Kitchener athlete to compete in PanAm Games hoping to win two gold medals

By CityNews Kitchener Staff

A Kitchener athlete is flying off to the PanAm Games Tuesday, with dreams of coming home with two gold medals — at least.

Competitive cyclist, Chris Ernst will be competing in four events in Track Endurance and Road Racing in Santiago, Chile.

Ernst said he feels, “A bit of nerves. It’s mainly just the excitement of eventually getting on the ground and going through this, like, the major competition.”

He added, “I also get to have the opportunity of representing Canada in a country that has more meaning for me than I think some people.”

That’s because his mother emigrated from Chile at a young age, he said.

Ernst said to both go back to the country her family left, and to represent the country they now call home “is beyond important for me.”

While his mom is “super excited,” when his grandparents heard the news they started calling on his family and told them, he’s finally going!

Ernst said he’ll ride in Team Canada’s Team Pursuit and “The Madison”, a cycling relay.

For solo races, he’ll be doing the 160K road race, and a 40K time trial race.

Ernst said he and the team are hoping for at least two golds in the two track events.

As for PanAm Games being a stepping stone for the Paris 2024 Olympics, Ernst said, “that’s the main goal,” with only six or eight competitors in line to go, and he’s grateful to be one.

He added, “I’ve just got to do my best during competition and during training, and put my name out as one of the candidates to be in the line up for Paris.”

The 24-year old said he’s been doing competive racing since he was a 14-year old student at Westheights Public School, when Coach Rob Good encouraged him to try it out.

The first day of competition is on Sunday.

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