Canada 1 gold away from tying national record of 47 for non-home Pan Am Games
Winning the first Pan American Games gold medal awarded in men's breaking meant a lot to Philip Kim, but the Olympic berth he also gained meant even more.
The 26-year-old from Vancouver, known as B-boy Phil Wizard in breakdancing circles, defeated Jeff (B-boy Jeffro) Louis of the United States 3-0 in Saturday's final men's battle.
"Honestly, the Olympic place means more to me. I want to be there. I want to be part of history," Kim said. "I'm relieved more than anything.
"In the last year I can say it's been a roller-coaster ride, but I've grown so much as a person as well as an artist and an athlete because of the process we've had to go through. It's pushed me in ways that I've never been pushed before and I'm very grateful for that."
WATCH l Kim wins inaugural men's breaking competition at Pan Am Games:
GOLD MEDAL AND QUALIFIED: Canada's Philip Kim onto Paris Olympics with Pan Am breaking gold medal
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Featured VideoThe Vancouver native – known as "B-boy Philip Wizard" – defeated Jeff Louis 3-0 in the men's b-boys final in the discipline's first appearance at the Pan American Games.
Breaking made its Pan Am Games debut in Santiago, Chile. The sport will also be an Olympic event for the first time in Paris next year, but isn't on the program for Los Angeles in 2028.
Kim won the 2022 men's world breaking championship. He placed second this year when he was beaten in the final battle by Victor Montalvo of the U.S. for both the world title and Olympic qualification.
Kim said he just needed to make Saturday's final in Santiago to get a Paris berth because two U.S. men couldn't get direct Olympic quotas in breaking.
"Going into the final, I'd already secured my spot, but it honestly gave me more of a push because it would have been bittersweet to secure my spot to Paris and then lose the battle," Kim said.
Dressed in white with a red tuque on his head, Kim earned a score of 8-1 from the judges on his first throw down and scored 6-3, 6-3 in the next two against Louis on Saturday.
Kim won all six of his battles in Santiago.
He injured his neck warming up for Friday's preliminary round and said he barely slept the night before Saturday's elimination battles.
Toronto's Tiffany (B-girl Tiff) Leung lost her bronze-medal battle 3-0 to American Vicki (B-girl La Vix) Chang.
Katzberg wins hammer throw gold
Ethan Katzberg added to Canada's medal haul with gold in the men's hammer throw later on Saturday.
The 21-year-old from Nanaimo, B.C., set a Pan Am Games record with a throw of 80.96 metres to emerge as champion. Americans Daniel Haugh (77.62) and Rudy Winkler (76.65) earned silver and bronze, respectively.
GOLD MEDAL: B.C.'s Ethan Katzberg sets Pan Am record in men's hammer throw gold medal victory
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Featured VideoThe Nanaimo, B.C. native's fifth attempt of 80.96m set a Pan American Games record and earned him a gold medal.
The gold only adds to Katzberg's breakout 2023 campaign. He won the world title in Budapest, Hungary, in August, to become the first Canadian man to reach the podium in the event at a world championship.
"I came in and just wanted to have a good first throw. Going over 80 metres on my first throw was a good confidence booster and continuing to do that was very exciting for me," Katzberg said Saturday. "Santiago was an amazing competition. The people here love their track and field. They were supporting everyone and that made it really special."
His Canadian record of 81.25 metres was good to defeat reigning Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki of Poland at the world championship. Katzberg also won the national title in July in Langley, B.C.
Also in athletics, Canada's Jean-Simon Desgagnés earned gold Saturday in the men's 3,000 metres steeplechase with a time of eight minutes 30.14 seconds.
The 25-year-old from Saint-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., outdid American Daniel Michalski (8:36.47) and Colombia's Carlos San Martin (8:41.59), who earned silver and bronze, respectively.
"The crowd loves track and field. It's insane to compete in front of these people. I'm happy with my win. Going away with a medal in my first multi-sport Games is incredible," Desgagnes said. "I had some technical difficulties in the last 100 metres, but I pulled myself back up and getting away with a gold medal is perfect."
Canada now has 46 gold medals at these Games, just one away from tying the national record for a non-home Pan Am Games, set in 1995 in Argentina. The Canadian record for any Pan Ams is 78 golds, set in 2015 in Toronto.
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Canadian paddlers carried Friday's success into the penultimate day of competition.
Canoeists Katie Vincent of Mississauga, Ont., and Sloan MacKenzie of Windsor Junction, N.S., led the way with a gold medal in the C2 500-metre sprint, reaching the finish in one minute 54.26 seconds to defeat the Chilean duo of María Mailliard and Paula Gómez by 17-100ths of a second.
The Canadians had previously secured an Olympic spot for next summer in Paris with a bronze-medal performance in August in the C2 500 at the sprint canoe world championships in Duisburg, Germany.
The 27-year-old Vincent, from Mississauga, Ont., earned bronze in her 2021 Summer Games debut with Laurence Vincent-Lapointe in the C2 500 in Tokyo.
Earlier this year, Vincent was off the water for over four weeks after breaking two bones in her arm in a cycling accident a little more than three months from worlds.
In Duisburg, she also successfully defended her world title in the mixed C2 500 race with Connor Fitzpatrick of Dartmouth, N.S., who began Saturday's medal haul in Chile posting a time of 3:55.13 for C1 1,000m bronze.
The C2 race involves two-person canoes, with paddlers in a kneeling position using single paddles, while Fitzpatrick held a single paddle.
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Featured VideoThe duo of Katie Vincent and Sloan MacKenzie finished with a time of 1:54.26 to win the gold medal in the women's C2 500m at the Pan American Games.
Less than 1 second shy of K2 500 gold
José Román Pelier of Cuba won the race in 3:48.69, followed by Brazil's Isaquias Queiroz (3:54.05).
Courtney Stott of Pickering, Ont., followed with K2 500 bronze with Ottawa's Madeline Schmidt, stopping the clock in 1:42.84 behind Mexico (1:41.98) and Argentina (1:42.45).
The K2 event features two paddlers seated in tandem using double-bladed paddles to perform cyclical repetitions of a forward stroke in phase.
Canada's Nick Matveev, Pierre-Luc Poulin, Laurent Lavigne and Simon McTavish wrapped up the day's competition grabbing silver in K4 500 1:21.28, 48-100ths in arrears of Argentina. The U.S. (1:23.10) finished in bronze position.
The Canadian squad entered afternoon action ranked third in overall medals with 146 and fourth with 42 gold among 34 participating countries from the Americas and Caribbean.
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Canada 0-for-2 in Olympic water polo qualifying
Canada will have to wait until February for a third and final chance to qualify a women's water polo team for Paris.
The U.S. secured a berth with its sixth consecutive Pan Am Games gold medal, beating the Canadians 20-11.
"Our team showed that we have a lot of fire, a lot of heart," Canada captain Emma Wright said. "We had some unfortunate situations with people being out [of the lineup] but I'm proud how all of the girls fought hard until the end of the game."
Five other countries have qualified for the Olympic tournament: the Netherlands, Spain (1-2 at worlds), Australia (Oceania regional champion) and China (Asia) while France qualified as host. Still to be determined are champions in Europe (January) and Africa (February), plus the two highest-ranked teams from the world tourney in February in Doha, Qatar.
Wright noted the growth of the team at Pan Am Games will be important when it tries to gain an Olympic berth at the Feb. 2-18 World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar.
"We have a lot of small things to work on," Wright said, "but I'm confident in our team and I think we'll be able to [pull it off]."
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Added Canadian head coach David Paradelo: "We played the team that's the most organized on offence and it showed today. There are a lot of [technical areas] we have to clean up [in] our end that with better body position we could have avoided a lot of situations against. Things we can learn from."
The Canadians returned six players from their seventh-place effort at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo for the tourney in Chile.
They advanced to Saturday's final with a 21-4 semifinal rout of Brazil 21-4 the previous day.
Canada won gold in 1999 when the women's game made its Pan Am Games debut in Winnipeg. Since then, it has won the silver medal at each Games.
Drive Hayley McKelvey of North Delta, B.C., paced Saturday's attack with four goals. Toronto wing Verica Bakoc and 19-year-old centre back Serena Browne of Pointe-Claire, Que., added hat tricks while Montreal wing Axelle Crevier rounded out the scoring.
The Americans held quarter leads of 5-3, 10-7 and 16-9.
Paradelo noted his "fearless" squad started strong with a good attitude, mentality and communication.
In July, the Americans cruised to a 16-4 victory over Canada in the fifth-place bracket at worlds in Fukuoka, Japan, where they failed to finish on the podium at a major tournament in a decade.
Sailing gold for Lee Parkhill
Elsewhere, Keegan Soehn and Remi Aubin were silver medallists in synchronized men's trampoline.
The men's fencing squad of Francois Cauchon, Shaul Gordon and Fares Arfa captured team sabre gold with a victory over the U.S.
In sailing, Lee Parkhill of Oakville, Ont., won gold in laser ahead of Jean Paul de Trazegnies of Peru and Chilean Diego González Parro.
Olympic-bound sailor Sarah Douglas of Toronto picked up silver in the women's one-person dinghy category ILCA 6. Erika Reineke of the U.S. won gold and Argentina's Luciana Cardozo was awarded bronze.
Douglas, 29, qualified Canada an Olympic spot in the event on Aug. 19 at the world championships in The Hague, Netherlands.
She was sixth in her 2021 Olympic debut, the best individual performance at a Summer Games by a Canadian woman in the sport.
With files from CBC Sports
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