Editor's note: This story has been updated to note that a few sports' gold medals do not indicate a direct qualification to the 2024 Olympics.
Several Colorado athletes qualified for the 2024 Olympics during the recent Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.
About 650 athletes from the United States competed in the Pan Am Games, which started on Oct. 20 and ended Nov. 5, with closing ceremonies on Nov. 5. They went up against about 6,000 other athletes from Canada, Central America countries, South America countries and the Caribbean.
The United States came away with 124 gold medals, 74 silver medals and 83 bronze medals. In several sports, a gold medal is a ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said 12 U.S. athletes and three teams clinched direct qualifications to Paris 2024 in men’s and women’s water polo and artistic swimming duet. In addition, Team USA secured seven Olympic quota spots in archery, equestrian, sailing and shooting.
Climbing made its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2020. There was one men's event and one women's event — each had a combo of results from competitions of speed, bouldering and leading. For the Paris Olympics, there are two events per gender: a speed event and a combined event for boulder and lead.
The women's combined final at the Pan Am Games was held on Tuesday. Two of the three finalists call Boulder home: Brooke Raboutou and Natalia Grossman. Grossman secured the win and her ticket to Paris 2024 while Raboutou took the silver.
Grossman said she has made changes in the past few months that led to Tuesday's success.
“My feelings are just like gratitude and joy for all those people who have been a part of my journey and those who have just been there with me these past few months,” she told Team USA. “I changed a lot up in my life and in training. And to see it pay off, it feels incredible.”
Raboutou told Team USA that finishing second took an emotional toll.
“This is a hard competition," she said. "As excited as I am to be on the podium, it’s an Olympic qualifier and it was only the winner who goes. We all knew this would be pretty devastating for the second place person. Natalia and I have worked very hard and are at a similar level. We knew it would be a battle between us.”
Colin Duffy, of Broomfield, previously earned his ticket to the Paris Olympics in August at the World Championships in Bern, Switzerland in the boulder and lead climbing category, where he placed second.
Erika Manilla, of Centennial, along with her partner — and brother — Adam Manilla, of California, won the gold medal in the mixed doubles for racquetball.
The duo swept a team from Argentina 3-0 in the gold medal match.
“This is just an absolute dream,” Erika told Team USA. “This is the biggest stage we get with our sport, and I got to do it alongside my best friend and my mentor, my brother.”
Erika is the only U.S. athlete to qualify in all three racquetball events — singles, doubles and mixed doubles, according to Team USA.
Khalfani Harris, whose hometown is in Florida but who currently is assigned to the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program in Fort Carson, won gold in the Taekwondo men's kyorugi 68 kilogram category.
According to his Army World Class Athlete Program profile, he started sparring when he was 6 years and fell in love with the sport. Between high school and joining the Army, he made Team USA.
Lukas Miller of Broomfield won the gold medal in the men's 100-meter butterfly on Sunday.
He is a 10-time All American and nine-time ACC champion, according to NC State Swimming. He is now a senior at the school.
He graduated from Legacy High School in Broomfield.
The Pan American Games are not an Olympic-qualifying meet for swimming.
Rylan Kissell, of Denver, won gold on Sunday alongside Mary Tucker, of Florida, for mixed team air rifle.
The 21-year-old currently attends the University of Alaska Fairbanks and was named an NCAA All American athlete for the 2021-2022 season, according to USA Shooting. He began shooting competitively when he was 13 years old.
Kissell also won silver in the men's 10m air rifle.
According to USA Shooting, Olympic quotas were obtained in three events, excluding mixed team air rifle.
Canyon Barry, of Colorado Springs, won gold along with the rest of Team USA's 3x3 men's basketball team. They have qualified for the 2024 Olympics.
He has been an active part of the USA 3x3 Men's Basketball Team for several years, according to the University of Florida, which he attends.
Basketball is in the Barry family's blood and Canyon said he took a few tips from his dad, NBA legend Rick Barry, ahead of the tournament, according to Denver7's partners KOAA.
"Our team has been working really hard all year on the professional circuit playing under the USA banner with Team Miami," Barry said in mid-October. "To now be able to switch out those jerseys for the USA ones means a lot, it's the same goal every time you put on those letters."
Zachary Lokken, of Durango, won the gold medal in men's C1 canoeing on Sunday.
He has been with the USA Canoe/Kayak Team since 2012.
In 2019, he won a gold medal in the men's slalom C-1 at the Pan American Games. His first international debut came in 2009 at the world championships, when he was just 15 years old, according to the USA Canoe/Kayak Team.
During the 2020 Olympics, he placed 7th, just 2.38 seconds from third place.
Sgt. Joanne Fa'avesi and 1st Lt. Sammy Sullivan, who are both on the U.S. Women's Rugby 7s team, helped their team earn a gold medal at the Pan Am Games, clinching their qualifications for the 2024 Olympics.
Fa'avesi was born in Sacramento, California and now lives in Colorado Springs as an athlete with the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program. She joined the Army in November 2017, according to her bio page on the Army WCAP website.
She played rugby through high school and then on a traveling team. She made the roster for the U.S. Women's 7s team for the 2014-2015 World Rugby Series and was then contracted to train full-time at the Olympic Training Center in early 2015, according to the Army WCAP.
Fa'avesi was previously on the 2016 and 2020 U.S. Olympic Rugby Team.
Teammate Sullivan, also in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, is a member of the Colorado Gray Wolves club. Her hometown is in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She joined the Army in 2020, according to her bio page on the Army WCAP website.
She first participated in rugby during basic training at West Point. Her father had also played in college and in the Army.
The team beat Canada for the gold.
Colorado State University's head softball coach Sahvanna Jaquish was part of the team that won the gold medal for softball at the Pan Am Games.
She joined CSU as a coach in August 2022. She was the first four-time All-American for LSU before she played for Team USA, according to her bio page on CSU's website.
"I am so grateful for this experience and being able to come together as a team once again!" she wrote on Instagram after the win. "I always take back the best mems, and so many valuable lessons that I will have with me forever. I CANNOT BELIEVE we played the FIRST ever international softball game in Chile, vs Chile, on the only field in the entire country!"
She is from Highland, California. She was also a gold medalist at the 2022 Pan Am Games.
Baseball and softball will not be played at the 2024 Olympics.
Ildar Hafizov, who lives in Colorado Springs, is assigned to the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP). He won gold in the Greco-Roman wrestling finals of the 60kg weight class.
He started wrestling when he was 10 years old and then began winning national championships, according to his bio page on Army WCAP. He joined the Army in May 2015.
According to Team USA, he is a two-time Olympian and past Pan American Games bronze medalist.
In the 2020 Olympics, he finished 12th overall in the Greco-Roman 60kg category.
He moved to Colorado from Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
In addition, Kamal Bey, also of Colorado Springs, won the gold medal in the men's Greco-Roman 77kg weight class. He is also in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program. He joined the Army in May 2021.
He started wrestling at the age of 3 and fell in love with the sport after his father signed him up for a local kids club.
"The win in Santiago solidified Bey as the top Greco-Roman competitor at 77 kg in the Western Hemisphere as he backed up his Pan American Championships title from last May," Team USA reported.
According to Olympics.com, the Pan Am Games are not a qualifying pathway to the 2024 Olympics.