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Pan American Games 2019

Dates: 26-Jul-2019 to 11-Aug-2019

Location: LIMA | PERU

The Pan American 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.

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About the Pan American Games

The Pan American Games are the largest international multidisciplinary sporting event in which athletes from the Americas participate. The competition is held among athletes from the countries of the American continent, every four years in the year prior to the Summer Olympic Games. Only one edition of the Pan American Winter Games was held in 1990. Since 2007, the city that is chosen to host the games organizes both the Pan American Games and the Parapan American Games, games in which athletes with physical disabilities compete against each other. The Parapan American Games are held immediately after their respective Pan American Games in the same year. From 2021, the Pan American Junior Games will be organized, with the exclusive participation of youth athletes. The Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) is the governmental organ of the Pan American Games, whose structure and actions are defined by the Olympic Charter.

The Pan American Games Movement is composed of the international sports federations, the National Olympic Committees recognized by PASO, and the organizing committees of each of the Pan American Games. As the decision-making body, PASO is responsible for the choice of the host city for each Pan American Games. The host city is responsible for organizing and financing a celebration of the Games in accordance with the Olympic Charter (since PASO is affiliated with the IOC, the Olympic Charter) and the rules. The program of the Pan American Games, which consists of the sports played in the Games, is determined by PASO. The celebration of the Games encompasses many rituals and symbols, such as the flag and torch, as well as opening and closing ceremonies. More than 5,000 athletes compete in the Pan American Games in 36 sports and nearly 400 events. The first, second and third places in each event receive gold, silver and bronze medals, respectively.


Greek athlete Aristides Roubanis lit the first-ever Pan American pebetero in Buenos Aires in 1951.

The idea of holding the Pan American Games was first raised by Daniel Esteban Mosquera López during the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, United States, where the Latin American representatives of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suggested that a competition should be created among all the countries of the Americas. The first event called the Pan American Games was held in Dallas, United States in 1937, but it did not attract much attention and is not considered official.

At the first congress of the Pan American Sports Committee in Buenos Aires in 1940, it was agreed that the first edition would be held in the Argentine capital in 1942, but due to the Second World War they had to be suspended. In London, the second congress of the Pan American Sports Committee was held during the London 1948 Olympic Games, where Buenos Aires was reconfirmed as the venue for the first games held in 1951. In this edition, 18 sports were played. The member countries of the Commonwealth of Nations such as Canada did not participate in the first edition of the games. The second games were held in Mexico City, Mexico in 1955. Competitions began on March 12 and included 2583 athletes from 22 countries, competing in 17 sports.10 The Pan American Games were then held in Chicago, United States in 1959, Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1963, Winnipeg, Canada in 1967 and Cali, Colombia in 1971.

In each edition, the Pan American Games grew in size and importance. In less than half a century, the number of countries, athletes and modalities doubled, becoming one of the main competitions on the world sports calendar. Since 1995, more than 5,000 athletes from 42 nations have participated.

Flags of the participating countries waving in the Olympic village of the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

While 2513 athletes representing 14 countries participated in the inaugural games, 5633 competitors from 42 countries participated in the 2007 games. During the Games most of the athletes and officials are in the Pan American Village. This building is intended to be a place of lodging for all participants. It is furnished with cafeterias, health clinics and religious sites.

PASO allows countries that do not meet the requirements of political sovereignty demanded by other international organizations to compete. As a result, colonies and dependencies are allowed to create their own national Olympic committees. Examples of this is that territories such as Puerto Rico and Bermuda participate in this sporting event, competing as independent nations despite being legally under the jurisdiction of another country.


The Pan American Games have been criticized by various organizations [who?] for not including ancestral American sports such as lacrosse, ulama or Mesoamerican ball game. In this way, the tradition of the natives or natives of America, the continent’s first settlers, is excluded.

During several events the Pan American Games were disqualified and some have questioned their legitimacy. The Canadian newspaper National Post says of the Pan American Games: “They are a four-year multi-sport event, just like the Olympic Games, but without the glamour, prestige and international coverage throughout the day. In terms of prestige, the Toronto Sun commented: “The Pan American Games are not even on a third scale. More like fourth place, after the Olympic Games, world championships and Ben Johnson commercials,” and asked: “Who cares about the Pan American Games? Have you heard of Mar del Plata? Neither did I, and yet he celebrated the 1995 games.

Pan American Sports Organization

The Pan American Games Movement comprises a series of national and international organizations and sports federations, recognized media partners, as well as athletes, officials, judges, and any other person and institution that is committed to respecting the rules of the Olympic Charter (which is the same as the PASO charter). In addition to the fact that the organization is responsible for the Pan American movement, the Pan American Sports Organization (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 dissemination of rights.

The Pan American Games movement is composed of three elements:

  • The International Federations (IF) are the governing bodies that oversee a sport at the international level. For example, the International Federation of Associated Football (FIFA) is the FI for football, and the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) is the international body that governs volleyball. There are currently 36 investment funds in the Pan American Games movement, which represent each of the sports of the Pan American Games.
  • National Olympic Committees (NOCs) represent and regulate the movement of the Pan American Games within each country. For example, the Argentine Olympic Committee (COA) is the NOC of Argentina. There are currently 42 NOCs recognized by PASO.
  • The Pan American Games Organizing Committees (PAOGs) constitute the temporary commissions in charge of organizing a specific celebration of each of the Pan American Games. The organizing committees are dissolved after each of the games, once the final report has been submitted to PASO.

Spanish and English are the official languages of the Pan American Games Movement. The other language used in each of the Pan American Games is the language of the host country. Each proclamation (such as the announcement of each country during the parade of nations at the opening ceremony) is spoken in these three languages or the two main ones, depending on whether the host country is a Spanish or English speaking country, such as Argentina and the United States, respectively.


The Pan American Sports Organization flag displays the PASO logo on a white background. To highlight the relationship between the International Olympic Committee and the Pan American Games, the Olympic Rings were added to the flag in 1988. The flag has been hoisted at every celebration of the Games. The flag was hoisted while the Olympic anthem was used until the 2007 edition. In Guadalajara 2011, the new anthem was used for the first time. The hymn was composed in 2008.

Like the Olympic flame, the flame of the Pan American Games, called the “Pan American flame,” is lit long before the start of the Games. The flame was first lit in Olympia, Greece for the 1951 edition of Buenos Aires. In later games, the torch was lit by Aztecs in ancient temples, first at the Cerro de la Estrella, and later at the Pyramid of the Sun in the pyramids of Teotihuacán in Mexico.20 The only exception was at the 1963 games in Sao Paulo, Brazil where the flame was lit in Brasilia by Guaraní Indians. Once the place of ignition, an Aztec lights the torch it receives from the first carrier, and thus begins the relay of the Pan American Games torch that will carry the flame from the main stadium of the host city, where it plays an important role in the opening ceremony. Since 2011, it is required that the flame of the games this during these in the stadium that will host the athletics competition. If the opening ceremony and athletic events will take place in different stadiums, it will require that the flame pass from one stadium to another and that there are two pebeteros to keep the flame burning. Exceptions occurred in the 1987, 1999 and 2007 Games, where there was only one cauldron.

The Pan American Games mascot (also known as a Pan American mascot) is an animal or human figure that represents the culture of the host country. It was introduced in 1979 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The mascot plays an important role in the identity and promotion of the Games. The mascot for the most recent Pan American Games in Toronto was Pachi, a porcupine representative of the region.