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Travel & Training grantees dominate at recent Pan American and Parapan American competitions

The U.S. women’s water polo team, Women’s Sports Foundation Travel & Training grantees in 2010, had a very successful Pan Am Games, earning automatic qualification for the London Games next summer. After scoring a tying goal in the final minute of regulation, the American women lasted four penalty rounds to beat Canada 27-26. While the U.S. women finished sixth at the recent World Championships in Shanghai, they are still considered to be strong Olympic medal contenders.

2011 T&T recipient Carrie Johnson won the women's K1 500-meter kayak event to qualify her boat for the London Games. Unlike athletes in other sports, in which second- and third-chance berths still remain at future qualification tournaments, flatwater canoeists and kayakers faced their final chance to qualify for the Olympics while in Guadalajara at the Pan Am Games. Johnson also won the women's K1 200-meter event.

Another 2011 recipient, Aretha Thurmond, won silver in the discus. The Alabama native, a three-time Olympian, is on track to qualify for her fourth Games with these outstanding results in Guadalajara. Thurmond says she is “super excited” about her medal.

Travel & Training winners also proved their dominance at the Parapan American Games. Archer Natalie Wells, a 2011 grantee, took silver in the Individual Recurve W2 as part of a 1-2-3 American sweep. Katie Davis, 2010 T&T winner, claimed silver in the women’s +70kg judo competition. She said of her results, “I had to gain weight to be in the plus division, so that’s been hard, but to see all of that training pay off has been great. The girl I beat was the Paralympic silver medalist, so that made me really happy. This win today gets me one step closer, points-wise, to realizing my goal of London.”