With Olympic berths available in some sports and athlete fields ranging from secondary to top shelf, the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, wrapped up last weekend, featuring athletes from the Americas competing in Olympic sports less than a year out from the London Games. Here are some of the highlights:
The powerful Brazilian men's volleyball team confirmed its supremacy by winning the world championship in Rome on Sunday. Brazil downed the young, eighth-seeded Cubans in the finals 25-22, 25-14, 25-22 to avenge a loss to Cuba in the preliminary round of play. Serbia defeated host Italy to win bronze, three games to one.
Just three weeks after the U.S. men's basketball team defeated host nation Turkey in the finals of their world championship, the U.S. women's team knocked off the hosts from the Czech Republic, 89-69, to capture the women's title in Karlovy Vary on Sunday. Angel McCoughtry led the U.S. with 18 points and Diana Taurasi added 16. The victory also gave the U.S. squad an automatic berth in the tournament at the London Olympics.
Norwegian Tony Andre Hansen has been stripped of his Olympic showjumping bronze medal -- and banned for our-and-a-half months by the International Equestrian Federation -- after his horse tested positive for a banned substance at the Beijing Games.
Young British show-jumping rider Ben Maher is refreshed, having just returned from the opening ceremonies of the Olympic equestrian events in Hong Kong. Before he left England to make the long first-time trip to Hong Kong, he was named a new Scout Association award recipient for equestrian excellence.
Jumping shadows is not on the agenda for Canadian rider Jill Henselwood in this summer's equestrian competitions. Night-time jumping is not common for North American teams, which rarely have evening competitions, unlike their counterparts in Europe.
Great Britain's Olympic athletes are choosing a gambling mecca in southern China over Beijing as a place to train and rest until just prior to their events during the 2008 Summer Games, a British team official says.
As Heidi Lemack-Beck rides her horse Jazzmine around the arena at Rhythm & Blues Stables in Allentown, N.J., six pairs of electronic eyes watch every move of these skilled competitors. Heidi quickens the pace of the 16-year-old mare from a trot to a canter, and the cameras swivel to track them - or rather to track the cracker-sized RFID tag stuck to the top of Heidi's helmet.
The offices of Ireland's equestrian governing body were broken into on Monday night after the alleged theft in England of a doping test sample from the horse that helped Ireland claim its only Olympic gold in Athens.