Pan American Games

​The Pan American (Pan Am) Games are a multi-sport event for the nations of the Western Hemisphere, held every four years. They are conducted in a similar manner to the Olympic Summer Games and held one year prior to them.

Fencing
Fencing (photo by F. Scott Grant/Canadian Sport Images).
Archery
Athlete taking aim at the Canada Summer Games (Corel Professional Photos).
Sailing
Sailing (Corel Professional Photos).

The Pan American (Pan Am) Games are a multi-sport event for the nations of the Western Hemisphere, held every four years. They are conducted in a similar manner to the Olympic Summer Games and held one year prior to them. The Games are an opportunity for athletes to compete at the international level, particularly in preparation for the Olympic Summer Games. They are the third largest international multi-sport Games, after only the Olympics and the Asian Games. (Since 1999, the Pan Am Games have been followed by the Parapan American Games.)

The Games

Athletes from 41 countries in the Americas and the Caribbean compete in the Games, which are governed by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO). Participating countries must have an established National Olympic Committee that is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and affiliated with PASO.

A comparatively recent event, the first Pan Am Games were held at Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 1951, when 19 nations were officially represented in 18 sports (Canada did not officially compete in the first Games). Since then they have been celebrated in nine others countries across the Americas and the Caribbean.


Year

Location

1951

Buenos Aires, Argentina

1955

Mexico City, Mexico

1959

Chicago, Illinois, USA

1963

São Paulo, Brazil

1967

Winnipeg, Manitoba

1971

Cali, Colombia

1975

Mexico City, Mexico

1979

San Juan, Puerto Rico

1983

Caracas, Venezuela

1987

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

1991

Havana, Cuba

1995

Mar del Plata, Argentina

1999

Winnipeg, Manitoba

2003

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

2007

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2011

Guadalajara, Mexico

2015

Toronto, Ontario

In 1990, Las Leñas in Argentina hosted the first (and only) Winter Pan Am Games. There was little interest among member countries in the winter version of the Games and the concept was abandoned.

Sports

The Pan Am Games include all sports, events and disciplines that will be on the official programme of the next Olympic Summer Games (which follow a year later). They may also include a number of non-Olympic sports recognized by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO).


Sports at the 2015 Pan Am Games

Aquatics (Diving, Swimming)

Archery

Athletics

Badminton

Baseball and Softball

Basketball

Bowling

Boxing

Canoe/Kayak

Cycling

Equestrian

Fencing

Field Hockey

Football (Soccer)

Golf

Gymnastics

Handball

Judo

Karate

Modern Pentathlon

Racquetball

Roller Sports

Rowing

Rugby Sevens

Sailing

Shooting

Squash

Table Tennis

Taekwondo

Tennis

Triathlon

Volleyball

Water Polo

Waterski/Wakeboard

Weightlifting

Wrestling

Canada at the Games

Canada did not officially compete in the 1951 Games (although a small group of Canadian swimmers did give a demonstration in synchronized swimming), but it has been a consistent and successful competitor ever since, with Canadian athletes providing many world-class performances in a variety of sports.

The fifth Pan Am Games, held at Winnipeg, proved a fitting celebration for Canada's Centennial Year (1967), when 2,451 athletes from 29 countries participated in 29 sports. By 1999, when Winnipeg again hosted the Games, there were over 40 Western Hemisphere countries in attendance. It was only the second time that Canada had hosted the event. At the 1999 Games, Canadians won 196 medals in total (64 gold medals, 52 silver and 80 bronze), an increase of 19 medals over the 1995 Games in Mar del Plata.

The 2003 Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo were not as successful for the Canadian team; out of a total of 128 medals, they won 29 gold, 57 silver and 42 bronze. At the Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2007, Canada won a total of 137 medals (39 gold, 43 silver, 55 bronze), exceeding its total of 128 medals won in 2003. At Guadalajara in 2011, Canadian athletes won 30 gold, 40 silver and 49 bronze for a total of 119 medals. Canada is currently ranked third behind the United States and Cuba for all-time medal wins.


Canadian Medals and Ranking

Year

Host

Rank

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total

1955

Mexico City

5th

4

4

3

11

1959

Chicago

5th

5

19

24

48

1963

São Paulo

3rd

10

27

25

62

1967

Winnipeg

2nd

12

37

43

92

1971

Cali

3rd

19

20

42

81

1975

Mexico City

3rd

18

35

38

91

1979

San Juan

3rd

24

43

70

137

1983

Caracas

3rd

22

42

55

119

1987

Indianapolis

3rd

30

57

75

162

1991

Havana

3rd

22

46

59

127

1995

Mar del Plata

3rd

47

61

69

177

1999

Winnipeg

3rd

64

52

80

196

2003

Santo Domingo

3rd

29

57

42

128

2007

Rio de Janeiro

4th

39

44

55

138

2011

Guadalajara

5th

30

40

49

119

2015

Toronto

2nd 78 69 70 217