Most experts will tell you that the world has closed the gap on the U.S. in bowling.
It's seen most visibly on the PBA Tour, where foreign champions no longer are the novelty Mats Karlsson and Amleto Monacelli were a quarter century ago. Just in the past couple of years, PBA Tour titles have been won by bowlers from Australia, Colombia, Korea and England.
But Team USA has had a resurgence in international competition recently, most notably in winning the most recent WTBA World Championships titles for men, women, junior boys and junior girls.
And on Friday in suburban Las Vegas, Team USA swept the team and all-events gold medals in the 2012 Pan American Bowling Confederation Adult Championships, the United States Bowling Congress reported in this news release.
For women, Team USA broke the PABCON Championships record for six-game team total with 6,713 as they topped Mexico at 6,493 by 256 pins at Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center. Colombia won bronze with 6,176.
Liz Johnson led the team with 1,473 en route to winning the all-events gold with 5,427 for 24 games (226.1 average). Stefanie Nation added 1,337, Josie Earnest 1,284, Diandra Asbaty 1,217, Shannon Pluhowsky 709 and Leanne Hulsenberg 693.
"We accomplished our goals, which was to go for the team gold and the trios gold," Johnson said in the USBC release. "We all worked together really well. There were some moves we had to make during team and everyone worked very well with each other."
Nation won the silver in all-events at 5,316, and Colombia's Rocio Restrepo the bronze with 5,287.
For men, Team USA totaled 6,687 and ended 194 pins ahead of Mexico.
Tommy Jones led Team USA with 1,376, followed by Bill O'Neill at 1,354 en route to taking the all-events gold medal at 5,556 (231.5 average), Steve Smith 1,311, Marshall Kent 1,269, Patrick Allen 692 and John Janawicz 685.
"We had an unexpected lead coming into the day and we all worked really, really well together all day," O'Neill said in the USBC release. "It's a lot harder than it used to be to win because the talent level is so much better. To have so many teams competing for medals is pretty cool to see."
Mexico took the silver at 6,493, while the Dominican Republic won its first men's medal since 1989 by finishing third with 6,484.
In all-events, Jones won silver at 5,543, while Puerto Rico's Francisco Colon earned with 5,504.
Full results are here.
Here is my blog on the first day of PABCON team.
Here is a USBC video feature on the women's results after Friday.
Here is a USBC video feature on the men's results after Friday.
Here is the BowlTV archive of Friday's webcast of the women's competition.
Here is the BowlTV archive of Friday's webcast of the men's competition.
A highlight of Friday's action was Manuel Fernandez's perfect game. This USBC video shows his final three strikes.
The top 24 men and top 24 women in all-events advanced to Saturday's Masters competition. All 12 Team USA players advanced.
The remaining players will bowl six games Saturday morning before the field is cut to the top eight in each division for round robin match play. After 37 total games, the top four men and top four women will advance to the semifinals.
BOWL.com's BowlTV is providing free live streaming of the entire tournament.
2012 PABCON ADULT CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sunset Station's Strike Zone Bowling Center, Henderson, Nev.
GOLD - United States, 6,687
SILVER - Mexico, 6,493
BRONZE - Dominican Republic, 6,484
GOLD - Bill O'Neill, United States, 5,556
SILVER - Tommy Jones, United States, 5,543
BRONZE - Francisco Colon, Puerto Rico, 5,504
GOLD - United States, 6,713
SILVER - Mexico, 6,457
BRONZE - Colombia, 6,176
GOLD - Liz Johnson, United States, 5,427
SILVER - Stefanie Nation, United States, 5,316
BRONZE - Rocio Restrepo, Colombia, 5,287