GUADALAJARA, Mexico, Oct. 15, 2011 – Making her second appearance at the Pan American Games tonight in Guadalajara, Mexico, Julie Zetlin of Bethesda, Md./Capital Rhythmics, took home the gold in the individual all-around competition.

Halfway through the competition, with two events left, Mexico’s Cynthia Valdez had the lead by 0.23 of a point. It all came down to the last five minutes of today’s individual rhythmic competition to decipher who, between Zetlin and Valdez, would win the all-around title at the Nissan Gymnastics Stadium in the Lopez Mateos Sports Complex in Guadalajara, Mexico. And after Zetlin’s flawless ribbon routine and two drops of the clubs for Valdez, Zetlin was crowned champion with a 100.850 overall score. Valdez placed second with 100.325, and Angelica Kvieczynski of Brazil finished third with 98.200.

"I think sometimes an athlete’s mentality can be there biggest opponent," Zetlin said, "I wasn’t trying to focus on who was my biggest competitor, but more on how I was going to stay strong and consistent."

2011 U.S. national all-around champion Shelby Kisiel of Missouri City, Texas/North Shore Rhythmic, placed seventh in tonight competition with a second-place finish in clubs (24.800).

"You know, for being at my first Pan Am Games, I really don’t feel like I did that bad. I had the second highest score in clubs," Kisiel said after the competition, "So I know there is a chance for me in the event finals."

Earning the highest scores in both hoop and clubs (25.400 and 25.300) and second inball and ribbon (24.925 and 25.225), respectively, Zetlin showed just how much she has learned and grown as a gymnast over the past four years since her first appearance at the Pan Am Games.

"It’s just really awesome to think back on how frustrated I would get with the little things in my performance at the last Pan Am Games, and then to come back four years later and see how much I have matured and that it pays off with a win."

Competition will continue tomorrow with the rhythmic group all-around competition, which will qualify them for individual group event finals Oct. 17-18, where Kisiel and Zetlin will also continue on to the individual event finals. Click here for live streaming of event finals.

Rhythmic Individial All-Around Finals
1. Julie Zetlin, USA – 100.850
2. Cynthia Valdez, MEX – 100.325
3. Angelica Kvieczynski, BRA – 98.200
4. Mariam Chamilova, CAN – 95.175
5. Darya Shara, ARG – 94.225
6. Maria Kitkarska, CAN – 93.425
7. Shelby Kisiel, USA – 92.500
8. Ana Carrasco Pini, ARG – 92.300

U.S. Individual Scores

Julie Zetlin – 25.400
Shelby Kisiel – 22.225

Julie Zetlin – 24.925
Shelby Kisiel – 22.925

Julie Zetlin – 25.300
Shelby Kisiel – 24.800

Julie Zetlin – 25.225
Shelby Kisiel – 22.550