Castro salutes American gold medalist PAN AM GAMES

August 05, 1991

HAVANA -- The United States picked up a gold medal and a salute from Cuban President Fidel Castro yesterday.

Mike Herbert of Rogers, Ark., won the 1,000-meter kayak singles, beating Cuban Angel Perez, who had won three gold medals Saturday. Castro presented Herbert's gold medal and delivered a military salute when the American flag was hoisted.

"It was quite a surprise to see him," Herbert said.

Herbert took the gold medal with a time of 3 minutes, 43.81 seconds. Perez was the silver medalist in 3:47.54. Peter Giles of Canada won the bronze with a time of 3:56.14.

Herbert, 30, and Perez raced in adjacent lanes yesterday. On Saturday, when Herbert won the silver in the 500 singles, they were separated by other racers.

"Yesterday [Saturday], I didn't know he was racing that well," Herbert said yesterday. "Today, I knew what I was dealing with. I could keep track of him all during the race."

Track and field

Sabrina Dornhoefer, 27, of Colorado Springs, Colo., became the United States' first track-and-field gold medalist, winning the women's 3,000 meters.

Her victory kept alive the United States' streak of never having lost a women's 3,000 meters since the race was put on the Pan Am program in 1979. The previous winners were Jan Merrill, Joan Benoit and Mary Knisely.

Dornhoefer's triumph was the only American gold in three track-and-field events.

Cuba's Betsy Laza Munoz won the shot put with a throw of 61 feet, 11 inches. Connie Price-Smith of St. Charles, Mo., was second with a throw of 60-0 1/2 , and 1987 gold medalist Ramona Pagel of Los Angeles was third at 58-3 1/4 .

Hector Moreno of Colombia won the men's 20-kilometer walk in 1:24:56.

3-meter springboard

Karen LaFace of the United States came from behind in the final round to win.

Maria Alcala of Mexico led after rounds five through nine, but she scored just 39.69 on her final dive. LaFace, the final diver in the field of 12, scored 58.32 on the same dive for a total of 473.97.

Paige Gordon of Canada totaled 458.28 to win the silver medal. Mayte Garbey of Cuba thrilled the partisan crowd by scoring more than 55 points on each of her final three dives to win the bronze medal with a score of 457.86.

Alcala finished fourth at 455.94.

The other American entrant, Mary Clark of Newtown Square, Pa., finished 10th. A late entry on her seventh dive was costly; she scored 27.72 in that round and fell from second place to sixth.

Men's softball

Al Rebling allowed two hits and struck out 17, as the Americans beat Panama, 3-1.

The game was tied, 1-1, until the seventh inning, when Bob Brush hit a two-run homer to win it.

Team handball

The United States, needing to win the gold medal to qualify for the 1992 Olympics, nearly stumbled before edging heavy underdog Argentina, 22-21. Argentina led, 13-12, at halftime and was tied, 21-21, with three seconds to go. Bryant Johnson scored the winning goal. Darrick Heath, Tom Fitzgerald and Craig Fitschen each had four goals for the Americans.


The four-member American team of Jeanne Golay, Shari Rodgers, Jan Bolland and Dede Demet won a gold medal in the women's 50-kilometer time trial. The victory in the new event established a Pan American record with a time of 1:03:53.

The American men finished third behind Cuba and Colombia in the 100-kilometer race. The Cubans and Colombians had the same final time, but the tie-breaker (tenths of seconds) went to Cuba, 2:08:56.09 to 2:08:56.39.

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