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July 24 Evening Session Quotes - Pan American Games

Ashley Higginson, 3,000m steeplechase gold medalist
“This has been so much fun. This is my first Pan Am team, so it has just been a blast, and I hope to go to more.”
“We came out, and we just really wanted to be pretty honest about our race plan, and it’s just so nice to come into an event like this. Obviously, we compete during the year and at Nationals and stuff, but to come in and be teammates and to be able to really take over the race together - both of lead in the wind and both of us work hard to break up the pack and come out 1-2 was honestly more special than winning. After a week of getting to know each other, it was just awesome to be a part of this event.”
“I was probably disappointed with my Nationals performance, so to come here and just feel like a part of the team and feel like I belonged and was a part of something special meant a lot. This event means something special to me, and it’s just kind of an exciting part of my career now. it’s something I’ll look forward to dreaming bigger from.”
“I feel awesome! I feel great. I’m so excited. I think I haven’t trusted myself in a tactical race, so to see something more tactical work out and to feel more confident in my abilities, it just really meant a lot after some personal mind and roadblocks along the way this season. It’s a really cool way to culminate it here.”
Shalaya Kipp, 3,000m steeplechase silver medalist
On the back stretch, I was really surprise at how gutsy it is so I slowed down. And then we realized that we came through really slow the first 2K in and the last K we really had a quick last lap. Ashley (Higginson) is a very good kicker, and I know she did close that last 400 well. She did, and I was just trying to stay with her as much as possible, and that’s all you can do. Everyone out there ran great.”
On going 1-2 with your teammate
“Oh my gosh, that makes it so much more special. I know Ashley and I, when we were warming up, we said, ‘Let’s go out there and win some medals,’ and that’s exactly what we did tonight.”
Kaylin Whitney, 200m gold medalist
On the race overall
“The starter held us for a long time in the set position. I didn’t really know why, but I knew I had to keep calm in the block because I knew I didn’t want to get a false start. After that, I came off the curve and just tried to relat and bring it home.”
On what it feels like to win a Pan American Games medal
“It’s awesome. Like I said for it being my first time here, being able to walk away with a gold medal is truly amazing.”
On what it means to be a part of Team USA
“Last year I competed for the World Youth Team in Eugene, (Oregon). This is awesome being my first senior international team.”
On whether it feels different to win a medal at the senior level
“I think so. This being my first time on the pro side, it definitely gives me a confidence boost.”
Kyra Jefferson, 200m silver medalist
On the race overall
“I was talking to a lot of the coaches, and everybody was telling me that all of my prelim and semifinal rounds I wasn’t getting out. Considering I had lane 7, I knew I had people I could run with Kaylin (Whitney) and Simone (Facey of Jamaica) behind me. I knew I had to get out, so I made sure I was the first one and then I just tried to bring it home. I saw Kaylin in my peripheral view, so I thought, ‘Okay, as long as we get this 1-2.’”
On what it feels like to compete on an international team
“It’s a great feeling. This is my first senior team, and it’s just great to medal my first time.”
“It just feels so special to have everybody cheering for you and everybody congratulating you. Just to know that all the hard practices and stuff paid off.”
On how she felt going into the race
“I was a little nervous, considering that I had a very long season with the collegiate season going, and just to come out and place was good enough for me. The time, it wasn’t the best time ever for me, but it’s okay.”
On what it means to represent Team USA
“I have USA on my chest. It’s the best feeling ever!”
“If anyone ever sees me on camera, they can see me saying, ‘You can do this. You can do this.’ What the coaches from USC told me: ‘You have the beast in you. You don’t have to find it, it’s already in you,’ so I just kept repeating what she said during my race.”
Andrew Wheating, 1500m gold medalist
On the race overall
I was just focussing, so it was a 400, 500, 600 strategy. For the first 400, stay relaxed, don’t let anyone push you off your form, stay comfortable, and for the next 500 meters, slowly work your way into the top two or three positions. And then in the last 600, get ready because a move is going to be made, but I didn’t know it was going to be me, who was making that move. But I was there, and when we hit 200 meters to go, I could hear the crowd starting to get a little louder and I saw a body on my shoulder. I heard the crowd really getting loud. I thought, ‘These are the Canadians. There’s no one else this could be. These are definitely the Canadians,’ so I kept rolling on the homestretch and I felt Nate (Brannen of Canada) and I felt Chuck right there on my shoulders.  The crowd got so loud and the point where I was like, ‘If I let up even a hair, I’ve lost this,’ so I didn’t look at the board. I didn’t focus on anyone else around me, and I looked straight at that finish line and drove home as hard as I could go. I didn’t get excited until maybe a step before the finish line when I peeked at the board and saw that I got it.”
On the feeling of becoming a Team USA medalist
“It’s unbelievable. I’ve seen other people - friends, teammates - other people holding this flag around their shoulders, and it’s one thing to wear the uniform and to be there. But to hold the flag around your shoulders as a triumph of victory is a feeling you cannot describe unless you’ve been there yourself, and this is a feeling I cannot put into words.” 
Riley Dolezal, Javelin silver medalist
On competing in javelin at Pan American Games
“Right now I’m standard chasing. Today, I threw a season PB, and I just need to work on a few things. I’ve got another meet on Sunday to try to get to and try to connect on everything and get it out there a little farther. It’s close, but it not there.”
On how it feels to win silver for Team USA at Pa American Games
“It feels great just to be out here and be able to help out the team and just kind of be a part of this atmosphere. There are a lot of great athletes out here. And to be up on top like that or second place, that’s awesome.”
“Its surreal. I knew I had a good chance to be able to hit. In practice, it’s been going well and to be able to execute out here is just awesome in a great field of athletes.”
“It’s definitely up there. Making Worlds in 2013 was my first overseas travel and everything like that, so that was definitely a big boost. But right now, this is the second one out there, a big meet, and hopefully it will carrying on and again over in Beijing.”
On how he’s liking Canada
“It’s my first time in Ontario. I grew up really close to Canada, but it was like 30 minutes away from the border, so I’ve gone up a few times. But up here is great. They have a great set-up. The village is awesome there. I like it.”

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