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US competes in 2023 Parapan American Games

On Nov. 17–26, the United States competed in the 2023 Parapan American Games, held in Santiago, Chile. In the games, Brazil emerged victorious for the fourth straight year, winning an impressive 343 medals with 156 gold, 98 silver and 89 bronze. Team USA finished second in medals with 166 with 55 gold medals, 58 silver and 53 bronze. Columbia finished in third with 161 medals, 50 gold, 58 silver, and 53 bronze.

The games started with table tennis, in which Brazil won four gold for women in both doubles and singles. Team USA also put up a strong showing, winning three golds in men’s table tennis in singles classes three, six and nine. 2020 Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Jenson Van Embourgh won gold in class three, improving from his silver in 2019 as he looks to win gold in Paris.

In Para-Archery, Kevin Polish won gold for the United States in the Men’s Individual Compound Open. In the Women’s Individual W1, Tracy Otto, after being left paralyzed and losing her left eye after being attacked by her ex back in 2019, won gold, securing her spot in the Olympics.

In women’s wheelchair basketball, Team USA won gold, defeating Team Canada 62-56, and, for the first time since 2015, clinching their spot in the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games and will strive to win their first gold medal since 2016 at the Olympics. Lindsey Zurbrugg led the team in scoring with 17 points and six assists.

Team USA won gold in men’s wheelchair basketball as well, defeating the host country Columbia comfortably 81-45 thanks to Jacob Williams, who scored 24 points and seven assists, and Steven Serio, who scored 23 points with nine assists. The team will look to win their third consecutive gold medal this summer.

The U.S. finished first in Para-Cycling Road, winning 15 medals, five gold, six silver and four bronze. One of the gold medalist cyclists was Alfredo de los Santos, an army veteran who suffered a traumatic brain injury and lost his right leg above the knee in Afghanistan in 2009. He won Bronze back in the 2020 Olympics in the mixed team relay. In Para-cycling – Track, Hannah Chadwick-Diaz, who is originally from China, was adopted at birth and is blind, won gold in both the 1000 meter and the 3000 meter. 

Team USA also won gold in mixed team Wheelchair Rugby, defeating Canada 57-51, led by Chuck Aoki and Sarah Adam, the only female on the team, who combined for 45 tries alone. Adam also made history by becoming the first-ever female to win gold in the games. The team will look to win their first gold medal at the Olympics since 2008 after placing third in London and second in both Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.

In Shooting Para, the team won three gold medals, one in men’s and one in mixed. Marco De La Rosa won gold in the 10m Air Pistol SH1 going shot for shot with Cuban Angelo Di Loriga, with De La Rosa narrowly winning with a score of 227.6 to 226.7. YanXiao Gong had a major hand in all medals won in shooting by Team USA, winning gold in the mixed, breaking the record for most shots with 26 while taking home bronze in both the team event and the 10m Air Pistol SH1 event.

The 2024 Summer Paralympics will take place this summer from Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, following the conclusion of the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

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