July 11, 2015 10:51 pm
Updated: July 12, 2015 1:26 pm

Canada starts the Pan American Games with a bang, nabs 8 medals

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WATCH ABOVE: Canadian athletes celebrate winning medals at Pan Am Games.

In the first full day of competition at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games Canada racked up 8 medals. Here are some highlights.

Diving

Canadian divers had a successful start to the Pan American Games with three medals on the opening day of competition.

Roseline Filion of Laval, Que., won silver in the women’s 10-metre platform on Saturday, while Montreal’s Meaghan Benfeito took bronze.

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Earlier, Montreal’s Philippe Gagne won bronze medal in the men’s three-metre springboard.

Filion scored 377.60 points, finishing just 5.6 points behind gold medallist Paola Espinosa of Mexico. Benfeito took bronze with 357.45 points.

Filion scored 79.20 points with her fourth dive – the best result of the round – to move into second place. She finished with a score of 80.00 on her fifth dive to hold off Benfeito.

It was a different story for Benfeito, who opened with a score of 81.60 and led through the first three round before fading. Still, her strong start was enough to earn a medal.

Synchronized Swimming

Jacqueline Simoneau and Karine Thomas are Rio-bound.

The synchronized swimmers won gold in the duet event at the Pan American Games to secure their spot in next summer’s Rio Olympics.

Simoneau, an 18-year-old from Saint-Laurent, Que., and Thomas, 26, from Gatineau, Que., leaders after the technical program, scored 178.0881 for the gold.

Karem Achach and Nuria Diosdado of Mexico were second with 170.7800, while Mariya Koroleva and Alison Williams of the United States won the bronze with 166.3876.

Simoneau is a rising star in the sport, joining the national team in 2012, while Thomas is the only holdover from the squad that finished fourth at the London Olympics.

Simoneau and Thomas can add another gold today, as Canada is favoured to win the team event.

BMX

Canadian cyclist Tory Nyhaug won the gold in men’s BMX at the Pan American Games.

Nyhaug finished first in an unofficial time of 36.208 seconds.

Alfredo Campo Vintimilla of Ecuador finished second. and Carlos Alberto Ramirez Yepes of Colombia took the bronze.

Kayaking

Canada actually has won its first medal of the Pan American Games on friday, a gold in women’s kayaking.

The Canadian crew finished first in the K-4 500 metres in one minute 36.495 seconds.

Cuba finished second followed by Argentina.

Michelle Russell of Fall River,N.S., Emilie Fournel of Montreal, KC Fraser of Oakville, Ont., and Hannah Vaughan of Dartmouth, N.S., edged the Cubans by 1.17 seconds.

“I can’t describe it,” said an overwhelmed Russell. “I can’t find the words to describe how it feels to win gold, in the Pan Am Games, in Toronto, on home soil, the very first medal. I can’t.”

The race was the first final of the Games, which officially opened Friday in Toronto.

 

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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