July 12, 2007
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil--The XV Pan American Games get underway on Friday afternoon, and seven current and former Yale student-athletes will be participating in the quadrennial regional championships. Junior swimmer Alex Righi will represent the United States, and brothers Kieran, an '06 Yale graduate, and Morgan Locke, a senior will swim for the Virgin Islands. Sophomore Thomas Barrows will also compete for the Virgin Islands in sailing. Senior softball captain Aracelis Torres is playing for Puerto Rico, and former Yale stars Julian Illingworth '06 and Michelle Quibell `06 are on the U.S. squash team. In addition, James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball, is one of the assistants for the U.S. team.
Illingworth and Quibell will be the first Bulldogs to compete in Rio. The squash tournament gets underway on Saturday. Both the men's and women's individual gold medal matches will be held on Monday, with the team finals scheduled for Thursday, July 19.
Competition in swimming begins on Monday and runs until July 22. While the swimmers in each individual event are yet to be announced, Righi qualified for the U.S. 4x100 meter freestyle relay team. The heats in that event are on Thursday, July 19, with the final the following morning. The Locke brothers represented the Virgin Islands in the 2003 Pan Am Games, where Morgan carried the nation's flag in the closing ceremony. Morgan will likely swim both the 200 and 400 meter individual medley in Rio de Janeiro, while Kieran swims in the freestyle and backstroke events. The brothers both represented the Virgin Islands at the 2007 World Championships.
Sailing competition begin on Sunday, July 22. After five days of preliminary races, the finals in all nine events take place on July 28.
The eight-team softball tournament begins on July 23. Each squad will play seven preliminary games, one against each of the other nations. Puerto Rico takes on Canada and Colombia on July 23, Argentina and Venezuela on July 24, Cuba and Brazil on July 25, and the United States on July 26. The top four teams after the round-robin competition move on to the semifinals. The gold medal game is set for Saturday, July 28.
The men's basketball competition doesn't get underway until July 25. The United States is in Pool B with Argentina, Panama and Uruguay. The Americans open with Uruguay at 12:15 p.m. on July 25, then take on Panama at 6:45 p.m. on July 26. Pool play concludes against Argentina on July 27 at 6:45 p.m. The top two teams in each group move on to the semifinals on July 28. The gold medal game is on July 29 at 10 a.m. ESPN Deportes will have live coverage every day of competition, with ESPN simulcasting the men's basketball semifinals and finals.
The Pan American Games are the regional championships for North and South America and the Caribbean, held every four years in the year before the Olympics. Forty-three countries are expected to compete in 28 Olympic and non-Olympic sports at this year's event, which runs until July 29.