Fay De Fazio Ebert gives a high five to another skateboarderThomas Skrlj/COC
Thomas Skrlj/COC

Our favourite feel good moments from the Pan Am Games

Everyone loves a medal celebration. But there is so much more than that to celebrate when Team Canada athletes come together as they are at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.

Here are some of our favourite moments that showed the true spirit of the Games.

Respect and love in the skate park

Team Canada’s teenage phenom Fay De Fazio Ebert may have won the gold medal in women’s skateboard park, but she was not alone in celebrating an outstanding competition. As soon as the final finished, all of the riders came together in a big group hug — a sign of the great respect they have for each other.

Supporting fellow sport climbers

With Olympic spots on the line, the sport climbing competition was pressure-packed. That’s what made it so nice to see the support those athletes all had for each other, especially in the boulder & lead events. As each climber finished, they sat and watched the next one up, which led to a pretty full couch at the end. It was especially great to watch the Baudrand brothers, Oscar and Victor, give each other a little pat on the back as they competed at their first multi-sport Games.

Doing it as a family

Heading into Santiago 2023, a lot of eyes were on taekwondo’s Park siblings, not just because there are three of them — Skylar, Tae-Ku, and Braven — but also because of their Chilean heritage. With dad and coach Jae on the sidelines, it was easy to see the family love.

From celebrating with Skylar after she won gold to the sheer joy that was unleashed following an epic comeback in the men’s team event, the Parks let their emotions fly. And after the competition was done, they took the time to visit a local taekwondo club to spread their love of their sport even further.

A squee moment for Melissa and Brandie

Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson‘s first Pan American Games appearance as a beach volleyball team became extra memorable when they were chosen to represent Canada as the Opening Ceremony flag bearers. The pair of Toronto athletes received the news just the day before.

Can you imagine your reaction upon being named to represent your country on the Pan American stage?

“It’s something an athlete dreams of their entire career, and we couldn’t be more proud to do it here,” Humana-Paredes said.

Their run at the Pan Ams went all the way to the final, ending in a loss in the gold medal match to Brazil. Although they had their sights set on first place, the duo showed why they’re one of the world best on the beach.

Maggie makes a fan’s dream come true

It’s not every day you get to meet your heroes! Swimming star Maggie Mac Neil had another world-class performance on the international swimming stage in Santiago, and it’s clear to see why she was one of the marquee athletes across all sports at the Pan Ams. Despite her larger-than-life picture on this advertisement, she isn’t too big to make some time for her fans.

Brothers in sport

If you’ve been following the men’s gymnastics team, you know they’re connected like brothers when performing for their country. That’s why it was extra special to see the reaction of country-mates Zachary Clay and Jayson Rampersad when they realized they’d completed the double podium of gold and silver one the pommel horse.

Let’s go girls!

Is there anything more Canadian? Shania Twain’s iconic 1997 hit “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” has been belted out by Canadians for decades, and the women’s rowing squad knew just how to capture the moment following their gold medal win.

In the first-ever women’s rowing eight event at the Pan American Games, the Canadians got their gold by finishing almost three-and-a-half seconds ahead of the American boat.

There is a great legacy of the eight in Canada, which was carried over here by coxswain Kristen Kit who was part of the gold medal crew at Tokyo 2020. Kendra Hartley, Olivia McMurray, Alizée Brien, Parker Illingworth, Abby Speirs, Shaye De Paiva, Abby Dent and Leia Till rounded out the group, hinting at an even brighter future for Canada’s women’s rowers.

Podium pals

It was an electric final straight during the men’s 1500m final–one that saw Canadians Robert Heppenstall and Charles Philibert-Thiboutot each pass three athletes in the home straight to go 1-2, with Philibert-Thiboutot diving at the line to claim the gold.

The two Canadians finished within 0.02 seconds of each other…and the finish line hug was everything.

Brandie Wilkerson and Melissa Humana-Paredes carry the Canadian flag in front of their teammates

Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games Hub

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