Winner of 16 of the past 18 editions, the United States will defend its dominance of the Pan American Games in Santiago 2023 with a team missing its biggest stars but featuring 32 Olympic medalists, including gymnast Jordan Chiles and swimmer Brooks Curry.
Team USA has only relinquished the crown at the inaugural 1951 Buenos Aires Games and 1991 Havana edition. At the last event in Lima, four years ago, they clearly dominated by garnering 293 medals (122 gold) to 168 (54) for Brazil, their main pursuer.
In Games history, the North American superpower has more than double the total medals (4,732) than the second place nation, Cuba (2,130).
For various reasons, the US will not be able to deploy its full might in Santiago due to the absence of superstars like Simone Biles, Noah Lyles and Sha’Carri Richardson, who have either just competed at other world events or are already preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Even so, the American squad has the firm goal of remaining the continent’s great multisport benchmark. To do so, they will arrive in Santiago 2023, held October 20 to November 5, with 631 athletes (318 women and 313 men).
“It’s an opportunity for all competitors to make their dreams come true of representing their country at a top-tier sporting event,” said US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) director Sarah Hirshland, in a statement.
“These Games not only unite our region to celebrate sport, but also provide a vital pathway for many athletes to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games,” recalled Hirshland.
32 Olympic Medalists
In the Chilean capital, the US team will count on 93 athletes with Olympic experience, 32 of whom have won medals.
Thirteen of them took gold at the recent Tokyo 2020 Games, including Vincent Hancock (shooting) and Lee Kiefer (fencing), champions in their disciplines.
Brooks Curry, who also won gold in the 4x100m relay, will lead a talented men’s swimming team that also features another Olympic medalist, Jay Litherland.
The women’s team, without its emblem of the last decade Katie Ledecky, will also try to shine in Santiago’s pools with gems like Erica Sullivan, Tokyo 2020 silver in the 1500m.
In gymnastics, Team USA will be led by Jordan Chiles, training partner and best friend of Simone Biles, looking to expand a résumé already boasting 2022 Worlds gold, two silvers from that event and another from Tokyo 2020.
Over the 17 days of Santiago competition, the Americans will participate in 43 disciplines, the full program except for baseball, volleyball and basketball.
In 3×3 basketball, the US will send teams to defend the two Lima 2019 golds. Jimmer Fredette, a fearsome shooter with six years of NBA experience, drafted in the 2011 top 10, will lead the men’s squad, while 2021 WNBA champion Azura Stevens heads the women’s side.
The delegation, with 94 Lima 2019 medalists returning, has 15-year-old skater Paige Heyn as its youngest member, while equestrian Laura Kraut at 57 is the most veteran.
In total, US athletes across nine sports will seek direct qualification to Paris 2024: boxing, gymnastics, sport climbing, field hockey, modern pentathlon, breaking, artistic swimming, handball and water polo.