Day one at the Pan American Games Santiago 2023 concluded on a high note, as 25-year-old Piper Kelly of the USA ended up pocketing both the women’s Speed gold medal and the Olympic quota place for Paris 2024.

Kelly, who placed third at the end of the qualification round, got faster as the competition progressed, beating Anahi Riveros of Chile in the quarter-final with 7.85 seconds, then prevailing over her teammate Sophia Curcio in the semi-final, where she clocked in at 7.69 and mathematically secured the ticket to the Paris Olympics.

In the gold medal race, Kelly climbed on her own, after Emma Hunt – also representing the USA – bumped into a false start and had to settle for silver. Relieved of all the pressure, Piper Kelly hit the finish pad at 7.52 seconds – a new personal best, three tenths better than her previous one.

“I’m completely blown away, and so excited to go to Paris! The goal coming into this event was to win and to get the Olympic ticket, but I knew it was going to be tough. I had a little bit of a rough qualifier, I slipped on my first one, so I had to pull through on the second... and then the perfect final round, getting faster each time and setting a new PB in the last race,” said Kelly after the award ceremony.

Kelly is the second US climber being awarded with an Olympic quota place in the women’s Speed event, after Hunt won it at the IFSC World Championships Bern 2023

For the women’s Speed complete results

The podium was completed by Andrea Rojas of Ecuador, who took bronze with 7.59, while Curcio slipped and failed to complete the climb, ending up in fourth position.

Sport Climbing at the Pan American Games Santiago 2023 will continue tomorrow with the women’s Boulder & Lead semi-final, starting at 10:00 (UTC-3:00), and the men’s Speed event kicking off at 19:00, with qualification followed by the final.

The full schedule is available on the event page of Santiago 2023. All competitions at the Pan American Games Santiago 2023 will be streaming on the Panam Sports channels

Updates and news about the Climbing competitions will be available on the official website of the event, on the IFSC website , and on the Federation’s digital channels: Facebook , Instagram , X , LinkedIn , and exclusively for the Chinese audience, Douyin and Weibo


Piper Kelly of the USA swept the stake at Santiago 2023Photo: Lena Drapella/IFSC

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