Team USA Claims Gold after Thrilling Win Over Canada
Team USA quad rugby is headed to the 2024 Paris Paralympics after an exhilarating 57-51 victory over rival Canada to capture gold at the 2023 Parapan American Games. Led by star Charles Aoki’s 28 tries, the United States erased the bitter taste of a loss to Canada just two days prior.
The game was tight throughout, but the US never trailed thanks to a suffocating defense that forced multiple Canada turnovers, leading to transition tries for the Americans. Aoki set the tone with his energetic and aggressive play, plowing through defenders while yelling and flexing to motivate his teammates.
By halftime, Team USA had built a lead through forcing turnovers and perfectly executed set plays that freed up wings like Sarah Adam for quick tries down the sideline after screens. Aoki continued his dominant performance in the second half as the US kept Canada at bay despite their opponent’s frantic tempo.
The comeback win not only earned Team USA Paralympic redemption over their rivals, but also the ultimate prize of Paralympic qualification. After the game, an emotional Aoki emphasized enjoying the moment but also focusing on the long road ahead to prepare for Paris 2024.
With their aggressive and trusting play, Team USA displayed phenomenal resilience after early adversity at these Games. If they can build on this growth, more thrilling victories may await in Paris.