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PANAM SPORTS LEGENDS: THIAGO PEREIRA

The decorated Brazilian swimmer has his name written in gold all over the history of the Pan American Games. He holds the record for most medals won at the Pan Am Games with an outstanding total of 23. 

Thiago Pereira is, without a doubt, one of the most decorated athletes in the history of Brazilian swimming. His list of accomplishments speaks for itself.

He is a London 2012 Olympic silver medalist in the 400 meter Medley, a silver medalist at the Kazan 2015 World Championships, and a multi-gold medalists at the Pan American and South American Games and he holds the record for the most medals in an individual career at the  Pan American Games. And the list goes on.

At 21 years old, he participated in the Rio 2007 Pan American Games, where he began his successful career. In front of his home crowd in Brazil, Pereira won six golds to beat the Pan Am Games record for gold medals won at one Games held by U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz, who won five gold medals at Winnipeg 1967.

Next up was Guadalajara 2011, where he once again dominated the pool by repeating an incredible performance and earning six gold medals, bringing his total medal count to 18.

At the most recent Pan Am Games of Toronto 2015, all eyes were on Pereira. He arrived in Canada just four medals shy of matching the record of another legend of the Americas; the Cuban gymnast Erick Lopez, who at the time still held the record for most career Pan Am Games medals with 22.

In Toronto, “Mr. Pan”, as Pereira is often referred to, proved once more he is the pride and joy of Brazil, winning five more medals including three golds, giving him the right to be called the most decorated athlete in Pan American Games history.

“The only secret is a lot of hard work, sacrifice and effort. Knowing how to get up when you fall, and never think that you are perfect,” Pereira said after breaking the record.

Today, Thiago Pereira is retired, but the legacy he left for Brazil as well as all of the Americas is more present than ever.

Thiago Pereira is a swimming icon, an idol for many Brazilian generations to come, and a Panam Sports Legend.

RECORD: 23 PAN AMERICAN MEDALS

Santo Domingo 2003: 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
Rio de Janeiro 2007: 6 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
Guadalajara 2011: 6 Gold, 1 Silver 1 Bronze
Toronto 2015: 3 Gold, 1 Bronze

TOP SWIMMING PERFORMANCE

London 2012 Olympics: Silver medal in the 400M Medley