Pan Am gold rush continues for Canada

Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:18pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada swept the Pan American Games gold medals in both the men's and women's rugby sevens and mountain bike events on Sunday, to fight off a challenge from the mighty Americans at the top of the medal table.

The hosts have enjoyed a stunning start to the 16-day multi-sport extravaganza that began with a dazzling opening ceremony on Friday and has continued through the weekend with an unexpected gold rush.

Canada's women spotted the United States an early try then shifted into top gear to win 55-7 before turning over the stage to the men, who fought back to beat Argentina 22-19.

Emily Batty and Raphael Gagne gave another large crowd at the Hardwood mountain bike park something to cheer, riding away with both golds, while diver Jennifer Abel topped the podium in the women's three meter springboard.

Lynda Kiejko hit the mark in the women's 10m air pistol to bring Canada's gold medal haul to 10 and overall total to 24.

The United States have dominated the Pan Am medal table at every Games since 1955, winning over 2,000 more medals than any other country, but have not been able to push their northern neighbors out of top spot yet.

Chip Peterson in the 10km open water swim, Marti Malloy in the women's judo 57kg weight class, and the women's artistic gymnastics and dressage teams all collected wins to bring the U.S. gold total to seven and 19 overall, good for second place.

Colombia and Brazil both have 13 after two days of competition.   Continued...

Jul 11, 2015; Welland, Ontario, CAN; (left to right) Michelle Russell, Emilie Fournel, KC Fraser and Hannah Vaughan of Canada celebrate winning in the Women K4 500m Final during the 2015 Pan Am Games at Welland Pan Am Flatwater Centre.  Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports