Two championship performances in wrestling on Friday gave the United States 100 gold medals at the Pan American Games in Chile with two more days of competition ahead.
Ildar Hafizov beat Cuba’s Kevin de Armas 7-5 in the 60-kilogram (132-pound) Greco-Roman wrestling gold medal bout, while Kamal Bey defeated Brazil’s Joilson de Brito 12-5 in the 77-kilogram (170-pound) Greco-Roman final bout.
The U.S. took home 117 gold medals at the Pan American Games held in Lima, Peru four years ago. The U.S. sent 631 athletes to Chile, mostly up-and-coming competitors with little chance of qualifying for next year’s Paris Olympics.
“This feels great,” Hafizov said. “I am never satisfied, I made too many mistakes here, though. I want to go home and solve them so I can be ready for Olympic qualifying.”
The U.S. have won more than 230 total medals at the games, the largest multi-sport event in the Americas.
The few American stars that competed in Chile delivered.
Kyle Snyder, the 27-year-old wrestler from Maryland and former Olympic champion, won gold in Santiago.
Veteran shooter Vincent Hancock took his third Pan American Games title in skeet shooting. The 34-year-old from Port Charlotte, Florida, is also a three-time Olympic champion.
Gymnast Jordan Chiles led the women’s team to the all-round gold. The Tualatin, Oregon-born athlete was a silver medalist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Lee Kiefer, the reigning Olympic champion in women’s individual foil fencing from Lexington, Kentucky, won her third consecutive Pan American title.
Snyder, Hancock, Chiles and Kiefer are all among the favorites to reach the podium in Paris.
Many Team USA coaches believe the tally of gold medals from Lima is likely to be surpassed in the two final days of competition. Team sports, track and field, and wrestling are expected to bring more medals for the Americans.
Brazil, in second place in the medals table, have won 56 golds in Chile.