Chile wins two gold medals at Pan American Games

With victories in swimming and sailing events, Chile is now sitting in 11th place on the overall medal tally.


With over 2,600 miles in coastline, it’s no surprise that Chile’s first two gold medals at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, have been won on the water and in the pool.

Picking up the first gold for the Andean nation was long-distance swimmer Kristel Köbrich, who achieved the fastest time in the women’s 800m freestyle event. Adding to the sense of occasion, Köbrich’s victory was also Chile’s first-ever gold medal in a swimming event at the Pan American Games.

After receiving the bronze medal in the 400m final earlier in the meet, Köbrich made it clear that she was intent on winning her speciality, the 800m race, and it was obvious from the moment she leapt off the starting blocks that she was swimming for gold.

Racing in lane four, the Chilean swimmer made a good start and spent the beginning of the race going stroke for stroke with the United States’ Ashley Twichell and Andreína Pinto from Venezuela, who took silver and bronze, respectively.

By the halfway mark, Köbrich was leading the race and remained out in front for the rest of the event, finishing with an impressive time of  8:34.71, just six-tenths of a second outside the Pan American record.

Chile’s second gold medal went to Alberto González, Cristián Herman and Diego González who eclipsed the rest of the field in the lightning-class sailing competition.

In an outstanding performance, the three Chilean sailors dominated the race from beginning to end, finishing ahead of their rivals from the United States (silver) and Brazil (bronze).

On completing the race, the close-knit team celebrated their triumph with hugs and an outpouring of emotion.

Chile is currently sitting in 11th place on the Guadalajara medal tally, with two gold, eight silver and 12 bronze medals.