Kingston, November 3, 2023 – Ali ten Hove from Kingston, ON, and Mariah Millen from Toronto, ON, won the silver medal in 49erFX, while Will Jones from Jerseyville, ON, and Justin Barnes from Pickering, ON, earned bronze in 49er, Friday, at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.
Both teams also allowed Canada to earn spots in their respective classes at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games by being the top finisher from the North American and Caribbean countries in the competition, except for the USA, who had already secured spots in these events at the 2023 Sailing World Championships.
In 49erFX, Mariah Millen was even more proud of her comeback from an injury, which she suffered last summer and prevented the team from taking part in the 2023 Sailing World Championships, than about winning the medal itself.
“I’m just so grateful to be here and I tried to keep a really positive outlook over the past few weeks and motivated myself to just keep working at it, and that if I truly believed that I could be here, that I would be able to do well,” said Mariah Millen. “I’m just so grateful for all the support that I’ve received from my medical team, which has allowed me to be able to be here, and I’m just so excited for the future ahead.”
“Overcoming Mariah’s knee injury was the real goal, and I think if you had asked us just 10 weeks ago if we would be here or Mariah would be here, we would have said no,” said Ali ten Hove. “So it was a huge accomplishment and a testament to all the hard work Mariah did, as did back home the team that was supporting us. I think the silver medal is just icing on top and it’s amazing to get it and show that we can battle it out here with the top teams.”
They not only redeemed themselves after the Lima 2019 Pan American Games, where they finished at the foot of the podium in fourth position, but they also qualified a spot for Canada at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
“We are very proud to represent Canada and want to stand as strong as a team as we can,” added ten Hove. “To lock in that spot, knowing that someone’s going to get to go compete in the 49erFX, is amazing. And now, it’s just up to us on our end to work as hard as we can to be selected as the team that will get to go to Paris next summer.”
Less than a year together and a spot at the Olympics
In 49er, Justin Barnes and Will Jones were excited about their medal after teaming up only as recently as the fall of 2022.
“This bronze medal feels good,” said Justin Barnes, who won a bronze medal in the event at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games with Alexander Heinzemann. “It was a long week of racing this week, all races were very close until the very end, and we’ve been putting it all out there all week. It was nice to come away with both of our goals, which was to qualify Canada for the Olympic Games and win a medal.”
“It feels amazing to qualify a spot for Canada in 49er for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games,” added Tokyo 2020 Olympian Will Jones. “That’s the ultimate goal to get back to the Olympics and really perform there. We’re one step closer to that and we’re super stoked about it.”
In men’s kiteboarding, Mac Morrin from Kingston, ON, ended in seventh position overall, while Rebecca Heller from Ottawa, ON, took the ninth position in women’s iQFoil, following the medal series in both events which were held Friday.
Potential additional medals to come Saturday
The sailing competition at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games have one more day of medal races to go on Saturday, and Canada may add more medals on that occasion.
ILCA 6: Sarah Douglas from Toronto, ON, is second overall, 10 points behind Erika Reineke from the USA, and eight points ahead of Luciana Cardozo from Argentina. Canada has already secured a spot in this event for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Nacra 17: Madeline Gillis from Halifax, N.S., and Galen Richardson from Toronto, ON, are in fourth position following the preliminary races. The Canadian team has 46 points and is trailing third-place Brazil by 19 points.
Sunfish (non-Olympic event): Rio 2016 Olympian in Laser Lee Parkhill from Oakville, ON, is currently first overall, one point in front of Jean Paul de Trazegnies Valdez from Peru and two points ahead of Diego González Parro from Chile.
Lightning (non-Olympic event): the Canadian team comprised of Rachel Green (Burlington, ON), Jessica Hirschbold (Victoria, B.C.) and Luke Ramsay (Vancouver, B.C.) is sitting in fourth place, four points behind Argentina in third position.
How Canadian athletes will qualify themselves for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games
In the classes in which Canada will have spots for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, athletes and teams will be able to qualify themselves as per the following selection process:
The athlete/team with the lowest score combined position (for example, 1st+21st) from the 2024 World Championships in their respective classes and the 2024 Princess Sofia Regatta, added together, will be selected based on a sailing scoring system (lowest score first).
If there is a tie, the athlete/team in the higher position (based on the sailing scoring system) at the 2024 Princess Sofia Regatta will qualify to be nominated. If an event is cancelled, it will be replaced by the 2024 European Championships of the class.
Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee after it has received nominations from all National Sport Organizations.
Canada’s next opportunity to qualify the country’s spots for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be:
-ILCA 7: 2024 ILCA 7 Men’s World Championship (January 2024 in Adelaide, Australia)
-Other classes: at the last chance regatta to be held at the 2024 French Olympic Week (April 2024 in Hyères, France)
Full qualification processes for countries to qualify spots at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, as well as for Canadians to qualify themselves to be nominated to the Paris 2024 Team Canada squad, are available at https://www.sailing.ca/sc_event/2024-olympic-games/.
About Sail Canada
Established in 1931, Sail Canada is the national governing body for the sport of sailing in the country. Sail Canada is a leading international sailing nation, proud of its world class athletes, lifelong participants and inclusive culture. The organization and its members are committed to excellence by developing and training its leaders, athletes, sailors, instructors, coaches and officials. With the valued support from our partners, the Provincial Sailing Associations and our member clubs, schools, organizations and stakeholders, sailing is promoted in all its forms. By setting standards and delivering programs from home pond to podium for Canadians of all ages and abilities, from dinghies to keelboats, cruising to navigation, windsurfing to powerboating and accessible sailing, Sail Canada sets sail for all, sail to win and sail for life.
A sport in the Olympic program since the first Games in 1896, except in 1904, the pursuit of success in these Games is what fuels the focus of Sail Canada as Canadian athletes have so far achieved nine Olympic and five Paralympic medals.