GOING FOR THE GOLD: Santa Rosa Beach residents win big at Pan Am games

Shelby DeSoto
Adam Pickos (center) won the gold medal at the 2015 Pan America Games for Men’s Tricks within the Ski and Wakeboard category.

Water Skiing champs Adam Pickos and Regina Jaquess brought home gold and silver after retuning from the 2015 Pan American games held in Toronto.

Although it was his first time at the games, Pickos earned gold in Men's Tricks within the Ski and Wakeboard category for the United States.

“It was so special,” said Pickos. “My dad took silver in 2007… so to have my family there at the podium was a very surreal moment.”

Jaquess won two silver medals for Women's Slalom and Overall categories and also took the gold in Women's Jump. Jaquess told The Sun this was her fourth time to compete in the games, adding to her total medal count of nine. And having nine didn't deter her excitement and love for the games.

“You're always so thrilled to be on the podium and be apart of this Pan Am sport,” said Jaquess. “It is such an honor to be on the team and represent your country, and get to hear your National Anthem.”

Pickos said only four individuals were selected to represent the United States in water skiing. The other athletes were from Indiana and Arizona. Jaquess added that it was “kind of unheard of” to have two team members from the same area.

He also explained that his routine for Men's Tricks was complex but overall had a great outcome.

“Trick skiing is two, 20-second routines that consist of different types of tricks, flips and spins, and a panel of judges scores you,” said Pickos.  

“It was almost picture perfect and that's not something you get very often. I got a wonderful score… it still gives me chills thinking about it,” he said.

During their time in Toronto, the athletes stayed in the Olympic athlete's village that was selected by the National Olympic Committee. For many athletes, the Pan American Games are qualifying trials for the Summer Olympic Games.

Jaquess said she is looking forward to qualifying for the next Pan Am Games that will be held in Lima, Peru in 2019.