Top-ranked American wheelchair tennis player Dana Mathewson had a Parapan American Games to remember last week in Santiago, Chile by winning a pair gold medals in women’s singles and doubles–two of the three medals that the U.S. team took home from the event in all.
The San Diego native, a two-time Paralympian, will soon make it three.
Mathewson now has a total of four Parapan medals to her name, and with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Colombia’s Angelica Bernal in the women’s singles, Mathewson earned an automatic bid to next summer’s Paralympic Games in Paris.
In the doubles gold medal match, Mathewson and 16-year-old Maylee Phelps (Portland, Ore.) beat Brazil’s Maria Fernanda Alves and Meirycoll Duval in a match that came down to a few key points in the match tiebreak, 3-6, 6-2 10-8.
“Once you get a taste of these medals, you want more,” Mathewson said in victory. “This has been an amazing time. I never expected to be the flag-bearer; I never expected to get two gold medals. It has been unbelievable.”
Mathewson previously started off her milestone week as one of Team USA’s two flag-bearers for the opening ceremony, an honor she shared with judo athlete Ben Goodrich, and when she returns to the U.S., she’ll get married in a week’s time.
The quad doubles team of David Wagner (Walla Walla, Wash./San Diego) and Andrew Bogdanov (Prescott, Ariz.) rounded out the U.S. medalists with a bronze. Wagner and Bogdanov beat the Colombian team of Daniel Campaz and Albeiro Moreno, 6-4, 6-4, in the third-place match.
Held every four years and one year ahead of the Paralympic Games, the Parapan American Games are the largest multi-sport event in the Americas.