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Pan American Games

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pan American Games
AbbreviationPan Am Games
First event1951 Pan American Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Occur everyfour years
Last event2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada
PurposeMulti-sport event for nations on the American continent

The Pan American Games (also known colloquially as the Pan Am Games) is a major sporting event in the Americas featuring summer sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The competition is held among athletes from nations of the Americas, every four years in the year before the Summer Olympic Games. The only Winter Pan American Games were held in 1990. In 2021, there will be a Junior Pan American Games for young athletes.[1][2][3][4] The Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) is the governing body of the Pan American Games movement, whose structure and actions are defined by the Olympic Charter.[5]

The XVII Pan American Games were held in Toronto from July 10–26, 2015; the XVIII Pan American Games will be in Lima in 2019. Since 2007, host cities are contracted to manage both the Pan American and the Parapan American Games,[5] in which athletes with physical disabilities compete with one another. The Parapan American Games are held immediately following the Pan American Games.

The Pan American Games Movement consists of international sports federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs) that are recognized by PASO, and organizing committees for each specific Pan American Games. As the decision-making body, PASO is responsible for choosing the host city for each Pan American Games. The host city is responsible for organizing and funding a celebration of the Games consistent with the Olympic Charter (since PASO is affiliated with the IOC, the Olympic Charter) and rules. The Pan American Games program, consisting of the sports to be contested at the Games, is determined by PASO. The celebration of the Games encompasses many rituals and symbols, such as the flag and torch, and the opening and closing ceremonies. Over 5,000 athletes compete at the Pan American Games in 36 sports and nearly 400 events. The first, second, and third-place finishers in each event receive gold, silver, and bronze medals, respectively.[6]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ In 1967, 10 Indigenous athletes ran the Pan Am Games torch 800 km to Winnipeg - Run As One


[beating heart] [heavy breathing] [beating heart] [indigenous singing] [indigenous singing] [thunder cracks] ♪[droning music] [beating heart] ♪[music] ♪[music] ♪[music] ♪[music] ♪[music] ♪[music] ♪[music] >>Clip VO: In 1967, the year Canada celebrated it's 100th birthday, Winnipeg hosted athletes and guests from all across the western hemisphere; who converged on the city in mid-summer to attend the 5th Pan-American games. >>William: When I was still living back home on the first nations, there was no such thing as competition. No athletics, no programs. There was nothing. >>Dave: Growing up as a kid, we spent a lot of time on the river, the lake, fishing. And certainly a lot of time in the bush, hunting rabbits. Stuff like that. >>Charles: ...on the flag bearers. >>Dave: Was that on the first day? <i> Yeah when we first met.</i> Remember they took us, and we spent the night at Assiniboia? <i> But that evening we were out there drilling,</i> <i> like how we're supposed to come in.</i> <i> Like two runners to a flag</i> <i> and then the torch bearers.</i> I thought it was four runners to a flag. Yeah four runners, oh yeah four runners to a flag. And then the torch bearers were supposed to come. They were drilling. I'm gonna have to go to a hypnotist and try and recall some of these memories because man I don't remember everything. <i> >>Dave: A lot of this stuff I don't remember either.</i> <i> >>Charles: But we were drilling.</i> >>Dave: The route that they chose for us to run was an ancient path that our people had ran. You know for thousands of years as they related to you know to each other. And it's interesting that you know it was the runners that would be used to carry the messages from one community to the other. Coming from the bush and going to high school, it was a total-- a total different thing for me. During my junior high and senior at the Birtle, I participated in a lot of competitions. High schools here in Winnipeg. Our high school was noted for having track and field runners, long distance runners. And our phys-ed teacher entered us to come in and compete in the indoor track meets. Assiniboia school had good athletes, we were all good athletes then. There were lots of sports programs; hockey, football, basketball, volleyball, track and field. It was all there, thats why I enjoyed it there. ♪[music] ♪[music] >>Merasty: One of the supervisors came up to me and asked me if I wanted to be part of a team that was running a torch relay. Starting in the States and coming back to Canada for opening day of the Pan American Games. >>Fred: There was a letter that came in. To participate in the run I had to submit my résumé at that time, to show that I was interested in running. >>William: I remember them approaching me and they wanted to see us run. So they took us for a run and we ran. Maybe a couple miles and that was it. >>Dave: When you're young, you know when you get that kind of invitation it's very very overwhelming. You know to - because your mind goes into a... into a race, of how overwhelming that it is first of all, and I've never been out of the community other than going to school locally. What I do remember is that it was a very nice day. Bright sunny, cloudless, warm. And three vehicles pulled up, all white. One station wagon, two convertibles. For myself, personally, you know there was a lot of first that I encountered. Like first time ever in a convertible, first time ever in a motel, first time ever with air conditioning. You know all of that. First time ever seeing American girls, you know all that stuff. There was a lot of firsts for me. Tell them that story on the first day when you came in with improper clothing. Oh, you want me to tell it to ya? You're the one that played that trick on me We helped you. We helped you that day. [laughter] So when I got dressed I put on a silk, silk shorts. He comes along, "No" he says. "You don't wear that until you go to Winnipeg." <i> "Go and change.</i> Go and change, you have to wear cotton." I said, "There's no where to change" "Hey" he says "I have an idea!" He calls you guys. "Lets stand around him while he changes." Well as soon as I take off my shorts. "Take off you guys!" I was looking for my silk shorts, I mean my cotton shorts. I believed him and yet it was already 2 days he was playing tricks on me I still fell for that one. I remember the hotel, it was fabulous. It was like something from a fairy tale. Never stayed in a hotel in my life before. This was the first time I, ever stayed in a hotel/motel. There was a T.V. there. We never had a T.V. So I felt strange you know. There was white sheets you know, I didn't want to go to bed because I didn't want to dirty the white sheets. Because thats what we were called. Prior to residential schools, prior to Assiniboia, we were "dirty filthy Indians". You know thats the description. We were wild. They called us "Savage" that was their favourite name. ♪[music] When we got to Minneapolis, to the hotel. I looked outside the window and there was this riot going on. >>William: used to wonder how come we had bodyguards in Detroit Lake. But when we got to Minneapolis, there was that riot at the hotel we are in. That night there was a big riot, burning tires and vehicles right in front of our hotel. Not realizing what was going on. And that next morning like when we came out. You know the, it must have been the leader and he says "I didn't know they're using native runners for this torch run." And then he says "You people have the same problems in Canada as we do here in the States." Because that time Cassius Clay or Muhammad Ali, got stripped of his heavyweight title. He refused to go and fight in Vietnam so they stripped him. And the leader, his words were "If there were white people running this torch, we weren't gonna let it go through. "But since you natives have the same problem in Canada, we're letting you guys through." Just like a - they just parted. And the senator, the mayor, the governors they travelled with us to the legislative building. The government building? And the flame came in that night before so they took that flame there. <i> And they took the flame and lit the torch.</i> And when we came down the steps and started running, they ran with us for I don't know how many, how far. <i> This is where it dawned on me.</i> Did you notice after that we never had no bodyguards? >>William: I also remember I... that noon hour I ate... a little too much french fries I guess. And I was - I wanted to get sick, I wasn't feeling, I wasn't feeling good. How about when we told him "Don't eat to much, Bill!" Oh I remember that time yeah. "You're eating to much Bill! You gotta run today." And he kept eating all those fries, burgers. At noon hour. Noon hour I was, I over indulged. And later on I started running I started to get sick. You know, it had to be a number two. It had to be a number two. No place, because it's all prairie yeah? So that state trooper, there was a little town about 5 miles ahead of us. So he put me in a police car, big cherry started going round and round and he rushed me to that little town. [laughter] <i> I ate too much at noon hour.</i> <i> Yeah.</i> ♪[music] >>Merasty: What I remember, it was, pouring rain that day. It was raining hard. Even the wind was blowing hard as well. And the team had to run through that. And from St. Norbert to the stadium would be a lot of miles in bad weather. The significant part of the run I feel was the fire. That they could never put out. Even when it was raining. That that flame stayed on. And many years later I you know I realized the significance of fire <i> and people like Charlie</i> <i> and I that are very connected to ceremony.</i> You know that fire is central, fire is everything in our culture, in our ceremonies. But when we were running down Portage Avenue there was a part that was sunny. Sunny all the way-- Then we, then we hit the, you know near the stadium and it was just pouring. Then when I got to, you know to the entrance And then I remember my father, he was the chief of the reserve. And he was on the side, you know watching and witnessing what was happening. And Phil Fontaine, was the band manager of Sagkeeng and he was also standing there. And then they were waiting for us to go in. But of course that never happened. The flame was passed. ♪[music] Getting into the last part of this torch run actually being in the stadium and doing what we did. There was really no sense of accomplishment or even excitement. We did not finish our journey. Because the fact that the torch was handed to somebody else that did not participate. The athlete that took the torch was a white athlete, as I heard he was just a dedicated athlete who represented the spirit of Canadian athletics kind of thing. And that he had been selected by some process to be the one to take the torch into the stadium and light the cauldron. >>Dave: I asked an older one time, "Why was it raining so much that day?" And then that elder said, "Because the ancestors were crying because you were not gonna finish your journey." In the five hundred miles that you were asked to do, you were not able to complete it. Even though there were some recognition given. But what I remember we were taken out of there and taken into pancake house. And then we were watching it on T.V. As the opening was happening. And all of a sudden we were taken away from each other, we didn't see each other again. Our journey, our circle was incomplete. >>Clip VO: In 1967 the First Nations runners who carried the torch as part of the ceremonies were actually stopped outside the entrance of the stadium and shuffled off to a nearby restaurant. 32 years later it is being done properly. >>Dave: When we were invited in 1999 to come back and, to finished what was considered the final part our journey Which was to make it to the stadium, to bring the flame into the stadium and we of course were very excited about that opportunity. >>Pan-Am Announcer: The torch runners from the 1967 Pan American Games; Dave Courchene Jr., torch bearer, Charles Bittern and Charlie Nelson. But we had the condition to participate and the condition was is that we would, We would bring the flame into the stadium providing that we pass it onto a young Aboriginal athlete. >>Pan-Am Announcer: And now receiving the torch is Ida Whitford. Thats where-- the circle finished. The Pan American Circle for us. >>Dave: When we came into the stadium in those canoes, something happened again. That I'm sure you guys realize <i> that is was so calm,</i> but the moment that we entered into that stadium that was packed. There was this incredible wind that came and circled inside that stadium. And everything was flying around. I asked an elder again, "What was that about? What kind of sign was that?" And what the elder said was "That the ancestors were happy that you were able to complete our journey." >>William: I'm glad I was part of it. I'm glad I ran, I'm glad I met the other athletes. I'm proud that I was part of that, that event. >>Charles: You know for me being here today, I didn't know how I felt when I came driving into the parking lot. Same old friends of mine. And you know, happy to see them. Like we did a job and we did it, but we also had obstacles. But we didn't give up, we kept on going. Right up till now, like we're old already, we're aged. But in the meantime there's still a spark in us to pass on the message to young people. that they can do it. >>Merasty: When I look back on it, now I'm thinking, yeah that was, it was something special. It's a great honour that was given to me. When they asked me if I would run. It actually turned out to be a very lucky break. It was more than just fun for a few days, it turned out to be fun for about 50 years. The journey that we started you know it has been an incredible beautiful journey. And I thank the Creator that, that we were given this opportunity to be recognized as, as front runners. ♪[music] ♪[music] ♪[music] ♪ It's our children's children ♪ that I'm thinking of. ♪ They've got to know they can ♪ rise above 100 years ♪ of quiet fear ♪ and press for the mark. ♪ Got to run as one now. ♪ It's begun and ♪ feel the beat of a ♪ different drum ♪ and close our ranks ♪ and give our thanks ♪ to the spirit up above ♪ Run as one now. ♪ It's begun and ♪ feel the beat of a ♪ different drum ♪ and close our ranks ♪ and give our thanks ♪ to the spirit up above ♪[music] ♪[music] ♪[music] ♪[music] ♪[music] ♪[music] ♪[music] ♪[music] ♪[music] -- CLOSED CAPTIONING BY: ISPLICE FILMS INC. --



Early games

The idea of holding a Pan American Games was first raised at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, where Latin American representatives of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suggested that a competition among all the countries in the Americas should be created.[7] The first event called the Pan American Games took place in Dallas in 1937 as part of the Greater Texas & Pan-American Exposition, but it attracted so little attention it has never counted in the records of the competition.[8][9]

At the first Pan American Sports Congress, held in Buenos Aires in 1940, the participants decided that the first games should be held in Buenos Aires in 1942. The plans had to be postponed because of World War II. A second Pan American Sports Congress held in London during the 1948 Summer Olympics reconfirmed Buenos Aires as the choice of host city for the inaugural games, which were held in 1951. The games offered 18 sports.[7] Countries that were part of the Commonwealth of Nations such as Canada did not compete at the first Pan American Games.[10] The second games were held in Mexico City, Mexico. Competitions started on March 12 and included 2,583 athletes from 22 countries, competing in 17 sports.[11] The Pan American Games have been held subsequently every four years.[11]

Recent games

The welcome centre at the 2015 Pan American Games athletes' village.
The welcome centre at the 2015 Pan American Games athletes' village.

While the inaugural 1951 Games hosted 2,513 participants representing 14 nations, the most recent 2015 Pan American Games involved 6,132 competitors from 41 countries.[7] During the games most athletes and officials are housed in the Pan American Games village. This village is intended to be a self-contained home for all the participants. It is furnished with cafeterias, health clinics, and locations for religious expression.[12]

PASO allows nations to compete that do not meet the strict requirements for political sovereignty that other international organizations demand. As a result, colonies and dependencies are permitted to set up their own National Olympic Committees. Examples of this include territories such as Puerto Rico and Bermuda which compete as separate nations despite being legally under the jurisdiction of another power.[13]

Winter Pan American Games

Las Leñas, Argentina, hosted the Pan American Winter Games.
Las Leñas, Argentina, hosted the Pan American Winter Games.

There have been attempts to hold Winter Pan American Games throughout the history of the games, but these have had little success.[14] An initial attempt to hold winter events was made by the organizers of the 1951 Pan American Games in Buenos Aires, who planned to stage winter events later in the year but dropped the idea due to lack of interest.[15] Reliable winter snow in the Americas is limited to two countries, the United States and Canada. Andean winter weather is often fickle, and higher elevation areas in South America with annual snow often lack the infrastructure to host major sporting events. Another difficulty is that the Americas cover two hemispheres, which creates scheduling issues related to reverse seasons.

Lake Placid, New York tried to organize Winter Games in 1959 but, again, not enough countries expressed interest. The plans were eventually cancelled.[14]

In 1988, members of PASO voted to hold the first Pan American Winter Games at Las Leñas, Argentina in September 1989. It was further agreed that Winter Games would be held every four years. Lack of snow however, forced the postponement of the games until September 16–22, 1990[14] when only eight countries sent 97 athletes to Las Leñas. Of that total, 76 were from just three countries: Argentina, Canada, and the United States. Weather was unseasonably warm and again there was little snow, so only three Alpine Skiing events – the Slalom, Giant Slalom, and Super G were staged. The United States and Canada won all 18 medals.

PASO awarded the second Pan American Winter Games to Santiago, Chile for 1993. The United States warned that it would not take part unless a full schedule of events was held. The Santiago organizing committee eventually gave up on planning the Games after the United States Olympic Committee declined to participate, and the idea has not been revived since.[14]

Junior Pan American Games

On 16 January 2019 PASO announced the creation of the Junior Pan American Games. This event, inspired by the Youth Olympic Games, is exclusive for athletes who are under 21 years of age, with less requirements on infrastructure and cost.[4][2][1]

For the first edition of the games, Panam Sports accepted candidate cities until 31st of January. Cali, Colombia, Santa Ana, El Salvador and Monterrey, Mexico were accepted as candidate cities.[16] Cali, Colombia was chosen as the host city at the Executive Committee in San José, Costa Rica on March 27, 2019.[17]

Pan American Sports Organization

The 2015 Pan American Games opening ceremony had announcements in English, Spanish and French.
The 2015 Pan American Games opening ceremony had announcements in English, Spanish and French.

The Pan American Games Movement encompasses a number of national and international sporting organizations and federations, recognized media partners, athletes, officials, judges, and every other person and institution that agrees to abide by the rules of the Olympic Charter (which is the same as PASO's charter).[18] As the umbrella organization of the Olympic Movement, PASO is responsible for selecting the host city, overseeing the planning of the Pan American Games, updating and approving the sports program, and negotiating sponsorship and broadcasting rights.[6]

The Pan American Games Movement is made of three major elements:

Spanish and English are the official languages of the Pan American Games Movement. The other language used at each Pan American Games is the language of the host country. For example: at the 2007 Pan American Games who was held in Brazil, the first language was Brazilian Portuguese. Every proclamation (such as the announcement of each country during the parade of nations in the opening ceremony) is spoken in these three languages or the main two depending on whether the host country is an English or Spanish speaking country.[6]


The Pan American Games torch being lit in Teotihuacan.
The Pan American Games torch being lit in Teotihuacan.

The Pan American Games Movement uses symbols to represent the ideals embodied in the Pan American Games charter. The Pan American Sports Organization flag displays the PASO logo on a white background. To highlight the close association between the International Olympic Committee and the Pan Am Games, the Olympic Rings were added to the flag in 1988. The flag has been hoisted during each celebration of the Games.[20] The flag was hoisted while the Olympic Hymn was played until the 2007 Games. In 2011 Games, the new anthem was played for the first time. The anthem itself was composed in 2008.

Similar to the Olympic flame, the Pan American Games flame is lit well before the Games are to commence. The flame was lit for the first games in Olympia, Greece. For subsequent games, the torch has been lit by Aztec people in ancient temples, first in the Cerro de la Estrella and later in the Pyramid of the Sun at the Teotihuacan Pyramids.[21] The only exception was for the São Paulo games in 1963, when the torch was lit in Brasília by the indigenous Guaraní people. An Aztec then lights the torch of the first relay bearer, thus initiating the Pan American Games torch relay that will carry the flame to the host city's main stadium, where it plays an important role in the opening ceremony.[6] Since 2011, the flame is required to be held during the games in the stadium which will host the athletics competition. If the Opening ceremony and athletics competition will be held in different stadiums, the flame will be required to move from one stadium to the other. Exceptions occurred in the 1987, 1999 and 2007 Games, each of which had only one cauldron.[6]

The Pan American Games mascot, an animal or human figure representing the cultural heritage of the host country, was introduced in 1979 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.[22] It has played an important part on the Games identity and promotion. The mascot of the most recent Pan American Games, in Toronto, was Pachi, a porcupine.

List of Games mascots:[23]

  • San Juan 1979: Coqui (frog)
  • Caracas 1983: Santiaguito (lion)
  • Indianapolis 1987: Amigo (green parrot)
  • Havana 1991: Tocopan (bird)
  • Mar del Plata 1995: Lobi (sea lion)
  • Winnipeg 1999: Duck and Lorita (ducks)
  • Santo Domingo 2003: Tito (manatee)
  • Rio de Janeiro 2007: Cauê (sun)
  • Guadalajara 2011: Huichi (deer), Gavo (agave plant) and Leo (lion)
  • Toronto 2015: Pachi (porcupine)
  • Lima 2019: Milco (statue)[24]



A scene from the opening ceremony of the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto
A scene from the opening ceremony of the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto

As mandated by the Olympic Charter, various elements frame the opening ceremony of the Pan American Games.[25] The ceremony typically starts with the hoisting of the host country's flag and a performance of its national anthem.[25] The host nation then presents artistic displays of music, singing, dance, and theater representative of its culture and history.[25] The artistic presentations have grown in scale and complexity as successive hosts attempt to provide a ceremony that outlasts its predecessor's in terms of memorability. The opening ceremony of the Guadalajara Games reportedly cost $20 million, with much of the cost incurred in the artistic segment.[26]

After the artistic portion of the ceremony, the athletes parade into the stadium grouped by nation. Argentina is traditionally the first nation to enter in order to honor the origins of the Pan American Games, similar to how Greece enters first in the Olympic Games as the originator. Nations usually then enter the stadium alphabetically according to the Spanish language. During the 1995 Pan American Games, which was hosted in Mar del Plata, Argentina, the Argentine flag entered the stadium first, while the country's delegation entered last (similar to what happened with Greece in the 2004 Summer Olympics). Speeches are given, formally opening the Games. Finally, the Pan American Games torch is brought into the stadium and passed on until it reaches the final torch carrier—often a well-known and successful athlete from the host nation—who lights the Pan American Games flame in the stadium's cauldron.[6]


Athletes gather in the stadium during the closing ceremony of the 2007 Pan American Games.
Athletes gather in the stadium during the closing ceremony of the 2007 Pan American Games.

The closing ceremony of the Pan American Games takes place after all sporting events have concluded. Flag-bearers from each participating country enter the stadium, followed by the athletes who enter together, without any national distinction.

Two national flags along with the flag of PASO are hoisted while the corresponding national anthems are played: the flag of the current host country and the flag of the country hosting the next Pan American Games.[6] The president of the organizing committee and the president of PASO make their closing speeches, the Games are officially closed, and the Pan American Games family is invited to participate at the next Games. The Pan American flame is then extinguished.[6] In what is known as the Antwerp Ceremony, the mayor of the city that organized the Games transfers a special Pan American Games flag to the president of PASO, who then passes it on to the mayor of the city hosting the next Games.[6] After these compulsory elements, the next host nation briefly introduces itself with artistic displays of dance and theater representative of its culture. The closing ceremony includes a fifteen-minute presentation from the next host city.[6]

Medal presentation

A medal ceremony during the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis.
A medal ceremony during the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis.

At the conclusion of each event, medals are ceremoniously distributed to the first, second and third-place finishers. The participants stand a three-tiered podium while receiving their medals.[27] After the medals are given out by an IOC or PASO member, the national flags of the three medalists are raised while the national anthem of the gold medalist's country plays.[28] Volunteering citizens of the host country act as hosts during the medal ceremonies, as they aid the officials who present the medals and act as flag-bearers.[29] For every Pan American Games event, the respective medal ceremony is held, at most, one day after the event's final. When athletics was scheduled for the last days, the men's marathon is held in the last day of the games, and the award ceremony is held before or during the closing ceremonies.


Athletics has been held at all seventeen editions of the Pan American Games. Pictured here is the 10,000 metres event for men at the 2015 edition in Toronto
Athletics has been held at all seventeen editions of the Pan American Games. Pictured here is the 10,000 metres event for men at the 2015 edition in Toronto

For purposes of Pan American Games competition, the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) makes a distinction between sports and disciplines. A sport, in Pan American Games terms, is a single or group of disciplines as represented by an international governing body, namely an International Federation. For example, aquatics, represented at the Olympic level by the International Swimming Federation, is a sport at the Pan American Games that includes the swimming, diving, open water, synchronized swimming and water polo disciplines.

Until the 2011 Games in Guadalajara, just one olympic event was never held, the canoe slalom. The event was planned to be held in the 2007 and 2011 editions, but was eventually canceled due to the low number of entries. Thus, the event was held for the first time at the 2015 Games.[30]

Medals are awarded on a per-event basis; there can be one or more events per sport or discipline.[31]

Athletics, swimming, fencing, diving, baseball, boxing, basketball, equestrian, football, artistic gymnastics, rowing, wrestling, shooting, tennis, weightlifting and water polo are the only summer sports that have never been absent from the Pan American Games program.

Many of the current Pan American Games sports, like rugby sevens, handball, and volleyball, first appeared on the program at later editions of the games. Some sports were part of specific editions of the Games, at the request of their Organizing Committees, because they reflected their popularity in their countries.[32] The 2019 Pan American Games will welcome a 38th and 39th sports to its programme, surfing.[33] On November 17, 2016 it was announced bodybuilding and skateboarding were also added to the sport program for the 2019 Games.[34] Both sports will make their Pan American Games debut.[34]

Pan American Games sports are governed by international sports federations (IFs) recognized by PASO as the global supervisors of those sports. There are 36 federations represented at PASO. There are sports recognized by PASO that are not included on the Pan American Games program. These sports are not considered Pan American Games sports, but they can be promoted to this status during a program revision that occurs in the first PASO session following a celebration of the Games.[6] During such revisions, sports can be excluded or included in the program on the basis of a two-thirds majority vote of the members of PASO.[6] Some recognized sports, such as chess, have never been included in a Pan American Games program.[35] some sports and events have been played only once in the event's history like the Sambo, a martial art which was only competed in 1983 in Caracas, Venezuela and the Women's baseball tournament at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada[36]

Champions and medalists

Swimmer Thiago Pereira of Brazil has a record 23 Pan American medals.[37] Here he holds a gold medal during the 2007 edition.
Swimmer Thiago Pereira of Brazil has a record 23 Pan American medals.[37] Here he holds a gold medal during the 2007 edition.

The athletes or teams who place first, second, or third in each event receive medals. The winners receive gold medals, while the runners-up receive silver medals and the third-place athletes are awarded bronze medals. In events contested by a single-elimination tournament (most notably boxing), third place might not be determined and both semifinal losers receive bronze medals. PASO does not keep statistics of medals won, but National Olympic Committees and the media record medal statistics as a measure of success. As of the 2015 Pan American Games, Aruba and the British Virgin Islands have yet to win a medal.[38]

The top ten nations all time at the Pan American Games (minus medals won at the Winter Pan American Games):[38]

Summer Pan American Games
1 United States (USA)1944145410224420
2 Cuba (CUB)8755935582026
3 Canada (CAN)4566578021915
4 Brazil (BRA)3293575191205
5 Argentina (ARG)2943274281049
6 Mexico (MEX)2212885021011
7 Colombia (COL)108147229484
8 Venezuela (VEN)92205277574
9 Chile (CHI)4491151286
10 Dominican Republic (DOM)2963112204
Totals (10 nations)43924182460013174
Winter Pan American Games
1 USA42511
2 CAN2417
Totals (2 nations)66618
  • Record
    Summer Pan American Games 1995  United States, 424 medals

List of Pan American Games

Map of Pan American Games locations (host cities in red dots). Countries that have hosted one Pan Am Games are shaded green, while countries that have hosted two or more are shaded blue.
Map of Pan American Games locations (host cities in red dots). Countries that have hosted one Pan Am Games are shaded green, while countries that have hosted two or more are shaded blue.

The host city for a Pan American Games is usually chosen six years ahead of their celebration. The process of selection is carried out in two phases that span a two-year period. The prospective host city applies to its country's Olympic Committee; if more than one city from the same country submits a proposal to its NOC, the national committee typically holds an internal selection, since only one city per NOC can be presented to the Pan American Sports Organization for consideration. Once the deadline for submission of proposals by the NOCs is reached, the first phase (Application) begins with the applicant cities asked to complete a questionnaire regarding several key criteria related to the organization of the Pan American Games Games.[6] In this form, the applicants must give assurances that they will comply with the Olympic Charter and with any other regulations established by PASO's Executive Committee.[6] The evaluation of the filled questionnaires by a specialized group provides PASO with an overview of each applicant's project and their potential to host the Games. On the basis of this technical evaluation, PASO's Executive Board selects the applicants that will proceed to the candidature stage.[6]

Once the candidate cities are selected, they must submit to PASO a bigger and more detailed presentation of their project as part of a candidature file. Each city is thoroughly analyzed by an evaluation commission. This commission will visit the candidate cities, interviewing local officials and inspecting prospective venue sites, and submit a report on its findings one month before the PASO's final decision. During the interview process the candidate city must guarantee that it will be able to fund the Games.[6] After the work of the evaluation commission, a list of candidates is presented to the General Session of PASO, which is assembled in a country that must not have a candidate city in the running. The members of PASO gathered in the Session have the final vote on the host city. Once elected, the host city bid committee (together with the NOC of the respective country) signs a Host City Contract with PASO, officially becoming a Pan American Games host nation and host city.[6]

The Pan American Games have been hosted by 15 cities in 10 countries. Mexico and Canada have hosted three Pan American Games each, more than any other nation. Among cities, only Winnipeg and Mexico City have played host to the Pan American Games more than once, each hosting twice.

Edition Year Host City Host Nation Opened by Start Date End Date Nations Competitors Sports Events Top Placed Team
I 1951 Buenos Aires  Argentina President Juan Domingo Perón 25 February 9 March 21 2,513 18 140  Argentina (ARG)
II 1955 Mexico City  Mexico President Adolfo Ruiz Cortines 12 March 26 March 22 2,583 17 146  United States (USA)
III 1959 Chicago  United States Milton S. Eisenhower 27 August 7 September 25 2,263 15 166 United States (USA)
IV 1963 São Paulo  Brazil Adhemar de Barros 20 April 5 May 22 1,665 19 160  United States (USA)
V 1967 Winnipeg  Canada Prince Philip 23 July 6 August 29 2,361 19 169  United States (USA)
VI 1971 Cali  Colombia President Misael Pastrana Borrero 30 July 13 August 32 2,935 17 164  United States (USA)
VII 1975 Mexico City  Mexico President Luis Echeverría 12 October 26 October 33 3,146 19 190  United States (USA)
VIII 1979 San Juan  Puerto Rico Carlos Romero Barceló 1 July 15 July 34 3,700 21 249  United States (USA)
IX 1983 Caracas  Venezuela President Luis Herrera Campins 14 August 29 August 36 3,426 22 249  United States (USA)
X 1987 Indianapolis  United States Vice-President George H. W. Bush 7 August 23 August 38 4,360 27 296  United States (USA)
XI 1991 Havana  Cuba President Fidel Castro 2 August 18 August 39 4,519 28 331  Cuba (CUB)
XII 1995 Mar del Plata  Argentina President Carlos Menem 12 March 26 March 42 5,144 34 408  United States (USA)
XIII 1999 Winnipeg  Canada Governor General Roméo LeBlanc 23 July 8 August 42 5,083 33 330  United States (USA)
XIV 2003 Santo Domingo  Dominican Republic Hipólito Mejía 1 August 17 August 42 5,223 34 338  United States (USA)
XV 2007 Rio de Janeiro  Brazil Carlos Arthur Nuzman 13 July 29 July 42 5,633 33 331  United States (USA)
XVI 2011 Guadalajara  Mexico President Felipe Calderón 14 October 30 October 42 5,996 36 361  United States (USA)
XVII 2015 Toronto  Canada Governor General David Johnston 10 July 26 July 41 6,132 36 364  United States (USA)
XVIII 2019 Lima  Peru President of Peru (expected) 26 July 11 August 41 TBD 38 423 TBD
XIX 2023 Santiago  Chile 6 October 22 October 41 TBD 39 TBD TBD

Participating nations

All 41 countries whose National Olympic Committee is recognized by the Pan American Sports Organization compete at the Pan American Games.[39]

See also


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  3. ^ "Panam Sports organizará Panamericanos Júnior y sopesa Panamericanos de Playa". La Vanguardia. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
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  24. ^ "'Milco' was chosen as the official mascot of the XVIII Pan American Games and Sixth Parapan American Games Lima to be held in 2019". 2019 Pan American Games. July 26, 2017. Archived from the original on February 24, 2018. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
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  37. ^ Thiago Pereira Owns 23 Pan American Games Medals, Most Of Any Athlete In Any Sport
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External links

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