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Mexico Stripped of Pan Am Medal
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The Pan American Sports Organization voted Thursday to nullify the Mexican women's team bronze from the recent Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro because of the accreditation status of one of the gymnasts.

Gymnast Marisela Arizmendi competed for Mexico during the team competition on July 14 but had been accredited in Rio de Janeiro as a coach, not an athlete.

On the official Pan Am Games Web site, Torres is not listed as one of the six gymnasts on the Mexican team. The six gymnasts listed are Maricela Cantu, Cinthia Duarth, Yesenia Estrada, Elsa Garcia, Erika Garcia and Yeny Ibarra.

The Mexican women won the bronze medal, 32 years after their last appearance on the Pan Am podium. However, the PASO executive committee voted unanimously to disqualify Mexico and move fourth-place Canada up to the bronze.

The Rio Games organizing committee also pulled the accreditation of Alejandro Peniche, the president of the Mexican Gymnastics Federation.

Felipe Muñoz, the head of Mexico's delegation to the Pan Am Games, said during a press conference that Mexico accepted the committee's decision.

"The Mexican Olympic Committee accepts the error that was committed," Muñoz said. "I want to make it very clear that the individual athletes in this case are not responsible for what occurred, and on the contrary, we are very proud of them and the historic result they obtained."

Peniche said Arizmendi, though not originally part of the team, traveled to Rio so she could continue intensive training with her coach for the upcoming world championships. Peniche said that when Duarth suffered an injury, Arizmendi took her place on the team, but that the organizing committee did not notify the Pan American Gymnastics Union of the change in her status.

The Mexican city of Guadalajara will play host to the 2011 Pan American Games.

In other Pan Am news, Cuban coach Lazaro Lamelas defected and announced his intentions to stay in Brazil. Lamelas, a 2000 Olympian, finished third all-around at both the 1995 and 1999 Pan American Games.

External Link: 2007 Pan American Games Official Site

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