Pan Am Maccabiah Games: U.S. Takes 36 Medals on Day One -- December 29, 2003
SANTIAGO, Chile, December 29. HOLA again!
First of all, we must say that Swim Team USA did extremely well yesterday. Counting Juniors, Open and Masters age groups we tallied a total of 24 gold medals, 7 silver and 5 bronze! Becca got 2 golds, Sara got one gold and one bronze and Leah got one silver. USA really had a haul and it was only the first day. We go back tonight for our second session of competition.
One of the highlights of the meet yesterday was watching an 83 year old man from Venezuela finish his race in the 200m free. It took him over 6 minutes to complete. but he proudly wore his medal later that night at the Opening Ceremonies.
The Ceremonies were very fiesta-like. As we expected, athletes from all 18 countries represented here marched into the stadium. The 18 countries included many South American countries, Canada, the U.S. and Mexico from North America and a few European countries. Even South Africa, Australia and Israel are represented.
There was a show that included singing and ethnic dancing. The torch lighting was very emotional for everyone at the pro soccer stadium beneath the Andes mountains. The flame was carried into the stadium by the daughter of one of the Israeli Olympic athletes murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics. She was joined by a Jewish-Chilean pro soccer player who is a big celebrity here.
After the ceremonies were over, there was a frenzy of trading going on.
You couldn't tell where some people were from because, by evening's end, they were wearing clothing from so many different countries.
Well, we have to go swim some more!
The Schwartz Sisters