Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson of Toronto, Ontario have been named flag bearers for Team Canada during the opening ceremonies at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile on Friday. Humana-Paredes won a gold medal in women’s beach volleyball with Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ontario at the 2019 World Beach Volleyball Championships in Hamburg, Germany. Wilkerson won a silver medal in women’s beach volleyball with Sophie Bukovec of Toronto at the 2022 World Beach Volleyball Championships in Rome, Italy.
It is rather new partnership for Humana-Paredes and Wilkerson. They first started competing with each other at a tournament in Chicago in 2022. Now they are currently ranked fifth in the world and legitimate Olympic medal contenders for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
To date, Humana-Paredes and Wilkerson have won two gold medals and one bronze medal on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour. They won their first gold medal together in the Jurmala Challenge on June 18, and then won again in Montreal, Quebec, as part of the the Elite 16 on July 30. Humana-Paredes’s and Wilkerson’s bronze medal came on June 4 in the Czech Republic as part of the Ostrava Elite 16. Never before has Canada won a medal in women’s beach volleyball at the Pan American Games.