Gymnast Rutty leaps into action at Pan American Games

The Pan American Games have begun, but only one of Cayman’s representatives is already in action.

Gymnast Raegan Rutty performed for the first time on the Pan Am stage on Saturday, and she finished 38th overall out of 58 competitors in the all-around. The 17‑year-old finished 40th in vault, 49th in uneven bars, 48th in the balance beam and 46th in the floor exercise against some of the world’s top gymnasts.

“I feel really good,” said Rutty via Jade Webster, press attache for Cayman’s Olympic Committee.

“There was a bunch of skills that [I completed for the first time] and I made those skills really well, like bars, that was a new bar routine completely. Even though I missed my dismount, the hardest part of my routine, I made it pretty well, pretty solid and clean, so I was really happy about that.”

Rutty is the first Cayman gymnast to compete in the Pan Am Games, and she’s preparing for the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, which will be held in Stuttgart, Germany in early October. If she performs well there, she has an opportunity to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Edward Umphrey, Rutty’s coach, told Webster that she could take a lot out of the Pan Am experience.

“Even though Raegan didn’t qualify, I am extremely proud of her,” he said. “Many of the girls that she was competing with in the competition already competed at multiple Olympic Games, Pan Am Games and CAC [Central American and Caribbean] Games and every game you can think of. … We completed a lot of new upgrades for this competition and she did them very well, probably the best I have seen her do, so that was a huge accomplishment and really just showed me where her mindset is at.”

Cayman’s other five athletes at the Pan Am Games have yet to compete.

Jesse Jackson, who is competing in sailing, will first take to the seas on 3 Aug. Kemar Hyman, Cayman’s lone sprinter, will get in the starting blocks for the 100 metres on 6 Aug.

Cayman also has three swimmers that will be vying for Pan Am medals.

Lauren Hew and Brett Fraser are currently at the FINA Swimming World Championships in South Korea, but they will get in the pool for the Pan Am Games next week. Hew will race in the 200m freestyle on 7 Aug., the 100m freestyle the next day and the 50m freestyle on 9 Aug.

Fraser, who owns the only gold medal in Cayman’s history at the Pan Am Games, will race in the 100m butterfly on 7 Aug., the 100m freestyle on 8 Aug. and the 50m freestyle on 9 Aug.

Cayman’s final competitor, John Bodden, will also be swimming. Bodden races in the 400m freestyle and the 200m butterfly on 6 Aug., and he will swim in the 1500m freestyle on 10 Aug.