July 20, 2015 / 3:51 AM / 2 years ago

U.S., temperatures and ticket sales on Pan Am rise

Jul 19, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Laura Zeng of the United States celebrates winning the gold medal in the rhythmic gymnastics ball final during during the 2015 Pan Am Games at Toronto Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

TORONTO (Reuters) - The heat and the United States charge up the Pan American Games medal table both continued on Sunday, as officials celebrated a victory by surpassing the one million tickets sold mark.

The United States, who passed Canada on the medal table on Saturday, padded their lead by adding eight gold medals to push their total to 59 and 160 overall as the hosts settled into second on 54 gold and 142 overall medals.

Brazil are third followed by Colombia, who surged past Cuba and Mexico into fourth courtesy of three gold medals on the golf course.

Having spent the first week of the July 10-26 multi-sport fest leading the medal standings, Canada gave locals plenty of reason to open their wallets and come out and cheer.

The Americans, however, cashed in on Sunday striking triple gold at the canoeing venue and double gold in rhythmic gymnastics and equestrian eventing.

With temperatures again nudging into the mid-30s Celsius (95 Fahrenheit), Canada got the day off to a sizzling start with Evan Dunfee winning the men’s 20km race walk ahead of compatriot Inaki Gomez while Mexico’s Maria Gonzalez took the women’s title.

No athlete was hotter, however, than American Laura Zeng who added hoop and ball apparatus gold to her all-around rhythmic gymnastics crown.

The 15-year-old could add two more titles to her haul on Monday with the club and ribbon finals.

“I want to become the best world-class gymnast that I can become,” said Zeng, who won a bronze in the individual all-around at last year’s Youth Olympic Games.

”As much as I love getting the medals, I haven’t really been focusing on medals.

“It’s more about myself and showing what I can do.”

The high point of the day for Canada came on the trampoline where 2012 Olympic champion Rosie MacLennan successfully defended her Pan Am gold and Keegan Soehn won the men‘s.

Canada ended the day with a dramatic 10th inning 7-6 decision over the United States to defend their Pan Am baseball title.

Canada and the United States will also play for women’s basketball gold after contrasting semi-final wins.

Linnae Harper drained two clutch free throws with 7.7 seconds left to give the United States a 65-64 comeback win over Cuba while Canada demolished Brazil 91-63.

Colombia ruled at the golf course sweeping all three gold medals, Marcelo Rozo winning the men’s title, Mariajo Uribe the women’s and the team gold.

Argentina cruised to two golds on the final day of the sailing competition, while Guatemala, Ecuador and Puerto Rico also clinched titles.

Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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