By Scott Bregman | Olympics
In the men’s competition, Dolci finished with a 82.531 ahead of Brazilian Diogo Soares (81.865). American Donnell Whittenburg (81.764) was the bronze medallist.
“It feels really good. I’m really happy with how I did today,” DiCello told Olympics.com afterward. “This is my first gold medal as an all-around champion, so I’m just really happy.”
Two Olympic Paris 2024 quotas – one in men’s and one in women’s – were on offer Monday. Audrys Nin Reyes of the Dominican Republic and Luisa Blanco of Colombia obtained the quotas by finishing as the highest eligible athletes in the all-around final. Although they obtained a nominative quota, National Olympic Committees (NOC) have the exclusive authority for the representation of their respective countries at the Olympic Games, athletes’ participation at the Paris Games depends on their NOC selecting them to represent their delegation at Paris 2024.
The quotas will not be confirmed by the International Gymnastics Federation until late spring next year, following the completion of the 2024 World Cup Series and other continental championships.
Having all finished in the top six during yesterday’s team final and individual qualifying round, all three medallists rotated together, starting off on the vault where the trio each delivered clean Yurchenko double twists.
After one rotation, Chiles lead with a 14.300, followed by DiCello’s 14.133 and Saraiva’s 13.966.
DiCello took the lead after the second rotation, scoring a 13.633 on the uneven bars, as Chiles came to grief on the event, adding an extra swing and catching a release element extremely close to the bar. Her 12.700 on the bars dropped her to third behind Saraiva, who posted a 13.533 for a solid routine.
The lead changed once again on the balance beam, as Saraiva used her clean and stylish trademark quality on the apparatus to score 14.166 to take a .799 lead to the final rotation.
But Saraiva opened the door with a shaky floor routine in the final rotation that scored just 12.900. DiCello seized the opportunity, scoring 13.733 to claim the first gold in the event for the U.S. since 2011.
“I did see where I was,” said DiCello of fluctuating leaderboard. “I really just tried not to focus on that and focus on the routine I’m about to do and all the skills, so it didn’t really bother me.”
DiCello only returned to elite training six months ago, announcing in April that she would take a gap year from the University of Florida to pursue a spot on the U.S. team for Paris 2024.
Monday’s result was not one she imagined when she made that decision.
“I could not [have predicted it,]” she said. “I’m just so excited and proud of myself to see how far I’ve come within those past few months.”
Dolci’s historic season
Despite a fall on a release move in the final rotation, Dolci became the first Canadian man to claim Pan Am all-around gold since 1963 when Wilhelm Weiler struck gold.
“That’s crazy,” Dolci said of this 60 years since his countryman took gold at the event. “Winning this gold medal makes me feel really proud, and it just kind of gives me more hope for the future. Obviously, looking forward to Paris. Great, great things are gonna are gonna come, I’m sure of it.”
The gold medal in Santiago is part of unprecedented season for Team Canada in men’s gymnastics that saw them soar to a fourth-place finish during qualifying at the World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, just two weeks ago. That performance secured the NOC a five-man team for Paris.
“When we were back at Worlds, we had one goal in mind and one only: it was to qualify a team for the Olympics. We we did that absolutely perfectly,” said Dolci. “Looking forward for the future, the team just wants to build more depth into the athletes, making sure we own our spot. We are one of the best countries in the world now, and we stay that way, that’s as simple as it is.”