From Nanjing to Toronto: YOG stars on the rise
Kanye West, Pitbull and Serena Ryder may have headlined the star-studded Closing Ceremony at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games last night, but there were several other stars on the rise! 19 “YOGgie” medallists from last summer’s Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing competed at this prestigious event, making their serious mark on the senior international stage.
Of these 19 athletes, 13 of them won at least one medal, and, in total, 23 medals were won by Nanjing 2014 medallists in Toronto, further demonstrating that the Youth Olympics is a great preparation for top-level competitions such as the Pan American Games.
From among all these impressive results, three stories stand out in particular. The first is rhythmic gymnast Laura Zeng from the USA. In Nanjing, she won a bronze medal in the individual all-around competition. Almost one year later in Toronto, her performance was simply astounding: she won all the events she participated in, managing a perfect five-for-five! She took home the gold in individual all around, followed by victories in all four of the rhythmic gymnastics single events (hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon), adding in total five gold medals to team USA’s impressive haul. At just 15, she has a bright future in the sport, with her sights next set on Rio 2016.
Laura Zeng - ©Getty Images
Next up is Philippe Gagné. The 17-year-old diver from Montreal was able to win three medals in front of the home crowd,. taking bronze in the men’s 3m springboard, and two silvers in the synchronised diving - the 3m springboard and the 10m platform. This obviously pleased the Canadian fans, delighted to watch these amazing performances.
Phillipe Gagné - ©Getty Images
Finally there is 19-year-old Brazilian table tennis player Hugo Calderano, who created quite a storm.. He first won an impressive gold in the team competition, where his Brazilian team did not lose a single match in the tournament. In the singles event, he was able to win every single match and in doing so achieved the greatest result of his young career: gold medal of the tournament. As the icing on the cake, this singles event win qualified him for Rio 2016, where he will be able to represent his country in front of the home crowd. Nice work, Hugo!
Hugo Calderano - ©ITTF
A huge congratulations goes to all the Nanjing 2014 athletes who took part in the Pan American Games. It is great to see those young women and men giving their best and following their dreams. Here is the full list of these athletes.