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Six Americans Set To Race In Pan American Games

The United States swept gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2007 and will be bringing a strong contingent to the 2011 Pan American Games in Puerto Vallarta.

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The United States swept gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2007 and will be bringing a strong contingent to the 2011 Pan American Games in Puerto Vallarta.

See the complete race preview from USA Triathlon below:

Jorgensen, a 2012 Olympic qualifier, will make the start in Mexico. Photo: Delly Carr/Triathlon.org

Winners of six of a possible 12 triathlon medals over the past two Pan American Games, the United States will look to continue that success Sunday at the 2011 Pan American Games triathlon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Six Americans are scheduled to be in action: Sarah Haskins (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Gwen Jorgensen (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Sara McLarty (Clermont, Fla.) on the women’s side; and Matt Chrabot (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Mark Fretta (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Manuel Huerta (Miami, Fla.) in the men’s event.

Huerta was named to the squad last week after three-time Olympian Hunter Kemper (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was forced to withdraw from the event after breaking his elbow in a bicycle crash at the Oct. 9 finale of the 2011 USA Triathlon Elite Race Series in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The women’s race is set for 8 a.m. CT, followed by the men at 11 a.m. All athletes will complete a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run.

Haskins, a Beijing Olympian and 2007 Pan Am Games silver medalist, will compete in her second straight Pan Am Games, as will McLarty, who finished 10th in Rio de Janeiro four years ago. Haskins is coming off a seventh-place finish at the Oct. 9 Huatulco ITU World Cup and earned her first career World Cup win in Monterrey, Mexico, earlier this season.

Last time out, Jorgensen wrapped up the women’s 2011 USA Triathlon Elite Race Series title with a victory in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Oct. 9. She qualified for a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team at the 2011 London ITU World Championship Series event in August. Jorgensen has experienced success in Puerto Vallarta, placing second at the at the 2010 PATCO Pan American Championship on the same course.

All three men’s athletes will make their Pan American Games debuts this weekend. Chrabot has experienced a great deal of success in Mexico, winning the Huatulco ITU World Cup twice in the last three years, including the most recent edition of the event Oct. 9. He also owns a pair of PATCO Pan American Championship titles in his career and captured gold on the same course in Puerto Vallarta a year ago.

Huerta is fresh off a sixth-place finish at the Huatulco ITU World Cup and wrapped up the 2011 ITU World Championship Series as the No. 3-ranked American. Fretta owns a pair of top-10 Pan American Cup finishes this season.

The U.S. has captured eight all-time Pan American Games medals, including four gold, since triathlon made its debut in 1995. Americans swept the top spots in 2007 with Julie Ertel and Andy Potts winning gold in Rio de Janeiro. Only Canada’s nine all-time medals top the U.S. in Pan American Games triathlon history.

Held every four years in the year before the Olympic Games, the Pan American Games are the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games. The history of the Pan American Games dates back to 1951 when the Games were first hosted by Buenos Aires, Argentina. The 2011 Pan American Games mark the 16th celebration of the Pan American Sports Organization event. The U.S. has hosted the event twice, in Indianapolis in 1987 and Chicago in 1959.

USA Triathlon Pan American Games Roster (Oct. 23, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)

Women
Sarah Haskins (Colorado Springs, Colo./St. Louis, Mo.)
Gwen Jorgensen (Milwaukee, Wis./Milwaukee, Wis.)
Sara McLarty (Clermont, Fla./DeLand, Fla.)

Men
Matt Chrabot (Colorado Springs, Colo./Virginia Beach, Va.)
Mark Fretta (Colorado Springs, Colo./Portland, Ore.)
Manuel Huerta (Miami, Fla./Miami, Fla.)