Caquatto strikes oro again in Mexico
Adds uneven bars gold for three at Pan Am Games
Bridgette Caquatto winning uneven bars gold Thursday. Grace Chiu/GraceClick/USA Gymnastics) (Grace Chiu/GraceClick/USA Gymnastics)
Her teachers at Naperville Central High School should cut Caquatto some slack, since her mind was on her body.
But she aced the physical test, winning a third gymnastics gold medal Thursday at the Pan American Games.
"I'm fine with that," she said, laughing, about having sports success trump Spanish failure.
This one came in her last and best event, the uneven bars. With a score of 14.525, Caquatto edged teammate Shawn Johnson (14.500), a 2008 Olympic gold medalist, who is in the midst of a comeback after a ski accident tore up her knee.
The difference between the two was Caquatto's higher start value, a measure of difficulty. Johnson received a slightly higher execution mark.
University of Illinois freshman C.J. Maestas of Corrales, N.M., won bronze on the still rings Thursday.
Caquatto, a 17-year-old high school senior, also won the individual all-around Wednesday and gold in the team event Monday.
"I was hoping we would come back with the team gold," she said. "Everything after that was a great bonus."
The individual all-around may be good karma for Caquatto. She was the seventh straight U.S. woman to win that title in the quadrennial Pan Am Games, and three of the previous four -- Johnson (2007), Chellsie Memmel (2003) and Shannon Miller (1995) -- went on to win Olympic medals the next year.
"That is exciting to hear," Caquatto said.
Caquatto knows she will need significant improvement to make the 2012 Olympic team.
"I need to go home and up my start values," she said. "And I need to do consistently clean routines to earn trust from the coaches."
The first thing she needs to do is catch up on two weeks of missed school. Caquatto brought homework with her but found no time to do it.
For the record, she isn't taking Spanish this year.
But she can bring tres medallas de oro for show and tell.