LEAVING A LEGACY: BOLIVIA AT THE PAN AM GAMES
With the 18th edition of the Pan American Games less than 200 days away, Bolivia is focused on trying to earn its first ever gold medal at the continent’s top sporting event.
Since joining the Pan American Games family before the fifth edition of the Games held in Winnipeg, Canada in 1967, Bolivia has competed at each of the following Pan Am Games held throughout the continent.
However, no Bolivian athletes would make it to the podium until the Havana 1991 Pan American Games in Cuba. In the Cuban capital, William Arancibia made history for his country by winning a silver medal in the Men’s 70kg Taekwondo competition.
His triumph would go on to inspire a new generation of Bolivian athletes, with the next continental medals won by the country coming at the Santo Domingo 2003 Pan Am Games in the Dominican Republic.
Luis Bolivar won the second Pan Am Games medal in Bolivia’s history, also earning his medal in a martial art. Bolivar won bronze in the Men’s 80kg Karate (Kumite) competition. He would be joined by Benjamin Martinez as the only other Bolivian to win a medal at those Games, with Martinez taking the bronze in the Men’s Cycling Time Trial event.
Since 2010, Bolivia has become a powerhouse in the sport of racquetball. Bolivia would claim its next two bronze medals at the Guadalajara 2011 Pan Am Games in Mexico, with Maria Vegas finishing third in the Women’s Singles tournament and Cintia Loma and Jenny Daza earning bronze in the Women’s Team tournament.
Bolivia is fresh off a historic performance at the Pan American Games of Toronto 2015, winning more medals at these Games than any previous edition. While Bolivia sent 34 athletes to compete at Toronto 2015 in 12 sports, all medals were won in the sport of racquetball once more.
Kevin Moscoso led his country to its best Pan Am Games finish ever by winning a bronze medal in the Men’s Individual tournament, a silver medal with partner Roland Keller in the Men’s Doubles tournament, and finishing it off with a bronze medal with teammates Roland and Carlos Keller in the Men’s Team tournament. Moscoso would go on to be Bolivia’s flag bearer at the Toronto 2015 Closing Ceremony.
Following this unprecedented showing in Toronto, Bolivia is now ready to make even more history at the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games where that elusive first gold medal could be won.
With two silver and six bronze medals, Bolivia is currently ranked 32nd in the Historical Medal Table of the Pan American Games. Winning their first gold medal at Lima 2019 could launch Bolivia even further up the all-time medal count.
Panam Sports congratulates Bolivia on their increased success at the Pan Am Games, and looks forward to seeing more historic moments at the next Pan American Games that begin July 26 in Lima, Peru.