Ruggeri adds two more medals to the U.S. Pan American Games tally
posted on 10/28/2011
Photos by Grace Chiu

GUADALAJARA, Mexico, Oct. 28, 2011 – Adding to the final medal count for the U.S. gymnasts, Paul Ruggeri III of Manlius, N.Y./University Of Illinois, tacked on a gold and silver to conclude the gymnastics competition at the 2011 Pan American Games.

The U.S. artistic gymnasts finished out the Pan Am Games with a total of 10 medals, including six gold, two silver, and two bronze.

"Whenever I'm at these competitions I am really grateful," Ruggeri said. "Ever since I was a little kid I have wanted to make it to this point. I would work so hard and was never really sure if it was possible, but now all that hard work is finally paying off."

On vault, the first event of the day, Ruggeri performed a Yurchenko half on, double twisting front off for his first vault, but struggled with the landing on his second vault with a Kasamatsu one and a half, averaging a score of 14.862 and a seventh-place finish.

Ruggeri continued on to the parallel bars, hitting a solid routine, complete with a front one-and-a-quarter, Diamidov, Stutz, Stutz to one bar and stuck double pike dismount to earn a score of 14.825. He finished in a three-way tie for second, earning the silver medal. Sho Nakamori of Albany, Calif./Champions Academy, followed Ruggeri's performance but fell on his peach half scoring 13.475 and finished in eighth place.

For the women, the U.S. did not have a competitor in the balance beam event finals, but Jessie DeZiel of Rogers, Minn./Twin City Twisters, competed on floor exercise. Her routine included a piked full twisting double back, a one-and-a-half through to a two-and-a-half twist, a front handspring layout Rudi, and a double pike dismount. She scored 13.325 and finished in sixth place.

On high bar, Ruggeri earned his second medal of the day, this time it was gold. Ruggeri scored a 15.650 for his solid routine including a stuck double twisting double layout dismount. C.J. Maestas of Corrales, N.M./University of Illinois, scored a 14.175 and also had a nice double twisting double layout dismount with one small hop and finished in seventh place.

"To be able to turn it around after my last two event finals was a big deal for me," Ruggeri said. "I continue to learn more about myself and what I'm capable of every day."