Everything was on the line for the equestrian jumpers Wednesday (1 November) at the 2023 Pan American Games, and after two dangerously close rounds, Team USA took the lead from Brazil in the final minutes after three-time Olympic medallist Rodrigo Pessoa failed to clear a jump in the early stages of his final run.
With the gold, Team USA has secured its spot at the Paris 2024 Olympics alongside silver medalists Canada and fourth place finishers Mexico.
As Brazil already obtained their Olympic quota earlier this year by finishing in fourth ahead of Team USA at the Jumping Nations Cup Final, they were not in the running for the quota spot.Until the final runs of the day, it appeared as though Brazil’s Pedro Veniss, Marlon Zanotelli, Stephan de Freitas Barchas and Rodrigo Pessoa would come out on top to take their second-consecutive continental gold, but after an early mistake by veteran Pessoa, they dropped all the way to bronze medal position.
Team USA’s Karl Cook, Kent Farrington, Laura Kraut and McLain Ward came back blazing from a shaky qualification round where they finished in fifth place to win the continental title, after heating up the competition by trailing Brazil by just 0.5 going into the second half of the second round.
Canada’s Tiffany Foster, Mario Deslauriers, Amy Millar and Beth Underhill made clean runs in round two to set them up for a bronze medal finish, but landed on the podium with silver medals after Brazil’s consequential mistake.
Mexico has only ever medaled in equestrian at two Olympic Games, but Eugenio Garza Perez, Nicolas Pizarro, Federico Fernandez and Jose Antonio Eguia have just secured their country to opportunity to make it three.
As National Olympic Committees have the exclusive authority for the representation of their respective countries at the Olympic Games, athletes’ participation at the Paris Games depends on their NOC selecting them to represent their delegation at Paris 2024.