Sports Editorial (USA), Dec 9 (EFE).- The ‘Olympism’ of the Americas presented this Saturday in Miami (Florida, USA) the awards to the best athletes on the continent after the Pan American and Parapan American Games of Santiago 2023 held in Chile.
Mexican diver Osmar Olvera, double gold in springboard at Santiago 2023 and world runner-up, was named Best Male Athlete, while Chinese-born Canadian swimmer Maggie Mac Neil was chosen Best Female Athlete.
“I want to thank everyone around me. The sport lives in me,” said Mac Neil.
Panam Sports held its second awards gala at the JW Marriott Turnberry Aventura in Miami with presenters Juan Miguel Villaverde and Soledad Solaro.
The president of Panam Sports, Neven Ilic, highlighted “the great achievements, great athletes and especially each of the coaches” who inspired them.
The award for Best Coach went to Bienvenido Front, coach of the Chilean rowing team who won 10 medals in Santiago, three of them gold.
Front highlighted the figure of the coach: “It is a somewhat thankless job.”
The Change Generator award, dedicated to athletes who have left their mark in sports and society, went to the Dominican runner Marileidy Paulino, creator of the Creating Eternal Smiles foundation dedicated to low-income children.
“With me, they have hope,” he said.
On the other hand, the distinction for the National Olympic Committee with the Most Progress went to Chile, with 79 medals in the last Pan American Games. The president of the Chilean Olympic Committee, Miguel Angel Mugica, and the beach volleyball player cousins Marco and Esteban Grimalt collected the award.
“This is work from a long time ago,” said Mugica.
The award for the Best Olympic Committee with the Most Progress with less than a million inhabitants was decided for Aruba, with two silver medals and one bronze, and the president of its Olympic Committee, Wanda Broeksema, expressed the happiness of the entire Caribbean country for recognition.
The presenters of the gala highlighted that 121 athletes from 19 countries qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in the Pan American Games.
The award for Best Women’s Team was awarded to the Mexican soccer team.
The captain of the team, María Sánchez, assured when collecting this recognition that their successes are “a team effort” and that they are going to Paris “for the gold.”
The president of the Colombian Olympic Committee, Ciro Solano, and the Colombian sports minister, Astrid Rodríguez, received the distinction for the Best Men’s Team that was awarded to the Colombian baseball team that won the gold medal at the Pan American Games for the first time. .
The award for Best Parathlete of Santiago 2023 went to Brazilian Douglas Rocha, the Parapan American king who won eight gold medals in Santiago.
“Life is always a challenge but it is always worth it,” he encouraged.
With five gold medals, Colombian Karen Palomeque was chosen as the Best Parathlete.
The Legado Cali 2021 female award went to the Brazilian rhythmic gymnast, who won two golds, Maria Eduarda Alexandre.
The Cali 2021 Men’s Legacy recognition went to the Chilean discus thrower Lucas Nervi, who expressed that these types of awards will “never” stop exciting him.
With 286 medals in the last Santiago Games, the award for Best Performance Olympic Committee went to the United States.
In addition, the Panam Sports Legend award went to Cuban jumper Javier Sotomayor, who, with his world record of 2.45 meters, could jump over soccer crossbars.
“I feel like a lucky man, a happy man,” he said.
The Fair Play award was awarded to Colombian judoka Erika Lasso for assisting her injured rival; and the award for Outstanding Participation went to the Brazilian artistic gymnast Rebeca Andrade, who shared that she felt very grateful for those around her.