team USA athletes swept the podium every night of track and field competition in Lima. The U.S. opened competition by winning gold, silver and bronze in the women’s 400-meter T54, followed by the men’s 200 T64, women’s 800 T54, women’s long jump T42-44/61-63 and the men’s 100 T64 on the final night.
Most decorated – Jaleen Roberts (Kent, Washington) capped her Parapan American debut in perfect form, winning all four of her events in Lima. She captured gold in the women’s 100m T37, 200m T37, long jump T36/37/38 and the 4x100m universal relay. The 20-year-old has been a star on the rise and leaves as the most decorated U.S. track and field athlete.
Universal relay – Team USA combined forces for the last event of the evening to win gold in the first-ever 4x100 universal relay at a major international competition. Noah Malone (Fishers, Indiana), Deja Young (Mesquite, Texas), Jaleen Roberts (Kent, Washington) and Erik Hightower (Glendale, Arizona) led the U.S. to a win over Brazil and Colombia in a time of 47.94, less than four-tenths-of-a-second off the world record of 47.57.
Team USA Results
16 medals (6 golds, 5 silvers, 5 bronzes)
Gold (6): Jessica Heims (Swisher, Iowa) – women’s discus F64 (34.40m); Kevan Hueftle (Eustis, Neb.) – men’s 100m T64 (11.45); Hannah Dederick (Liberty Lake, Wash.) – women’s 100m T54 (17.30); Isaiah Rigo (Cheney, Wash.) – men’s 1,500m T52 (4:25.65); Jaleen Roberts (Kent, Wash.) – women’s long jump T36/37/38 (4.68m); Noah Malone (Fishers, Ind.), Deja Young (Mesquite, Texas), Jaleen Roberts (Kent, Wash.), Erik Hightower (Glendale, Ariz.) – 4x100m universal relay (47.94)
Silver (5): Beatriz Hatz (Lakewood, Colo.) – women’s 100m T64 (13.71); Kelsey LeFevour (Chicago, Ill.) – women’s 100m T53 (17.81); Sebastiana Lopez Arellano (New Braunfels, Texas) – women’s javelin F54 (15.46); Noah Malone (Fishers, Ind.) – men’s 100m T12 (11.12); Jerome Singleton (Irmo, S.C.) – men’s 100m T64 (11.62);
Bronze (5): Sydney Barta (Arlington, Va.) – women’s discus F64 (34.40m); David Brown (St. Louis, Mo.) and guide Jerome Avery (Lemoore, Calif.) – men’s 100m T11 (11.39); Annie Carey (Boise, Idaho) – women’s 100m T64 (14.07); Catarina Guimaraes (Cranford, N.J.) – women’s long jump T36/37/38 (4.05m); Nick Rogers (Bingham, Maine) – men’s 100m T64 (11.63)
World record: Jessica Heims (Swisher, Iowa) – women’s discus F64 (34.40m)
David Brown and Jerome Avery
DB: “I went through a lot this meet and I’ve learned a lot. My coach said it the best, ‘we know where we’re at, we know what we have to do and we know what we have to take care of’, so it’s back to the drawing board. It was a great race and we have a lot of respect for Lucas Prado [of Brazil].”
JA: “That’s our first loss in the 100-meters since 2014, so I think we needed to get this out of the way to help build our hunger again. Brazil did extremely well today but we’re going to come back even hungrier now. It’s lit a fuel to our fire. We’re hungry, we’re ready to go and now we’re ready to get back to the training center in Chula Vista and get this going.”
“It is very overwhelming. I’m just a farm kid from Nebraska. I didn’t have my best race but it was enough to win and I’m going home with gold. It’s pretty amazing. At 34, to still compete with these 20-year-olds, it’s overwhelming. I was an alcoholic four years ago, so to come from that to this, I don’t know what else I could do. If anyone ever has doubts about their dreams, there’s no doubt because all it takes is hard work and dedication and a little bit of luck.”
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I just wanted to come in and execute and just see where that put me. I thought I did an okay job executing. The competitor from Brazil just really had a good race.”
“The last Parapan Games were in 2015 and that was right around when I got diagnosed [with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy] so it all comes full circle in a crazy way.”
“It felt good coming to an international meet and getting four gold medals. It’s an awesome feeling with different people around the world and getting to experience a new place. Lima has been an amazing host and it’s a really good indicator of what the Paralympic Games will be like in Tokyo next year.”
4x100m Universal Relay
Erik Hightower: “It’s amazing. I knew we had a good shot; we just had to go out there and do what we do best. I knew it was very close coming into my tag. I felt the pressure but I just went as fast as I could.”
What To Watch
Team USA won 67 medals (26 golds, 26 silvers, 15 bronzes) overall in track and field competition to finish second in the medal count to Brazil. Jaleen Roberts (Kent, Washington) led the way for Team USA as the most decorated U.S. track and field athlete, winning four gold medals and sweeping her events. Deja Young (Mesquite, Texas), Erik Hightower (Glendale, Arizona), Isiah Rigo (Cheney, Washington) and Hannah Dederick (Liberty Lake, Washington) followed closely with three medals each. The U.S. also swept the podium each night in Lima on the track and in the field and set six world records. Team USA athletes won 14 more medals than at the last edition of the Parapan American Games in Toronto.
Coverage of the 2019 U.S. Parapan American Team can be found at TeamUSA.org/Parapan2019. Visit TeamUSA.org/USADaily to sign up to receive the USA Daily, a digital news blast that provides Team USA results and highlights each night via email during the Games. Livestream of the Parapan American Games Lima 2019 is also available on TeamUSA.org/Live.