Games-Pan Am Games come to predictable end but face uncertain future

kim kardashian

[1/5]Pan-Am Games – Santiago 2023 – Closing Ceremony – Parque Bicentenario de Cerrillos, Santiago, Chile – November 5, 2023 General view of performers and Fiu the Pan-Am Games mascot during the Closing Ceremony as the evening light illuminates the Andes mountains RushHourDaily/Ivan Alvarado Acquire Licensing Rights

SANTIAGO, Nov 5 (RushHourDaily) – The Pan American Games came to a predictable end on Sunday with the United States the runaway leader on the medal table, officials giving themselves a pat on the back and questions about the future of the event hanging in the air.

As the closing ceremonies got underway at the quaint Parque Bicentenario the mood was one of relief as much as celebration at Santiago having delivered a no frills Games that clunked along at times but in the end met the needs of the nearly 7,000 athletes from 41 nations.

As the Games flame was extinguished and fireworks boomed Santiago handed the baton to Barranquilla, Colombia, who will host the next Pan Ams in 2027.

“We are learning the experience, first-hand, of what goes well and what goes wrong, of the great logistical challenges that come with organising the second most important sporting event in the world, after the Olympics in terms of number of athletes and in the number of disciplines,” Barranquilla mayor Jaime Pumarejo to El Heraldo. “We are learning from the successes and mistakes that occurred in Santiago.”

Even before the first medal had been awarded officials from Chile president Gabriel Boric to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach were trumpeting the event a success triggering dreamy talk of bringing an Olympic Games to the Chilean capital.

But as the competition pushed on operational cracks began to appear and the reality of getting the Games to the finish line began to hit home.

At the halfway point it seemed as if many of the venues were still under constant construction and organisers were being questioned about the empty seats.

There was also criticism over an embarrassing gaffe in the women’s 20 kilometre racewalk after it was discovered the route was several kilometres short.

These are the type of problems that hit almost every multi-sport Games and quickly dealt with but the issues confronting the Pan Am Sports Organisation (PSO) cannot be so easily solved.

Finding ways to breathe relevance and interest into an increasingly marginalized competition remains an ongoing challenge with fewer cities interested in bidding for the Games and top athletes giving them a pass.

Twice before Santiago had been awarded hosting rights (1975 and 1987) but withdrew both times due to financial and political issues and only secured the 2023 Games when it was the last bid standing after Buenos Aires pulled out.

Colombia will stage the 2027 Games but so far no country has expressed interest in bidding for 2031.

For Chile there were moments, such as Santiago Adolfo Ford winning the decathlon, that sparked bursts of national pride but home field proved no advantage as the hosts could not better their gold medal haul from four years ago.

Chile finished with a best ever total of 79 medals but just 12 were gold, one short of what was taken in Lima.

The Games had looked ready to end on a golden high for soccer mad Chile with both the men’s and women’s teams playing in the championship matches.

But there was only disappointment with the women falling 1-0 to Mexico on Friday followed by more heartbreak with the men losing to Brazil 4-2 on penalties.

The U.S. was perched top the medal table from the start finishing with 286 total medals, 124 of which were gold, and did it with a B team in many competitions, including swimming, athletics and gymnastics.

Brazil, the only other country to pass 200 total medals, finished on 205 with 66 gold followed by Mexico (52/142) and Canada (46/164).

Only twice has the United States not finished in top spot, the inaugural Pan Am Games in 1951 when host Argentina was first and 1991 when host Cuba took the honours.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Santiago; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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