Last year, Adam Thomson competed on the collegiate stage for the first time as a 22-year old freshman with Penn wrestling. Earlier this month, he took his game to a whole new level, representing his home country of Canada at the 2023 Pan American Games, held in Santiago, Chile. There, he reached the bronze medal match after winning two of the first three rounds of the competition, and returned with a medal for Team Canada — an achievement that marks a significant milestone in his athletic career.
But Thomson wasn't the only Quaker to compete at the Games. Assistant coach Tyler Berger joined Thomson in the 74 kilogram men's freestyle division, and fellow assistant coach Mark Hall represented Team USA in the 86 kilogram freestyle division. All in all, the three Quakers returned from Santiago collectively boasting a gold, a silver, and a bronze medal.
After arriving to the Games, Thomson — who hails from Calgary, Alberta and was a eight-time national champion in high school — received a bye through the first round. This placed him directly into the quarterfinals and set him up with eventual silver medalist Franklin Maren of Cuba. In that match, Thomson was ultimately defeated on a tiebreaker after each wrestler scored four points throughout the match's two rounds.
"[Maren] was an incredibly tough competitor," Thomson said. "I kind of knew it was going to be a challenging match. My aim was to stay on the offensive and keep him reacting to my moves, but he managed to counter effectively. It was a tough match, but it taught me a lot."
But Thomson's journey at the Games was not over. Despite being knocked out of the hunt for a gold medal, he still had a chance to leave Chile with hardware following a third-place bout against Luis Barrios of Honduras. Despite falling behind five points to zero at the end of the first round, Thomson came back with a fury to score the match's final six points and finish with a one-point victory.
Meanwhile, Berger did not encounter much resistance in the competition. He first defeated Venezuela's Anthony Montero 5-2, before putting up 17 points against Mexico's Anthony Valencia to reach the final. With a gold medal for Team USA on the line, Berger took revenge for Thomson and defeated Maren 3-0 to claim victory.
Hall also saw plenty of success at the games, with a 12-2 defeat of Canadian Hunter Lee and a 7-0 shutdown of Puerto Rico's Ethan Ramos being his path to the final. But once he got there, Hall was ultimately bested by Cuba's Yurieski Torreblanca 3-1.
Reflecting on his performance at the Games, Thomson couldn't be more proud to have excelled and represented his country on a global stage.
“I am elated beyond comprehension to have represented Canada in a sport that I have loved since my earliest years.” Thomson said. “When I realized I'd won the bronze, it was a moment of validation for all the hard work and sacrifices made along the way. Although it was only third place, I am very grateful to have improved significantly on my past rankings.”