Leanne Wong and Riley McCusker pose for a photo on the podium at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 on July 30, 2019 in Lima, Peru.
LIMA, Peru – Closing out a successful Pan American Games debut, Robert Neff earned the silver medal for both pommel horse and floor exercise, adding to his team silver collected earlier in the Games.
The Polideportivo Villa El Salvador venue was packed with lively spectators. Cutting through the screams and chants of the raucous crowd, Neff zoned in and scored the floor silver medal with a score of 14.166 and, as the first gymnast up on pommel horse, posted a 13.466.
The Stanford University graduate moved out to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in mid-June to join the men’s gymnastics residency program. For him, having those extra resources and being able to train at altitude prior to competing at sea level has made all the difference.
“Having a full focus on training, two practices a day, a great recovery center – all of those things have really helped pull everything together,” Neff said. “I always struggle with floor at altitude with breathing through the whole thing. Coming here, that wasn’t a problem. It was a nice change.”
For Neff, he plans on sending one medal back home and keeping the other two with him as a continued reminder to propel him forward.
On the women’s side, Riley McCusker and Leanne Wong shared the podium and garnered gold and silver in uneven bars.
“We’re a great team, and we’re so supportive of each other,” McCusker said. “To come in one-two in the bar finals is really a special feeling to be able to share with someone else from your country.”
At No. 6 in the rotation, Wong confidently executed her routine to surge past the five competitors ahead of her, posting a score of 14.300. After sticking her landing, a huge grin beamed on her face, and she was met with an embrace from her coach and roars from the crowd.
McCusker was up next.
Gliding seamlessly through the air, she concentrated on hitting her routine and dismounted with ease to post a 14.533. A soft smile surfaced as she felt pride in redeeming herself from the day before, scoring 13.150 on the uneven bars in the all-around.
Between the three gymnasts, they have claimed three golds and five silvers in Lima.
Artistic gymnastics competition concludes on Wednesday with the U.S. competing in three of the five events: men’s parallel bars, women’s balance beam and floor exercise. Cameron Bock, Brody Malone, McCusker and Kara Eaker will be competing.