FAQ: What are the Pan American Games?

The Pan American Games are a continental multi-sport competition for the countries of North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean.

When are the Pan American Games?

The Pan American Games are held every four years, in the year prior to the Olympic Summer Games.

Where have the Pan American Games been held?

For more than 60 years the Pan American Games have been held in cities in every corner of the continent, from Winnipeg (1967, 1999) in the north to Mar del Plata, Argentina (1995) in the south. Canada and Mexico are the only countries to host the Games three times.

The complete list of host countries and cities includes:

Argentina: Buenos Aires 1951
Mexico: Mexico City 1955
United States: Chicago 1959
Brazil: São Paulo 1963
Canada: Winnipeg 1967
Colombia: Cali 1971
Mexico: Mexico City 1975
Puerto Rico: San Juan 1979
Venezuela: Caracas 1983
United States: Indianapolis 1987
Cuba: Havana 1991
Argentina: Mar del Plata 1995
Canada: Winnipeg 1999
Dominican Republic: Santo Domingo 2003
Brazil: Rio de Janeiro 2007
Mexico: Guadalajara 2011
Canada: Toronto 2015
Peru: Lima 2019
Chile: Santiago 2023
Colombia: Barranquilla 2027

How big are the Pan American Games?

The Pan American Games are the world’s third-largest multi-sport Games, surpassed only in size by the Olympic Summer Games and the Asian Games. More than 6000 athletes from 41 countries now compete at the Pan American Games.

What sports are included at the Pan American Games?

The Pan American Games include all of the sports and disciplines featured on the summer Olympic program as well as some additional sports governed by international federations that are recognized by the IOC. Some sports and events are direct qualifiers for the next Olympic Summer Games

When did the Pan American Games begin?

The first Pan American Games were hosted in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1951, but the idea of the Games dates back two decades earlier.

In 1926, following a proposal by IOC members from Cuba, Guatemala and Mexico, the first Central American Games were held. At the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, representatives of those Latin American delegations proposed regional Games for the Americas. That led to the Pan American Sports Congress in Buenos Aires in 1940 which selected the city to host the first Pan American Games in 1942. Those plans had to be postponed due to World War II. A second Pan American Sports Congress met in London during the 1948 Olympic Games and confirmed Buenos Aires as the host for the inaugural Pan American Games, which opened on February 25, 1951 with more than 2500 athletes from 22 countries.

What is Canada’s history at the Pan American Games?

Canada has participated in every Pan American Games except the first. At the time, countries of the Commonwealth did not participate in the Pan American Sports Congress which established the Games. Canada hosted the fifth and 13th editions of the Games in Winnipeg in 1967 and 1999 and the 17th edition in Toronto in 2015.

Who governs the Pan American Games?

The Pan American Games are governed by the Pan American Sports Organization, which is headquarterd in Mexico and today includes 41 member National Olympic Committees and has English and Spanish as its official languages.