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All about the Pan Am Games


Catharine Pandrel (courtesy of CBC Sports)

The Pan American Games – or Pan Am Games, as they are more commonly known – are taking place this summer in Toronto from July 10 to 26. They are the third largest multi-sport international games after the Summer Olympics and the Asian Games.

The Pan Am Games are held every four years. The first took place in Buenos Aires (say “bweh-nohs eh-reez), Argentina in 1951 and featured 18 sports. This year, more than 7,000 athletes from 41 nations across the Americas and Caribbean are descending upon Toronto. They’ll compete in 36 summer sports – everything from archery to wrestling. Just like in the Olympics, the coveted prize at the Pan Am Games is a gold, silver, or bronze medal that’s presented in each of the nearly 400 events.

The Pan Am Games medals

The competition medals for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games (TORONTO 2015 licensed CC BY 4.0)

Before the Games begin on July 10th, a ceremonial flame was lit in a traditional lighting ceremony in Mexico. The flame landed in Canada on May 30 and is now being carried through cities and towns across the country by torchbearers in a 41-day journey. The Pan Am flame will make its final stop in Toronto on July 10. There it will be used to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, marking the official beginning of the Games.

Mayor John Tory and torch bearer Francis Atta.

Toronto’s Mayor John Tory (right) and torch bearer Francis Atta (left) unveil the official Pan Am torch and uniforms. Atta will be one of the 3,000 torch bearers taking part in the relay from Mexico to Toronto. (courtesy of CBC Sports)

While the Pan Am Games wind down with its Closing Ceremony on July 26, the fun will be far from over. The Parapan Am Games take place in Toronto from August 7 to 15. Held every four years, the Games feature athletes with disabilities.