Pan Am Games

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Pan Am organizers confirm doping sanction against Olympic judo champion Rafaela Silva

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Brazil’s Rafaela Silva, a judo gold medalist in the 2016 Olympics, is one of three athletes or teams to be stripped of her medal in this summer’s Pan Am Games after a positive drug test, the organizing body announced Wednesday.

Silva’s story of emerging from a violent Rio de Janeiro neighborhood to win gold in her home city made her a celebrity in Brazil and elsewhere. She won the Association of National Olympic Committees Award for Most Inspirational Performance and had a prominent role in bringing the Paralympic torch to Rio.

After winning gold at the Pan Am Games, Silva took bronze at the world championships last month.

Silva addressed her positive test last week, saying the result may have come about through her contact with a baby who uses asthma medication.

READ: Silva claims innocence after positive test

The other medal-winners flagged on doping tests are Puerto Rico’s Jean Francisco Perez Faure, a bowler who won gold in men’s doubles bowling, and Brazil’s Kacio Fonseca da Silva, who had taken bronze in the track cycling men’s team sprint.

Perez’s offense had been previously announced. The American duo of Jakob Butturff and Nick Pate was elevated to gold.

Panam Sports reported 15 Adverse Analytical Findings from more than 2,000 tests tied to the competition in Lima, Peru. Eight cases with unidentified athletes are continuing, some awaiting hearings and some awaiting test results from their B samples.

One of the seven athletes named in Wednesday’s release has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but Panam Sports did not give the athlete’s name, and CAS has not listed a related hearing on its site.

Two players from the Dominican Republic’s baseball team were on the list of positive tests, but the team’s results were not removed because the Pan Am Games’ rules specify that a team will not lose its place unless more than two athletes are sanctioned. The Dominican Republic did not medal.

The other athletes listed, a men’s handball player from Peru and a women’s basketball player from Colombia, also didn’t affect the final results.

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U.S. wraps Pan Am Games with 293 medals, 18 Olympic quota spots

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The Pan American Games, bringing together athletes from North America, South America and the Caribbean, are an interesting grab bag of events: Olympic sports bringing in the top-ranked athletes in the hemisphere, Olympic sports that are much lower on the priority list for world-class competitors, and non-Olympic sports such as racquetball, water skiing and basque pelota.

The program fluctuates a bit, and this year’s competition in Lima, Peru, featured a staggering 419 events, up from the 364 events contested in Toronto four years ago and far more than the 339 events on the Tokyo 2020 schedule.

One thing that doesn’t change in the Pan Am Games is the U.S. dominance in the medal count. The final tally this year: 120 gold medals, 88 silver and 85 bronze. The next-best country, Brazil, earned 55 gold medals, 45 silver and 71 bronze for a total of 171, lagging far behind the U.S. total of 293. Canada (152 total) and Mexico (136) took the next two spots on the medal table.

For some sports, the competition was vitally important. Modern pentathletes Samantha Achterberg and Amro Elgeziry earned spots on the 2020 Olympic team with their performances. Elgeziry took a silver medal in the 2014 world championships while competing for Egypt, then moved to the United States after marrying U.S. pentathlete Isabella Isaksen. Elgeziry and Isaksen also combined for gold in the mixed relay.

READ: Elgeziry, three-time Egyptian Olympian, qualifies for 2020 U.S. team

Some events offered Olympic quota spots, ensuring a place for at least one U.S. athlete in the event in 2020. U.S. shooters nailed down seven spots. Other U.S. athletes earned spots in archery, equestrian, sailing, shooting and water polo.

In other sports, with less at stake, the U.S. didn’t send its top athletes. One exception: Swimmer Nathan Adrian followed up his world championship relay medals with six medals in Lima, matching the total of fellow world championship medalist Margo Geer.

Most top gymnasts were competing in the U.S. Championships, and yet the U.S. women took the team gold medal and Riley McCusker finished with four medals.

The U.S. sent substantially weakened teams in several sports and posted several results that would be shockers in the Olympics. The men’s and women’s volleyball teams failed to medal. In men’s basketball, a U.S. team composed entirely of current and recent Big East players fell to Argentina by a stunning score of 114-75 in the semifinals, then rebounded to take bronze. The U.S. women, virtually unbeatable with WNBA players in the World Cup and Olympics, lost to Brazil in the final.

On the other hand, the U.S. swept the gold medals in the new Olympic sport of 3×3 basketball and took medals in several sports in which teams would rarely be competitive in the Olympics such as artistic swimming (formerly known as synchronized swimming) and men’s field hockey. The women’s handball team narrowly missed the podium, losing 24-23 to Cuba in the bronze medal game.

U.S. bowlers Jakob Butturff and Nick Pate took the doubles bowling gold in unusual circumstances after Puerto Rico’s Jean Perez Faure tested positive for a masking agent. Butturff has won seven PBA events.

The Parapan American Games, for athletes with disabilities, start Aug. 23.

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Kick save in crazy Pan American Games volleyball rally (video)

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Canada’s 25-18, 25-19, 25-18 win over Mexico in Pan American Games men’s volleyball group play may look routine by the score, but one point was anything but.

Check out Canada’s Steve Marshall‘s saving touch, a kick save along an advertising board nearly totally out of play.