The crowds roared as flags waved and Ford was instantly hailed a national hero when he finished the gruelling two-day, 10-event competition, crossing fifth in the 1,500 metres to give him a winning total of 7,834 points and the gold, holding off Brazilian Jose Fernando Ferreira by 86 points.
Ford’s victory took the spotlight away from what is usually the athletics glamour event, the 100m, which saw the Dominican Republic’s Jose Alnardo Gonzalez take the men’s title in 10.30 seconds and Cuba’s Yunisleidy de la Caridad Garcia the women’s sprint in 11.36.
The judo competition closed with Cuba beating Brazil to win the mixed team title and the great Idalys Ortiz adding another gold to her glittering resume. It was the perfect Pan Am Games goodbye for the 34-year-old four-times Olympic medallist, who has announced she will retire after next year’s Paris Summer Games.Brazil led with seven while Cuba took six with Canada and Venezuela the only other countries to put athletes on the top of the podium. headtopics.com
Itkin romped to a 15-6 win over team mate Miles Chamley Watson in the men’s foil while Skarbonkiewicz edged Maia Chamberlain 15-13 to take top spot in the women’s sabre.