Bridgette Caquatto wins all-around gold

Updated: October 26, 2011, 11:44 PM ET
Associated Press

GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- She wobbled on the beam and didn't fall down on the dismount.

That, and a super uneven bars routine, added up to a gold medal for American gymnast Bridgette Caquatto in the all-around competition Wednesday at the Pan American Games.

"The beam routine went pretty smoothly for me. I just had one major wobble," said the 17-year-old Caquatto, who became the seventh straight American to win the marquee gymnastics event at the games. "Besides that, I was very happy with how everything else went."

Caquatto, from Naperville, Ill., scored 14.725 points on the uneven bars, the only competitor to break the 14-point barrier.

That put her in the lead heading into her final event on the balance beam. Despite the miscue during that last routine, she stuck her dismount and held on to first place.

"I had no idea. I didn't even look at my scores the whole meet," Caquatto said. "I was just very thankful for staying on each equipment."

The United States also stayed on top, winning three other golds on Day 12 of the Pan American Games to keep well clear of second-place Brazil on the medals table.

In the women's all-around, Caquatto followed in some good company by winning gold. Olympic gold medalist Shannon Miller won the title in 1995, as did fellow world champions Chellsie Memmel (2003) and Shawn Johnson (2007).

"I'm very happy to keep the U.S. rolling with all their medals," said Caquatto, who also helped the U.S. win the team gold and has a chance to claim a third in Tuesday's bars final -- her best event.

"I'm hoping to just hit the same routine I did the past two times and hopefully it'll be a good result," Caquatto said.

Mackenzie Caquatto, Bridgette's older sister and a member of the U.S. team that won a silver medal at last year's world championships, was following from afar. She had a message for her younger sibling after the final scores were posted Wednesday in Guadalajara.

"YAYAYYYY! SO PROUD OF my seeesterr!!! PAN AMERICAN ALL AROUND CHAMP! you are amazingg girl :) loveyou," Mackenzie Caquatto wrote on Twitter.

Whether or not Caquatto can win a third gold on the uneven bars, she is expecting a little bit of down time once the Pan American Games are over. But down time does not include too much rest.

"I'm going to go back and heal up and hopefully get some more difficulty in all my routines, more consistency, and keep training," said Caquatto, who is dreaming of someday making the Olympic team but knows it won't be easy.

"I would love to be able to go to the Olympic trials and experience all that and I just want to be able to hit my best routine and come out of there with no regrets and just say I did everything I could possibly do."

Kibwe Johnson did what he could to set a Pan American Games record in the men's hammer throw, and it worked.

Johnson, who won the first gold for the United States in track and field at this year's games, tossed the hammer 79.63 meters. The previous record of 79.61 meters was set by another American, Lance Deal, in Winnipeg in 1999.

"During the warm up I wasn't quiet sure where I was throwing, but after the first result I knew that I would be OK," Johnson said. "I thought I had a chance to break the Pan American record but you never really know. When I realized that I was throwing pretty hard, I knew I had a chance."

Yvette Lewis added another gold in the women's 100-meter hurdles, while Kelley Hurley won the women's epee by beating younger sister Courtney Hurley in the final. Tim Morehouse later won silver in the men's sabre.

In team sports, the U.S. reached the field hockey final and will face world champion Argentina on Friday, while the women's water polo team beat Brazil 13-11 and will face Canada in another Friday final.

The men's basketball team survived a scare against the Dominican Republic in the opening game.

The Americans won 77-76 after Manuel Guzman missed a free throw with 4.6 seconds to go and Marcus Lewis then blocked a last-second attempt to win it.

"I knew they were going to 15 (Jack Michael Martinez) and I knew he was either going to use a pump fake or try and shake me off one way," Lewis said. "I just kept my hand up there and when he jumped for the jumper I got all ball. That was a pretty big play."


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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