As the Cayman Islands first athlete in competition, 17-year-old Raegan Rutty finished 38th overall in artistic gymnastics at the XVIII Pan American Games Sunday (28 July) in Lima, Peru.
Needing to finish no lower than 24th to qualify for finals, Rutty scored 40th out of 45 on the vault, 46th in out of 47 on the floor, 46th out of 48 on the beam and 49th out of 51 on the uneven bars. In the all-around, the-17-year-old finished 38th out of 40. In total, 58 gymnasts were in competition.
“Not qualifying for finals is disappointing,” said Rutty. “I really wanted to qualify and go in front of the audience and show everyone what Cayman has to offer. I definitely learned a lot from this competition without qualifying, and it shows how much further I need to go.”
Rutty’s Coach Edward Umphrey said the games were about more than results for Cayman’s top amateur gymnast.
“Even though Raegan didn’t qualify, I am extremely proud of her,” said Umphrey. “Many of the girls she competed against have already competed at multiple Olympic Games, Pan Am Games, CAC Games, and every games you can think of. This is Raegan’s first Pan Am Games, and her biggest competition. Everything she is doing right now, and in the future, is all ground-breaking and new for her. She’s paving the way for all the kids coming up in the Cayman Islands. What she is doing is something special. Our focus is now on World Championships in October. We completed a lot of new upgrades for her, and she did them very well, probably the best I’ve seen her do. That was a huge accomplishment, and showed me where her mindset is at.”
Rutty says the experience was both memorable and nerve wracking.
“I was a nervous wreck when I woke up,” said Rutty. “Then I started getting ready, and got really excited knowing all I had to do was go out there and give it my all. Before warm up, I was still pretty nervous. When you start feeling confident in the warm up, get your body moving, the nerves start to subside.”
“Vault was first, and it went really well. It was the first time every my steps were fine. On bars, the first half of my routine was good, it was a completely new release. The skill after the release, I did really good, probably one of the best I’ve ever done. I fell on my dismount, but that’s an easy fix. On beam, my first skill was a double-turn, and I am always nervous when I first start beam, and doing that skill first is pretty nerve wracking, but I made it. I made my series, the first time in competition. The other skills were pretty good, I fell on my back tuck but that’s an easy mistake, and I finished off that routine well. Floor was last, and I tried to go out there and give it my all. I like that floor routine, I think it’s really fun, and I know the crowd liked it. The other girls competing were cheering for me.”
The Cayman Islands have six athletes in total competing at the XVIII Pan American Games. Sailor Jesse Jackson will compete next over five days in the Laser Standard Radial starting Saturday, 3 August. Other athletes in competition include Kemar Hyman (Athletics – 100m), Brett Fraser (Swimming, – 50m and 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly), Lauren Hew (Swimming – 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle), and John Bodden (Swimming 200m and 400m butterfly, 1500m freestyle).
View the full schedule here.