PARACAS, PERU (#1188) — Riley Gibbs (Long Beach, California) and Anna Weis (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) will go into the Olympic Test Event in Enoshima on a hot streak after winning the gold medal in the Nacra 17 Class at the Pan Am Games and, more importantly, earning country qualification for the Tokyo Games next summer.
After establishing a strong lead early last week, Gibbs and Weis focused on keeping their final race as low key as possible, considering the winds were upward of 25 knots. “We didn’t need to win the race to get the gold, so we wanted to sail a good, low-risk race,” Weis said. Their strategy paid off. The pair sailed a clean race in the extreme breeze and finished second in the Medal Race. Weis said the win is a validation of the hard work she and Gibbs have put into the campaign.
“It’s an amazing feeling, to come away with gold. We’ve been through a lot as a team – a new team – so it’s awesome to see our hard work pay off.”
The sailors were already focusing on the test event, which runs Saturday through August 22 in Japan.
“I thought it was kind of funny. Straight after the medal ceremony, we went back to de-rigging the boat, like nothing really happened,” Gibbs said. “It’s another stepping stone. We’re already looking ahead to trying our best at the Olympic Test Event and putting it all out there.”
Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wisconsin) and Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Illinois) took silver in the 49erFX and also earned the USA country qualification for next summer's Tokyo O(lmypics.
Overall, the U.S. team won medals in seven classes.
Also winning gold were Ernesto Rodriguez (Miami) and Hallie Schiffman (Sarasota, Florida) in the mixed-gender Snipe class. Also taking silvers were Charlotte Rose (Houston) in Laser Radial and Pedro Pascual in Men’s RS:X. Earning bronzes were Will Cyr (Bayview, Michigan) in Open Formula Kite and 2016 Olympian Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, California) in the Laser.
Riley Gibbs and Anna Weis celebrate their Pan Am Games gold medal in the Nacra 17 Class and earning country qualification for the Tokyo Olympics. US Sailing photo.