Alexandra Orlando has performed for Canada in Rhythmic Gymnastics in international competitions including the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and the PanAmerican Games. She's a member of the Toronto bid committee for the PanAmerican Games. She writes this from Guadalajara, Mexico
In a few short hours our bid team will be walking into a room to face a group of people who control our fate. The decision that we have all been waiting for, working for and hoping for is finally here. Our moment is here.
Two years ago, I was competing at the Pan American Games for Rhythmic Gymnastics and now I am fortunate enough to be a part of the Toronto bid team to bring these very Games to my home in 2015. It has been an honour and a privilege to represent Canadian athletes on the Bid Board of Directors and here in front of the PASO General Assembly.
The past year has been a whirlwind of activity for our bid team, led by the Honourable David Peterson. Each and every single person on this team has done everything they can to prove to every Pan Am nation that we are ready and hungry for these Games. In the end, that's what it's all about. You've got to want it more than anyone else. When I came on board a year ago, I knew that what we were doing was special; something that would leave a mark on the history of our province forever.
To me and every sport lover out there, the benefits of hosting the Pan Am Games are immeasurable and honestly, brutally obvious. The largest investment in sport infrastructure our province has ever seen. Thousands of new jobs to boost our economy. A stronger sense of Canadian pride. Motivating our youth and inspiring healthier, active lifestyles for all. You tell me if you see anything wrong with that picture.
As a Canadian who has dedicated my entire life to amateur sport in this country, with no multi-million dollar deals in sight, I did it because I loved it. There's nothing in the world that can compare to what it feels like to represent your country and wear that Maple Leaf on your back. I believe in the power of sport. I believe in what sport can do for a country and its people. Not only will these Games give our high performance athletes the support and resources needed to be competitive on the world stage, but will lay the foundations for the development of amateur sport in the province for generations to come.
I have been anxiously waiting for this day, to stand up in front of all the members of PASO and show them my passion for sport and the Pan and Parapan Am Games. When I arrived here in Guadalajara a few days ago, the intensity of this General Assembly hit me hard as I walked into the hotel. I had the strongest feeling of déjà vu. It felt exactly like walking into the competition arena for the first time at an international tournament. That only means one thing; it is time to get your game face on.
Delegates from every nation fill every part of the hotel, each bid team is competing for a commanding presence and all eyes are on you. Coming into the home stretch this week we've made sure we were still fighting every step of the way. As I learned early on in my career in a subjective, judged sport, all you can control is what you do out there when you're performing. The rest is out of your hands. If you put the work, the sweat and even the tears into it you'll get the best out of yourself and walk away with no regrets.
The Toronto bid team has done just that. I believe in the work we have done and the creation of a plan that will revolutionize the Games experience for all athletes. This morning we're going to make our final plea to PASO, knowing that when it's all over, no matter what happens, we gave it our all. This is our moment; our time and we are not letting it slip away without a fight.