© Ricardo Bufolin
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (July 15, 2022) – US gymnasts collected 14 individual medals Friday, as senior Pan American Championships competition got under way at Rio de Janeiro’s Parque Olimpico – Arena Carioca 01. The American men and women are through to Sunday’s team finals, and their performances also secured team spots in both divisions for the upcoming World Championships set to take place this fall in Liverpool, England.
Yul Moldauer (Wellington, Colo./5280 Gymnastics) led US athletes with four medals, including silver in the all-around. His 81.767 was outpaced only by the event’s reigning all-around champion, Caio Campos Souza of Brazil, who delivered an 83.033 to claim back-to-back titles. On the women’s side, Lexi Zeiss (Omaha, Neb./Twin City Twisters), in her international debut, also captured all-around silver. Zeiss, the top US finisher, posted a combined 54.199. Skye Blakely (Frisco, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics) notched bronze with a 52.933. Brazil’s Flavia Lopes Saraiva led the way with a 55.399.
Seven US team members added individual apparatus hardware. Moldauer, a 2020 Olympian, was golden on floor exercise (14.367), pommel horse (13,200) and parallel bars (14,900), while Tokyo Games teammate Brody Malone, who took home bronze on horizontal bar at last year’s World Championships, topped the podium on his signature event with a 14.200. Current women’s World all-around bronze medalist Kayla DiCello (Boyds, Md./Hill’s Gymnastics) struck gold on floor in her first competitive appearance of 2022.
Blakely (13.267) picked up a second bronze medal on floor exercise, and Zeiss added bronze on balance beam with a 13,400. Zoe Miller (Spring, Texas/World Champions Center) was the runner up on uneven bars (14.133) behind Olympic all-around silver medalist Rebeca Andrade of Brazil (14.967). Panama’s Karla Andrea Navas Boyd set the bar on women’s vault with a 13.333, and Lopes Saraiva topped the balance beam field with a 14.433.
Riley Loos (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) pocketed silver on men’s floor exercise (14.167) and bronze on still rings (13.900), while his Stanford teammate Colt Walker (Cedar Park, Texas) finished in second place behind Moldauer on parallel bars ( 14,500). Malone garnered the third-highest parallel bars score of the day (14.367) but was not eligible for the bronze medal due to the two-athlete-per-country limit. Brazil’s Arthur Nabarrete Zanetti clinched the men’s still rings title with a 14.467, and Campos Souza was the vault champion with a 14.833.
The US men qualified to Sunday’s team final in the top spot with a 250.035, just ahead of second-place Brazil (244.201). Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico also advanced. The Brazilian team edged the US women in qualifications 161.967-160.466. Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Jamaica and Mexico will round out Sunday’s women’s field.
The 2022 Pan American Championships continue Saturday with two sessions of junior apparatus finals, beginning at 9 am and 4:10 pm ET. The US advanced the maximum allowable two gymnasts to each event final during qualifications Thursday. The competition will conclude Sunday with the senior women’s team final at 9 am ET followed by senior men at 3 pm ET.