Andrea Vargas surprised the field Thursday by winning the 100m women’s hurdles at the 2019 Pan American Games, earning Costa Rica’s first gold medal at the events held in Peru.
Vargas finished in a time of 12.82 seconds on the track at Atlético de la Videna Stadium in the heart of Lima.
The silver medal went to United States athlete Chanel Brissett (12.99 seconds) and the bronze medal to Jamaica’s Megan Simmonds (13.01 seconds).
President Carlos Alvarado called Vargas after the result and tweeted a message of support.
“What a thrill, Andrea, qué bárbara!” he wrote. “Thank you for this joy!”
— Carlos Alvarado Quesada (@CarlosAlvQ) August 8, 2019
The result marks Costa Rica’s third medal at the 2019 games. Nishy Lee Lindo earned bronze in the taekwondo women’s under-57 kg class, and the duo of Felipe Camacho and Andrés Acuña took home the bronze in racquetball.
Costa Rica has participated in every iteration of the Pan American Games, which were first held in 1951. Tico athletes have now earned a total of 23 medals: six gold, six silver and 11 bronze.
The country’s most successful year was 1987, when Costa Rica collected 11 medals, including three gold.
To reach the final, Vargas broke a national record and qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo with Wednesday’s semifinal-best time of 12.75 seconds.
Watch Vargas sing Costa Rica’s national anthem, “Noble patria, tu hermosa bandera,” as she stands atop the podium: