Sporting Icons Crowned At Inaugural Panam Sports Awards
Fort Lauderdale, USA (December 13, 2019) — After months of anticipation and friendly rivalry, the first ever winners of the Panam Sports Awards are now known.
The best athletes from across the Americas arrived in Fort Lauderdale dressed to impress, as more than 70 athletes from the 41 nations of the Panam Sports family walked the red carpet at an evening rivaling those seen in Hollywood.
Produced by Univision-TUDN and live-streamed throughout the globe by the Panam Sports Channel, ESPN Play, Claro TV and R7 of Brazil, the athletes were treated to the full gala experience.
After a month-long public competition that sparked fierce rivalries between some of the greatest athletes of the Americas, sport fans from across the continent voted for their favorite athletes and favorite moments of the Games. Without further ado, we present the inaugural recipients of the Panam Sports Awards.
BEST MALE ATHLETE
FRANCISCO BARRETTO - BRAZIL - ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
Lima 2019: 3 Golds: Pommel Horse, Horizontal Bar, Team
Already a gold and silver medalist in the Team Event from Guadalajara 2011 and Toronto 2015, Francisco Barretto arrived in the Peruvian capital with dreams of individual greatness. And these dreams came true, as Francisco topped the podium in both the Pommel Horse and Horizontal Bar events. These two gold medals also helped propel Time Brasil to another gold medal in the Team event, giving Francisco Barretto three gold medals and tying him as the most decorated male athlete from Lima 2019. In recognition of these impressive feats, Francisco Barretto is honored as the Best Male Athlete at the Panam Sports Awards.
BEST FEMALE ATHLETE
SHELLY-ANN FRASER-PRYCE - JAMAICA - ATHLETICS
Lima 2019: Gold: 200m & New Pan American Record (22.43 sec)
Consistently one of the fastest women in the world for over a decade, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is the model of excellence and perseverance in Athletics. The Jamaican superstar and two-time Olympic Champion competed at her first Pan American Games at Lima 2019, showing off her world-class speed by setting a new Pan American Record of 22.43 seconds in the 200m. The blazing fast time broke the record that had survived for 40 years. In recognition of her incredible achievements, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is honored as the Best Female Athlete at the Panam Sports Awards.
BEST MEN’S TEAM
Lima 2019: Gold
When an Olympic and NBA legend is on your team, you’ve always got a shot. Captaining Argentina’s Basketball team at his first ever Pan Am Games, Luis Scola proved to the world that Argentina’s Golden Generation is still a force to be reckoned with. From the very first game, Scola and his experienced Argentinean teammates such as Facunda Campuzzo and Gabriel Deck outmatched their competition on their way to a 4-1 record and a gold medal. In recognition of their success, Argentina’s Men’s Basketball team is honored as the Best Men’s Team at the Panam Sports Awards.
BEST WOMEN’S TEAM
Lima 2019: Gold
Excellence has often been synonymous with the Las Leonas Hockey team from Argentina, and this reputation held true at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. After earning silver medals at each of the last two Pan Am Games, the Argentina women’s hockey team came back with a vengeance to go undefeated in six games to reclaim the gold medal. Lead by captain Julieta Jankunas, the dominance was truly spectacular as Argentina only allowed three total goals in six games while scoring a total of 47. In recognition of this unprecedented performance, Argentina’s Women’s Hockey team is honored as the Best Women’s Team at the Panam Sports Awards.
NEXTGEN MALE (U-20)
PATRICIO FONT - MEXICO - WATERSKI
Lima 2019: Gold: Tricks
At just 17-years old, Patricio Font is already changing the sport of Waterskiing. The young star from Mexico consistently put together great runs on his way to earning the gold medal in the Tricks discipline. His victory made him the youngest gold medalist in Mexico’s history at the Pan Am Games. In recognition of this outstanding achievement and his bright future, Patricio Font is honored as the NextGen Male at the Panam Sports Awards.
NEXTGEN FEMALE (U-20)
EVITA GRISKENAS - USA - RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS
Lima 2019: 4 Gold: 1 Bronze: All-Around, Ball, Hoop, Ribbon, Clubs
At just 18-years old, Evita Griskenas has proved she belongs on the world stage of gymnastics. The talented Rhythmic Gymnastics star repeatedly impressed the crowd at Lima 2019, dominating her competition on the way to winning four gold medals and one bronze, the most by any athlete at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. In recognition of these outstanding achievements and her bright future, Evita Griskenas is honored as the NextGen Female at the Panam Sports Awards.
PANAM SPORTS VALUES
JULIO CASTILLO - ECUADOR - BOXING 91 KG
Lima 2019: Silver
Julio Castillo gave his all in the boxing ring at Lima 2019, fighting hard to bring a medal back home to his beloved Ecuador. Although Julio lost in the gold medal bout, he showed the Americas the value of sportsmanship and showing grace in defeat. Many at the Miguel Grau Coliseum believed Castillo had defeated his Cuban opponent and booed loudly in disapproval of the judges. However, Castillo made sure the crowd respected the decision and cheered for Cuba’s Erislandy Savon who won the gold medal. In recognition of this incredible display of Excellence, Innovation, Integrity, Solidarity and Inclusion, Julio Castillo is honored with the Panam Sports Values Award at the Panam Sports Awards.
MARIANA PAJON - COLOMBIA - BMX
Lima 2019: Gold - BMX Race
Not only is Mariana Pajon a two-time Olympic gold medalist, six-time World Champion and two-time Pan American Games Champion, she is also committed to helping her community. Mariana founded “Pedaleando Por Un Sueño” in 2013, a non-profit entity with the intention of bringing alternatives and clear opportunities to the children and youth of Colombia to see sport as a real option in their lives. For her incredible athletic and humanitarian efforts, Mariana Pajon is honored as the Changemaker at the Panam Sports Awards.
DEYSIANA MENA - COSTA RICA - ATHLETICS
Lima 2019: Gold: Race
Training an athlete to reach the top of the podium at the Pan American Games is one of the toughest challenges in sport, especially when it comes to Athletics. Although she had no previous training as a coach, Deysiana realized the potential that her daughters Andrea and Noelia Vargas had in Athletics. Her greatest achievement came at Lima 2019, when Andrea broke 13 seconds for the first time in the 100m Hurdles to win the gold medal. Noelia also competed well at Lima 2019, finishing 6th with a Personal Best in the 20km Race Walk. Andrea and Noelia often credit their mom for learning how to become a coach that can help them reach the highest levels of success. For her incredible story and dedication to helping her daughters succeed, Deysiana Mena is honored as the Best Coach at the Panam Sports Awards.
PANAM SPORTS LEGEND
CARL LEWIS - USA - ATHLETICS
From competing as the youngest member of Team USA at San Juan 1979 to dominating the competition at Indianapolis 1987 and delivering gold medals to athletes at Lima 2019, the Pan American Games will always have a special place in the heart of Carl Lewis. For his dedication and passion for the Pan Am Games, Carl Lewis is honored as the Panam Sports Legend at the Panam Sports Awards.
BEST ATHLETES OF THE PARAPAN AMERICAN GAMES
SARA VARGAS - COLOMBIA - SWIMMING
Never in her wildest dreams did Sara Vargas think possible enjoying such a successful Parapan American Games debut. The youngest athlete at Lima 2019 was also one of the most decorated ones, leaving the Peruvian capital city with four gold and one silver medals, setting four Games records along the way. In recognition of her outstanding performance at the Parapan, Sara Vargas is honored as the Best Female Para Athlete.
HERBERT ACEITUNO - EL SALVADOR - POWERLIFTING
Twenty years had passed until El Salvador finally returned to the top of the Parapan American Games podium. It was powerlifter Herbert Aceituno who broke the curse and became a national hero by claiming the men’s up to 65kg title with a Parapan record lift of 182kg. For making history for his country, Herbert Aceituno is recognized as the Best Male Para Athlete.
BEST NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE
UNITED STATES OLYMPIC & PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
Gold: 120; Silver: 88; Bronze: 55
The biggest athlete delegation from the United States in history competed at Lima 2019, as more than 640 athletes helped Team USA top the medal standings at the Pan American Games for the 16th time in history.
From Brady Ellison setting a new World Record in Men’s Archery to Evita Griskenas winning four gold medals to become the most decorated athlete of the Games, Nathan Adrian’s triumphant comeback winning two gold and five total medals, and future WNBA #1 pick Sabrina Ionescu taking home the first 3x3 Basketball gold medal, the memorable moments are nearly too many to count.
For their undisputed and unmatched dominance, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee was recognized as the Best NOC at the first Panam Sports Awards.
MOST IMPROVED NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE
PERUVIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE
Gold: 11; Silver: 7; Bronze: 21
With their nation behind them, Peru’s athletes performed at their absolute best to win more gold medals than ever before in history. Led by stars such as #TeamPanamSports Ambassador Alexandra Grande and surfing legend Piccolo Clemente, the Peruvian team did not disappoint their passionate fans. Before Lima 2019, Peru had never won more than 14 medals at any single Games in history and had won a grand total of eight golds through 18 editions.
With Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra often in attendance, Peru’s athletes stepped up to the challenge to honor their country and protect their home turf at the Pan Am Games. For their unprecedented improvement in just four years, the Peruvian Olympic Committee was recognized as the Most Improved NOC at the first Panam Sports Awards.
BEST NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (POPULATION UNDER 1M)
GRENADA OLYMPIC COMMITTEE
Gold: 1; Silver: 1; Bronze: 0
After 30 years and nine editions of the Pan American Games, the national anthem of Grenada finally rang proudly at the Pan Am Games for the first time in history at Lima 2019. The small island nation won its first ever gold medal at the most important sporting event of the Americas in the Peruvian capital, as Anderson Peters absolutely dominated the Men’s Javelin competition.
As the eight smallest country of the Panam Sports family by population with just over 100,000 people, placing 21st on the overall Medal Table is an unforgettable accomplishment that will forever be written in the sports history of the nation.
For their unprecedented success as one of the smallest nations by population at the Pan Am Games, the Grenada Olympic Committee was recognized as the Best NOC (Pop. <1M) at the first Panam Sports Awards.
BEST PHOTO OF THE GAMES
Manuel Jimenez - Dominican Republic - Hoy y Nacional
In a competition where sports fans across the world cast votes to choose the best photographs of the Pan American Games through the social media accounts of Panam Sports, the winner was the outstanding professional Manuel Jimenez. The winning photograph shows the water skier Roberto Pigozzi in the Slalom discipline in an incredibly emotional scene depicting a gold medal-winning moment, the first for the Dominican Republic at Lima 2019. For this incredible scene and fan support, Manuel Jimenez receives the honor of taking the Best Photo of the Games.
BEST MEDIA PARTNER
Every four years, sport fans across the Americas tune-in to watch the greatest athletes of the continent battle to be crowned the best of the best and to earn qualification to the Olympic Games. But this would not be possible without the incredible support and dedication to the Games shown by our valued media partners. As a partner of Panam Sports for more than xx years, Record TV of Brazil has ensured the successful delivery of the Pan American Games to televisions across the globe. In recognition of this incredible support, Record TV is honored as the Best Media Partner at the Panam Sports Awards.
The only and largest Awards Ceremony for sport throughout the Americas is now a fantastic memory, but this memory will live on will the full show and highlights remaining on the new and improved Panam Sports Channel. Ceremony producers Univision-TUDN will also broadcast the Panam Sports Awards on Saturday, December 14 at 11:00 pm EST and 8:00 pm PST in primetime.
Fort Lauderdale staged the historic first edition of the Panam Sports Awards, and now we wait to reunite the continent once more in four years at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.
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