Goodbye Guadalajara: Pan Am focus shifts to Toronto
Goodbye Guadalajara. Over to you, Toronto.
The Pan American Games wrapped Sunday night with a closing ceremony that included an eight-minute segment dedicated to the Ontario capital, which will host the Games in four years.
As dancers roamed the stage, a video montage of vintage Pan Am sports highlights was played on an overhanging screen at the packed Omnilife Stadium. The crowd was also treated to scenic shots of the city and region, including the Toronto skyline, CN Tower and Niagara Falls.
Jazz singer Florence K sang the national anthem. The performers capped their program with a mix of Aboriginal, Caribbean and Latin dance performances resembling an urban street party.
"Our goal was to combine storytelling, music, imagery, athletics and dance to give viewers a sense of Toronto, its multicultural neighbourhoods and surrounding regions," TO2015 chief executive officer Ian Troop said in a release.
Wearing a sharp dark suit, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford gleefully waved the Pan American Games flag in the traditional handover ceremony. He was joined on stage by Sports Minister Bal Gosal and local dignitaries.
Earlier, Canadian boxer and gold medallist Mary Spencer proudly waved the Maple Leaf as she entered the stadium in a line with flag-bearers from other countries. The joyous athletes soon followed as dance music pounded throughout the venue.
The beaming Canadians wore red warmup jackets, black shorts and many were waving small flags. A few athletes added some local flavour to the uniform — one wore a black sombrero while another was sporting a wrestling mask.
The Ontario capital will host the Games in July 2015 and the weeklong Parapan American Games will be held the following month. Organizers expect 10,000 athletes and officials from 48 sports to participate.
It will be the third time Canada has hosted the Pan Ams, which Winnipeg also hosted in 1967 and 1999. It will be the first time that Canada will host the Parapan American Games.
Earlier Sunday, former Pan Am medallist Alexandra Orlando of Toronto was elected to the Pan American Sport Organization (PASO) Athletes Commission. Its goal is to ensure that the athletes' voices are heard in the planning of future Games.
Orlando competed for 12 years as a rhythmic gymnast and represented Canada at the 2008 Olympic Games. She also competed at the Pan Am Games in 2003 and 2007.