Lisa Wang, Photo A A(C) US Presswire: Mark Rebilas
© Mark J Rebilas

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, July 27, 2007 – Rhythmic gymnast Lisa Wang of Buffalo Grove, Ill., was crowned the individual all-around champion at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and teammate Julie Zetlin of Bethesda, Md., just missed the podium and finished fourth.

“We are so proud of Lisa and Julie,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “They have been working hard this year and their performance in Rio is a testament to their effort. This accomplishment is significant for both of these athletes as well as the entire rhythmic program.”

“Right now I am speechless,” said Wang, who earned the USA’s second consecutive all-around Pan Am gold medal. “I have been working for a Pan American medal for so long and I am so happy I could come here and show everything I have been working on. The hours in the gym have certainly paid off.”

Wang posted a 57.725 total in the all-around, which features competition in four rhythmic events. She earned the highest score in each of the events: 14.475 in rope, 14.375 in hoop, 14.550 in clubs and 14.325 in ribbon. Mexico’s Cynthia Valdez and Rut Castillo finished second and third, respectively, at 54.925 and 54.850.

“Seeing the flag raised was a feeling of pride for my country and for what I had achieved,” said Wang. “It was a moment of respect for the flag and everything that I represent. It was an amazing experience to hear the national anthem and know that I was the one who helped make it happen.”

Zetlin, who finished ninth in the qualification round, finished just shy of the bronze medal with a score of 54.800.

“Today I was just not thinking about scores or judges,” said Zetlin. “My number one focus was to look like I had a lot of energy and make my routines like a show; and that’s what happened and it worked out well for me.”