2010 Pan American Championships
Men and Women win a total of 15 medals

Photos ©Guadalajara 2011

The USA team won 15 medals including the team titles at the 2010 Pan American Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico, Sept. 1-5. The women's team earned nine medals while the men's team won six. By winning the team titles, the U.S. men and women qualified for the 2011 Pan American Games, also set in Guadalajara.

USA Gymnastics will highlight each of the Pan Am Championships men's and women's team members. Return to this page in the coming days to read interviews with all the athletes.

Men: Jake Dalton | Alex Buscaglia | Glen Ishino | Dylan Akers | Wes Haagensen | Bryan Del Castillo
Women: Gabrielle Douglas | Kyla Ross | Brenna Dowell | Sabrina Vega | Sarah Finnegan | McKayla Maroney


Wes Haagensen - Oct. 28, 2010

USA Gymnastics: What was the best part of your trip to the Pan American Championships?
Wes Haagensen: This past Pan Am Championships was my first international team competition. It was exciting, not only taking home the gold, but dominating the field of competition by such a large margin. It was awesome to pull together as a team and come out on top for the U.S.

USA Gymnastics: Did you learn anything on this trip that you'll use for future competitions?
Wes Haagensen: I learned to trust myself and my abilities better when it comes down to the heat of competition. In this particular competition, we faced several obstacles (power outages, equipment adjustments, schedule changes, etc.). This could have become a large distraction if we were not focused and prepared, but by staying cool and collected, we were able to perform and trust our preparation and it worked out well.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to win the team gold medal?
Wes Haagensen: Upon arriving to Guadalajara, we had a team meeting discussing our plan and goals for the competition. It was very clear that we came to Mexico for one main reason, and that was the team gold. We put all of our energy and efforts into achieving this goal from day one until the last event of the team finals and to finally see that we were the best Pan American team was a huge burst of satisfaction. We saw first-hand all of our hard work pay off by being honored with the Star Spangled Banner and an eight-point victory.

USA Gymnastics: How did you feel when they played the national anthem?
Wes Haagensen: Hearing the national anthem was a very motivating moment in my career. Since this was my first team competition, standing on the podium and hearing our national anthem play gave me the determination to fully commit myself to hear our anthem play again in 2012 at the Olympic Games in London.

USA Gymnastics: Did you win any other medals? If so, which ones, and can you describe your routine?
Wes Haagensen: I won a bronze medal on high bar. I mounted with a Tak Full connected to Yamawaki and then Gienger, then endo 1/2 , Ribalko to el-grip, endo full spin, Jam, Tak 1/2, quast, and Lay out Double Double. This routine starts at a 16.4 and flows together pretty nicely.

USA Gymnastics: Who did you room with and what was it like traveling with the USA team?
Wes Haagensen: My roommate was Stanford gymnast Alex Buscaglia. Prior to coming into Pan Ams I didn't know Alex very well, or several of the other guys. By traveling together we were able to get to know each other and create a true team bond.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to do anything special on your trip - like go to a banquet, sightsee, buy souvenirs, etc.?
Wes Haagensen: We went to the Guadalajara market place, and there was a short dinner and banquet preceding the competition with all the different countries and delegations.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to meet any other athletes on your trip? What was that like?
Wes Haagensen: I met some new athletes, but for the most part our team stuck together since none of us could speak Spanish. I was also able to see a lot of old friends that I have competed against in the past, which was nice.

USA Gymnastics: How long were you gone and how did you deal with school when you were gone on your trip?
Wes Haagensen: We were gone for one week. Luckily I am done with school as I graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor's degree in business in 2008 so I won't need to be worrying about that any time soon.

USA Gymnastics: What was the first thing you wanted to do when you got home?
Wes Haagensen: Eat and then sleep. We had a flight to catch at 3:30 a.m. and I didn't return back to Colorado Springs until 2 p.m. the following day. I immediately went to McDonald's and got some classic American food, and then took a really long nap.

USA Gymnastics: What is your next event or goal in gymnastics?
Wes Haagensen: The next big competition is Winter Cup in Las Vegas in February. The goal for Winter Cup is to hit 12 for 12 routines and make a run for my first Senior National Championship Title.


Dylan Akers - Oct. 14, 2010

USA Gymnastics: What was the best part of your trip to the Pan American Championships?
Dylan Akers: It was definitely winning the gold medal in the team competition. I also enjoyed being with all the Senior Team guys; it really enlightened me and built my confidence competing with all the gymnasts I admire.

USA Gymnastics: Did you learn anything on this trip that you'll use for future competitions?
Dylan Akers: Of course. I learned that no matter how prepared you are or how good of shape you're in, anything can happen. So from now on, I'll prepare for any obstacle that the competition throws at me and I won't take any skill for granted.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to win the team gold medal?
Dylan Akers: It was an incredible experience. It's my second team gold medal at an international competition and it's one of the most satisfying feelings to know that you and your team worked together, persevered through all struggles and came out on top.

USA Gymnastics: How did you feel when they played the national anthem?
Dylan Akers: Jonathan Horton told me that simply being on the podium at the Olympic Games was one of the most unique and unbelievable experiences of his life. Hearing the national anthem play while standing on the first place podium with your team creates a feeling that's unparalleled by any award or place you win at any other competition. Frankly, it was awesome.

USA Gymnastics: Who did you room with and what was it like traveling with the USA team?
Dylan Akers: I roomed with Jake (Dalton). It's cool traveling with the USA team because we all had the same goal: to win. So no matter how little we knew about each other, we still had that connection and motivation to win.

USA Gymnastics: Was it difficult to get used to the time zone changes, equipment, food, etc?
Dylan Akers: Luckily there wasn't a time change for me, but everything else was as foreign as it gets. The food definitely something to get used to, but it worked. The equipment was very good. The only thing that I had trouble with was the floor.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to do anything special on your trip - like go to a banquet, sightsee, buy souvenirs, etc?
Dylan Akers: We went to a flea market a few miles from our hotel. I had never seen so many shops and people crammed into such a deceptively tiny place in my life. We also went to the historic district of Guadalajara and saw an old church. The last day we had a banquet with all the teams.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to meet any other athletes on your trip? What was that like?
Dylan Akers: I met a couple of guys from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Canada. They were actually guys who have lived or currently live in America so it was just like meeting someone new.

USA Gymnastics: How long were you gone and how did you deal with school when you were gone on your trip?
Dylan Akers: We were gone a week. I did my best to keep up with school while I was gone. I would email my teachers for info, which was really difficult because Mexico has very strange keyboards, and I also did my homework in my downtime.

USA Gymnastics: What was the first thing you wanted to do when you got home?
Dylan Akers: Eat the biggest, greasiest, most unhealthy burger I could get my hands on to offset the week of hotel food...and then go learn some new skills.

USA Gymnastics: What is your next event or goal in gymnastics?
Dylan Akers: I want to make Senior Team at Winter Cup.

USA Gymnastics: Anything else you'd like to share about your trip?
Dylan Akers: Just a little advice. Don't take any opportunity you're given for granted, even if it's your 7th J.O. Nationals or the Olympic Games. Appreciate what you are given and be thankful for all the support from family, friends, and teammates that made obtaining your goals possible, because it's immensely satisfying to achieve something you've worked so hard for and know that you couldn't have done it without your team and those who sacrificed for you.


McKayla Maroney - Oct. 5, 2010

USA Gymnastics: What was the best part of your trip to the Pan American Championships?
McKayla Maroney: The best part of my trip to Pan American Championships was the party after competing, where everyone got to dance and hang out together, it was really fun.

USA Gymnastics: Did you learn anything on this trip that you'll use for future competitions?
McKayla Maroney: I learned that you have to be prepared for anything. During event finals I had to warm up for my event, then wait three to four hours, and then be ready to compete when it was time.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to win the team gold medal?
McKayla Maroney: It was an amazing feeling to win the team gold medal, I was so happy that we all worked together and did what we needed to do.

USA Gymnastics: How did you feel when they played the national anthem?
McKayla Maroney: When they played the national anthem it hit me that we were really representing USA, and I felt so grateful to get the chance to do that.

USA Gymnastics: Did you win any other medals? If so, which ones, and can you describe your routines?
McKayla Maroney: I won the gold medals on vault and floor. My first vault was a Yurchenko 2.5, and my second vault was a half on front lay out half off. My tumbling passes on floor routine were double Arabian, full in, 1.5 step out connected to 2.5 twist, and my last pass was a double tuck. My leaps on floor were switch side half turn, switch leap step step Strug, and my last leap was a switch leap full turn.

USA Gymnastics: Who did you room with and what was it like traveling with the USA team?
McKayla Maroney: I roomed with Sabrina Vega. It's really fun traveling with the National Team because all the girls are really nice and we are all so close. It was very hard to say goodbye to all of the girls.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to be with Martha Karolyi and the other coaches on the trip?
McKayla Maroney: It was really cool to be with Martha Karolyi in Mexico. Martha is like a celebrity in the gymnastics world so it was an honor to be with her. Also, she's such a nice, caring person so I was glad to have her on the trip. It was fun getting to know the other coaches, too, they are all really nice people and we all worked together as a team.

USA Gymnastics: Was it difficult to get used to the time zone changes, equipment, food, etc?
McKayla Maroney: No it really wasn't hard at all to get used to the time change, we were fortunate enough that it was only a two hour time difference, so that was not a problem. The equipment in Mexico was also pretty nice, the only thing we had to get used to was the bars because their bars are more bouncy than ours, but we were used to them by the time we got to Mexico. The food was good we just had to be careful to drink only bottled water.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to do anything special on your trip - like go to a banquet, sightsee, buy souvenirs, etc?
McKayla Maroney: We went to a Wal Mart across the street from our hotel, and outside of the store were lots of hand-made items showing the Mexican culture, like hand-made toys, bracelets, hats, stickers and key chains. We also went to the banquet on the last of competition, which was really fun. All of the girls danced together and we had a blast.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to meet any other athletes on your trip? What was that like?
McKayla Maroney: I got to meet some gymnasts and coaches from all over the world. Everyone was really nice, and it was cool to see how they trained, and what they were like.

USA Gymnastics: How long were you gone and how did you deal with school when you were gone on your trip?
McKayla Maroney: I was gone for about two weeks, and luckily my school started a couple days after I got back, so it was still summer for me in Mexico.

USA Gymnastics: What was the first thing you wanted to do when you got home?
McKayla Maroney: I missed my 4-year-old sister Tarynn's birthday on the trip, and I got her a present from Mexico. When I got home the first thing I wanted to do was to say happy birthday and give her the present that I bought her! I also wanted to take her somewhere special.

USA Gymnastics: What is your next event or goal in gymnastics?
McKayla Maroney: My next goal in gymnastics is to stay healthy, get some new skills, and maybe go on some more trips this year.


Glen Ishino - Oct. 4, 2010

USA Gymnastics: What was the best part of your trip to the Pan American Championships?
Glen Ishino: There were a lot of aspects of Pan American Championships that made it an unforgettable experience. Our arena was colossal, food was authentic, and I especially enjoyed being able to travel with my fellow Cal teammate and compete with him beyond the collegiate level. Of course doing well in the meet, both individually and as a team, makes the trip especially worthwhile.

USA Gymnastics: Did you learn anything on this trip that you'll use for future competitions?
Glen Ishino: I think I finally got a grasp of how to remain calm before nerve-racking events such as pommel horse.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to win the team gold medal?
Glen Ishino: It was a huge honor and everybody equally played their part in gaining that gold medal. It felt great to just be a participant.

USA Gymnastics: How did you feel when they played the national anthem?
Glen Ishino: It was definitely a highlight of the meet for me, there was a huge sense of honor and pride in our country and our team.

USA Gymnastics: Did you win any other medals? If so, which ones, and can you describe your routine?
Glen Ishino: I won a gold medal on pommel horse and my routine consists of the following: Uphill 1/2 legcut, D Russian flop, E flop, Half travel down, Tong Fei, Reverse Wu, Magyar, Savado, Handstand 1/2 traveling dismount.

USA Gymnastics: Who did you room with and what was it like traveling with the USA team?
Glen Ishino: I roomed with Bryan del Castillo, who happens to also be a teammate of mine at University of Cal-Berkeley. Traveling with the USA team is always fun, we've gotten to know each other over the years after seeing each other at meets and camps so we have a good time.

USA Gymnastics: Was it difficult to get used to the time zone changes, equipment, food, etc?
Glen Ishino: The time change was only two hours so it wasn't too hard to adapt, although we did have work out extremely early so I was a bit more exhausted by the end of the day than usual. The equipment is always something you have to get used to, but luckily we have several days to work out on the apparatus before we compete. The food was great, but halfway through the week, I really wanted a club sandwich with bacon and French toast.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to do anything special on your trip?
Glen Ishino: We were able to go to the market during our free time. I bought a ton of sweets and souvenirs for my friends and family. We also had a banquet with very authentic and delicious Mexican food.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to meet any other athletes on your trip? What was that like?
Glen Ishino: It was an international meet so I was able to meet a lot of athletes from other countries. It gives me some perspective on different cultures and establishes friends worldwide.

USA Gymnastics: How long were you gone and how did you deal with school when you were gone on your trip?
Glen Ishino: It was a weeklong trip and, unfortunately, it happened to be the first week of school. I notified my professors before the trip so I was not dropped from any courses, but catching up on the curriculum is definitely a challenge.

USA Gymnastics: What was the first thing you wanted to do when you got home?
Glen Ishino: Sleep. The entire trip was so worthwhile but extremely exhausting.

USA Gymnastics: What is your next event or goal in gymnastics?
Glen Ishino: My goal is to help propel our Cal-Berkeley team towards winning the NCAA title this year. Since gymnastics has been cut at Cal-Berkeley, we should go all out and prove that it was a mistake to cut our program. Also, it's just a matter of school pride, we've been so close in the past, and it would be great to finally achieve the NCAA title.


Sarah Finnegan - Oct. 1, 2010

USA Gymnastics: What was the best part of your trip to the Pan American Championships? Sarah Finnegan: The best part of the trip to the Pan American Championship was winning the team gold medal.

USA Gymnastics: Did you learn anything on this trip that you'll use for future competitions?
Sarah Finnegan: Throughout the competition, I saw some skills I would like to try for future meets to raise my start value.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to win the team gold medal?
Sarah Finnegan: I felt so honored and proud of our team and our coaches for all the hard work we put in.

USA Gymnastics: How did you feel when they played the national anthem? Sarah Finnegan: When they played the National Anthem, I felt really proud to be standing there with my teammates and coaches and I was thankful to be with this great USA team.

USA Gymnastics: Did you win any other medals? If so, can you describe your routine?
Sarah Finnegan: Yes, I won a bronze medal. I placed third on beam for the individual finals.

USA Gymnastics: Who did you room with and what was it like traveling with the USA team?
Sarah Finnegan: I roomed with Brenna Dowell, who is also from GAGE. Traveling with the USA teams was fun. I made some new friends on the trip.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to be with Martha Karolyi and the other coaches on the trip?
Sarah Finnegan: Traveling with Miss Martha and the other coaches on the trip was a great learning experience for me. Miss Martha always reminded us to be 100% focused in order to get our job done.

USA Gymnastics: Was it difficult to get used to the time zone changes, equipment, food, etc?
Sarah Finnegan: We had to adjust to the food there, and we could not drink or brush our teeth with the tap water. We used the purified water bottles. There was no time zone change. We had to switch to the new equipment but it was not a difficult adjustment.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to do anything special on your trip - like go to a banquet, sightsee, buy souvenirs, etc?
Sarah Finnegan: We were able to have a little time to buy souvenirs for ourselves and our family. When the competition was over, we had a banquet with all of the other countries. There was dinner and dancing. It was a lot of fun to just have fun and dance with everybody.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to meet any other athletes on your trip? What was that like?
Sarah Finnegan: Yes, we got to meet some athletes from other countries but we mainly talked with the Canadians because they were the only ones who spoke English.

USA Gymnastics: How long were you gone and how did you deal with school when you were gone on your trip?
Sarah Finnegan: We were gone for 11 days. I brought my schoolwork, but it was a little hard to do homework because we were really busy.

USA Gymnastics: What was the first thing you wanted to do when you got home?
Sarah Finnegan: The first thing I wanted to do when I got home was to rest and spend time with my family.

USA Gymnastics: What is your next event or goal in gymnastics?
Sarah Finnegan: My next goal is to upgrade my routines and work hard to get another international assignment.


Sabrina Vega - Sept. 30, 2010

USA Gymnastics: What was the best part of your trip to the Pan American Championships?
Sabrina Vega: The experience of being on an international assignment is amazing in itself. The best part of this trip was winning the team gold medal and also winning first place on beam.

USA Gymnastics: Did you learn anything on this trip that you'll use for future competitions?
Sabrina Vega: While I have never done this before, in this competition I looked at the standings after my third event. I learned to never look at the standings until the competition is completely over because it can break your concentration.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to win the team gold medal?
Sabrina Vega: Winning the team gold is always so exciting and I was honored to be a part of the team standing on the podium.

USA Gymnastics: How did you feel when they played the national anthem?
Sabrina Vega: Every time they played the national anthem it was such a sense of accomplishment not only for me but also for team USA. It is an overwhelming feeling when the national anthem is played and such an honor. Having the opportunity to represent USA, winning and having them play the national anthem is indescribable.

USA Gymnastics: Did you win any other medals? If so, which ones, and can you describe your routine?
Sabrina Vega: Yes, I did win individual medals. I won second place in the all-around and I won first place on beam. My beam routine includes: side aerial; front aerial, back handspring layout; front tuck; sheep jump; switch leap, back pike; full turn; split jump, sissone; switch ring; back handspring, back handspring, double pike dismount.

USA Gymnastics: Who did you room with and what was it like traveling with the USA team?
Sabrina Vega: I roomed with Makayla Maroney. Traveling with team USA has always been a great experience for me. I enjoy traveling with the team and spending time with all the girls. This is where all the great memories begin.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to be with Martha Karolyi and the other coaches on the trip?
Sabrina Vega: I enjoy being on trips with Martha and the other coaches. Martha really cares about us girls and does everything she can for us. She is a really nice person and she can be really funny sometimes, too.

USA Gymnastics: Was it difficult getting used to the time zone, food, etc?
Sabrina Vega: It was not difficult at all to adjust to the time zones because it was the same time as in Texas where we were training prior to the trip. The food was not a problem because we had our set meal plans which was very helpful.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to do anything special on your trip?
Sabrina Vega: Yes, we had a banquet on the last night and we also were able to go shopping one of the days across the street from our hotel.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to meet any other athletes on your trip? What was that like?
Sabrina Vega: Yes, we got to meet a lot of other gymnasts from different countries, which is pretty exciting. I enjoy meeting other gymnasts from different countries and since I have been on other assignments and have already met some of the girls; it's really nice to see them again.

USA Gymnastics: How long were you gone and how did you deal with school when you were gone on your trip?
Sabrina Vega: We were gone for 12 days, including the selection camp the week prior. I was not able to do any schoolwork while we were gone so I definitely have to catch up now that I am home.

USA Gymnastics: What was the first thing you wanted to do when you got home?
Sabrina Vega: The first thing I wanted to do when I got home was relax and spend time with my family. I enjoy coming home, giving them the gifts that I had bought and just telling them all about my trip.

USA Gymnastics: What is your next event or goal in gymnastics?
Sabrina Vega: Since I am not eligible for World Championships this year, I am just planning on going back to my gym and upgrading and polishing up all my routines.


Brenna Dowell - Sept. 21, 2010

USA Gymnastics: What was the best part of your trip to the Pan American Championships?
Brenna Dowell: The best part of the trip was hanging out with all of my teammates and getting to compete with them. It was a great experience.

USA Gymnastics: Did you learn anything on this trip that you'll use for future competitions?
Brenna Dowell: One thing I learned was how to compete as a team.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to win the team gold medal?
Brenna Dowell: To win the team medal was great. It was cool to be on top of the podium with the gold medal hanging around my neck. And when they played the National Anthem it was a great feeling to know that you earned that medal for your country and that all of your hard work paid off.

USA Gymnastics: Who did you room with?
Brenna Dowell: I roomed with Sarah Finnegan who is my GAGE teammate so we have roomed together before.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to be with Martha Karolyi and the other coaches on the trip?
Brenna Dowell: It was really cool getting to travel with Martha on the trip. Especially because I have grown up knowing her as the National Team coordinator and she is part of the committee that picks the Olympic and World teams and now I am travelling with her.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to do anything fun on your trip?
Brenna Dowell: We got to take some pictures in the courtyard of our hotel and go to the banquet.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to meet any other athletes on your trip? What was that like?
Brenna Dowell: I met some Canadians and some girls who didn't speak English at the banquet. It was cool meeting people who aren't from the USA.

USA Gymnastics: How long were you gone and how did you deal with school when you were gone on your trip?
Brenna Dowell: We were gone for 11 days. I had just started school two weeks before so homework wasn't too bad. I got some homework before I left and the rest when I came back.

USA Gymnastics: What was the first thing you wanted to do when you got home?
Brenna Dowell: The first thing I wanted to do when I got home was say hello to my family and sleep in my own bed.

USA Gymnastics: What is your next event or goal in gymnastics?
Brenna Dowell: My next goal is to keep working hard and get some new skills.


Kyla Ross - Sept. 20, 2010

USA Gymnastics: What was the best part of your trip to the Pan American Championships?
Kyla Ross: The best part of my trip to the Pan American Championships was taking all of the pictures outside the hotel with everyone.

USA Gymnastics: Did you learn anything on this trip that you'll use for future competitions?
Kyla Ross: I learned on this trip that you should compete your routines the same way you practice them. Also, you have to keep going strong until the end.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to win the team gold medal?
Kyla Ross: I was excited to win the team gold because our team worked hard.

USA Gymnastics: How did you feel when they played the national anthem?
Kyla Ross: When the National Anthem was playing I felt happy knowing we represented our country well.

USA Gymnastics: Did you win any other medals? If so, which ones, and can you describe your routine?
Kyla Ross: I got first in the all-around and second on floor exercise. My passes on floor are round-off back handspring double Arabian, round-off back handspring tucked full-in, round off 1-1/2 step out round-off back handspring 2-1/2, and round-off back handspring double tuck. My dance skills are switch side 1/2, leg up full turn, and switch ring torjete half.

USA Gymnastics: Who did you room with and what was it like traveling with the USA team?
Kyla Ross: I roomed with Gabrielle Douglas and I had a good time traveling with the USA team.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to be with Martha Karolyi and the other coaches on the trip?
Kyla Ross: I enjoyed being with Martha and the other coaches because we are all part of the USA team and everyone helps each other to achieve the best for the team.

USA Gymnastics: Was it difficult to get used to the time zone changes, food, etc?
Kyla Ross: There was not a time difference from Houston, where we were training before the Pan American Championships, so I didn't have to get used to any time difference. The one thing I had to be careful of was only drinking bottled water.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to do anything special on your trip - like go to a banquet, sightsee, buy souvenirs, etc?
Kyla Ross: We went to a banquet after the competition was over with all of the other athletes and we also went souvenir shopping one day.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to meet any other athletes on your trip? What was that like?
Kyla Ross: I got to meet the athletes from many of the North and South American countries and we traded small gifts with each other.

USA Gymnastics: How long were you gone and how did you deal with school when you were gone on your trip?
Kyla Ross: I was gone for a total of 10 days, three days at National Team Camp and seven days in Mexico. I had not started school yet so I didn't have any work, but I did read a lot.

USA Gymnastics: What was the first thing you wanted to do when you got home?
Kyla Ross: The first thing I wanted to do when I got home was give my sister the presents I got her in Mexico because it was her birthday.

USA Gymnastics: What is your next event or goal in gymnastics?
Kyla Ross: My goals in gymnastics are to get some new skills in my routines for next year.


Alex Buscaglia - Sept. 17, 2010

USA Gymnastics: What was the best part of your trip to the Pan American Championships?
Alex Buscaglia: Obviously winning the team competition was amazing. Being a part of a group of guys who came together to accomplish something great is always an inspiring situation. But along with the competition, we got to go "explore" Guadalajara with our translators. Just going around the city with the team was pretty fun.

USA Gymnastics: Did you learn anything on this trip that you'll use for future competitions?
Alex Buscaglia: I definitely did learn a lot from this. I have competed internationally before (Toyota Cup 2009), but this was my first team competition. It was a pretty amazing experience and I walked away learning a lot about myself. Most importantly, I learned how to trust myself. I have been to A LOT of competitions in my career, but this was the first one that I actually let myself DO gymnastics, rather than trying to make it happen. Just letting myself go and knowing that the outcome would be great really due to the immense amount of training was an incredible feeling. And to have the results that I did (team Gold and high bar Gold) to show for it makes it much more useful.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to win the team gold medal?
Alex Buscaglia: To come together with five other guys, all from different backgrounds, and truly pull out a great performance (not perfect but great) was incredible. I've always wanted to be a part of a USA team, and now I have that experience. To stand on that podium, not just by myself but with the others guys, was something I've never felt before. It wasn't just being happy for myself; it was being happy for each and every guy up there with me. It was really special.

USA Gymnastics: How did you feel when they played the national anthem?
Alex Buscaglia: That's really funny that you asked. I have watched so many other international competitions where guys from the USA would go up and have the anthem played. For some reason, just the anthem playing for me and the team I was on was an incredible dream I had when I was younger. To have accomplished it is truly unbelievable.

USA Gymnastics: Did you win any other medals? If so, which ones, and can you describe your routine?
Alex Buscaglia: Yes, I won the gold on high bar! My skills are: stem hop weiler full to el-grip, half tak + straddle tkatchev half, full tak + yamawaki, layout tkatchev + gienger, full spin to el-grip, quast, layout double double.

USA Gymnastics: Who did you room with and what was it like traveling with the USA team?
Alex Buscaglia: I roomed with Wes (Haagensen). Traveling with the USA team really brings out a sense of pride. To be walking around, representing an entire country, is something not many people get to experience. I am so grateful to be able to say, "I was a part of the USA team. I represented my country, and I succeeded in truly portraying our country's pride."

USA Gymnastics: Was it difficult to get used to the time zone change, equipment, food, etc?
Alex Buscaglia: The time zone was only a two-hour difference, and it's the same time zone as my hometown, so that wasn't too bad. The equipment wasn't too bad either, except for the floor. That truly was the hardest floor to get accustomed to that I've ever competed on. It was a foam block floor, and the timing never seemed to be the same for me.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to do anything special on your trip?
Alex Buscaglia: We had a banquet that was pretty cool. We got to take pictures with the other teams, which is always fun. But we also got to go see the city a bit. The day after team finals, we went to the historic part of Guadalajara and saw the cathedral (which was awesome, see photo) and some other cool places. After that, we got to go to this flea market-type place that was enormous and bartered, which is always fun.

USA Gymnastics: How long were you gone and how did you deal with school when you were gone on your trip?
Alex Buscaglia: We were gone for a week. Luckily, I hadn't started school yet, so I did not have to deal with that.

USA Gymnastics: What was the first thing you wanted to do when you got home?
Alex Buscaglia: Eat Chinese food!!!

USA Gymnastics: What is your next event or goal in gymnastics?
Alex Buscaglia: My next goals are to re-make the national team in February, get another assignment during the summer, and finally make the 2011 World Team.


Gabrielle Douglas - Sept. 16, 2010

USA Gymnastics: What was the best part of your trip to the Pan American Championships?
Gabrielle Douglas: The best part of my trip to the Pan Am Championship for me was being able to travel and compete outside of the country with my teammates.

USA Gymnastics: Did you learn anything on this trip that you'll use for future competitions?
Gabrielle Douglas: Yes, I learned that you have to handle and control stress in order to perform well.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to win the team gold medal?
Gabrielle Douglas: I was honored to compete for my country and help my teammates win the gold medal.

USA Gymnastics: How did you feel when they played the national anthem?
Gabrielle Douglas: When they played the National Anthem, I was so happy.

USA Gymnastics: Did you win any other medals? If so, which ones, and can you describe your routine?
Gabrielle Douglas: I won the gold medal on uneven bars. My bar routine is: in-bar stalder, stalder, tkatchev, pak salto, kip hop, endo, pirouette, stalder up, stalder full, full in dismount.

USA Gymnastics: Who did you room with and what was it like traveling with the USA team?
Gabrielle Douglas: I roomed with Kyla Ross. I was so excited to travel with the National Team. Wearing my team jacket with the USA on the back, filled me with pride!

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to be with Martha Karolyi and the other coaches on the trip?
Gabrielle Douglas: I was a little nervous because I didn't want to let Martha or the other coaches down. I'm so glad that I got the experience of traveling with Martha to an international meet.

USA Gymnastics: Was it difficult to get used to the time zone changes, equipment, food, etc?
Gabrielle Douglas: The time change wasn't that bad because it was only an hour behind what I am used to. I didn't have any problems training on the equipment and I actually enjoyed the food.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to do anything special on your trip - like go to a banquet, sightsee, buy souvenirs, etc?
Gabrielle Douglas: We went to a banquet when the meet was over. It was so fun! We danced and had a blast!

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to meet any other athletes on your trip? What was that like?
Gabrielle Douglas: I met a lot of gymnasts from other countries. It was amazing talking to athletes from different parts of South America.

USA Gymnastics: How long were you gone and how did you deal with school when you were gone on your trip?
Gabrielle Douglas: I was gone for about 10 days. I always work my school work around my gymnastics schedule. Sometimes it is a little difficult to balance both of them, but I love doing this sport, so I don't mind.

USA Gymnastics: What was the first thing you wanted to do when you got home?
Gabrielle Douglas: Hug my family, pets included.

USA Gymnastics: What is your next event or goal in gymnastics?
Gabrielle Douglas: My next goal is to get another assignment so I can compete at another international meet.


Jake Dalton - Posted Sept. 15, 2010

USA Gymnastics: What was the best part of your trip to the Pan American Championships?
Jake Dalton: Being on the first place podium for team gold.

USA Gymnastics: Did you learn anything on this trip that you'll use for future competitions?
Jake Dalton: Yes. That being prepared brings me confidence and I feel that I am more comfortable with my confidence in my gymnastics.

USA Gymnastics: What was it like to win the team gold medal?
Jake Dalton: It was the best feeling. I have not been on an international assignment for a team competition before so this being the first one and bringing home the gold felt great. It felt like we did what we were supposed to do.

USA Gymnastics: How did you feel when they played the national anthem?
Jake Dalton: I felt really excited. It was a good feeling. I'll try to remember it so I can take it into the gym and work even harder to experience that feeling again.

USA Gymnastics: Did you win any other medals? If so, which ones, and can you describe your routine?
Jake Dalton: Yes, I won a bronze medal on floor. I mounted with a piked double Arabian, layout Thomas, whip 1.5 connected to front 1.5, whip tuck Thomas, back 2.5 front .5, and dismounted a triple full.

USA Gymnastics: Who did you room with and what was it like traveling with the USA team?
Jake Dalton: I roomed with Dylan Akers. It was really fun because the longer we were together the more we bonded.

USA Gymnastics: Was it difficult to get used to the time zone changes, equipment, food, etc?
Jake Dalton: The equipment wasn't too bad. Some things were harder to get used to than others, but it wasn't too hard. The food was just different and very repetitive.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to do anything special on your trip - like go to a banquet, sightsee, buy souvenirs, etc?
Jake Dalton: We went to a flea market type thing and we got to walk around and kind of see some culture such as some churches that were downtown. That was really cool.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to meet any other athletes on your trip? What was that like?
Jake Dalton: Yes, we met a lot of athletes and they were cool. A lot of them have the same goals as us.

USA Gymnastics: How long were you gone and how did you deal with school when you were gone on your trip?
Jake Dalton: We were gone for a week. I had people in my class take notes for me so I could get them when I return and I also communicated with my teachers before I left.

USA Gymnastics: What was the first thing you wanted to do when you got home?
Jake Dalton: Eat some good food and hang out with my girlfriend.

USA Gymnastics: What is your next event or goal in gymnastics?
Jake Dalton: My next goal is to get ready for the season and 2011 Winter Cup.

USA Gymnastics: Anything else you'd like to share about your trip?
Jake Dalton: Just thank you to those who selected me to go on this trip because it was a great experience.