Canada to Send Second Largest Athlete Delegation to the 2007 Pan American Games

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) announced today that a total of 470 athletes along with 272 coaches, team leaders and support team members will represent Canada at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from July 13 to 29.

Canada’s 2007 Pan American Games athlete delegation is this nation’s second largest at any multi-sport Games, trailing only the 618 athletes that participated at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg.

“For many of Canada’s athletes, the 2007 Pan American Games will provide an opportunity for them to compete at their first multi-sport competition,” said Chef de Mission Tricia Smith, a four-time Olympian and multiple World Championship medallist. “Together with the Canadian Olympic Committee and Assistant Chef de Mission Jacques Cardyn, I am looking forward to providing leadership and support to Canada’s athletes as they strive to achieve their performance goals in Rio de Janeiro.”

The 2007 Pan American Games will serve as a 2008 Olympic Games qualification event for several sports including equestrian, field hockey, handball, modern pentathlon, shooting, synchronized swimming, table tennis, triathlon and water polo.

The COC has not set a specific medal target or nation ranking goal for the 2007 Pan American Games. The COC’s focus for the Games is to support those sports and athletes that have an opportunity to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games through their performance in Rio de Janeiro.

As part of the 17-day event, the COC will use the Pan American Games as an opportunity to help prepare Canada’s athletes and teams for the 2008 Olympic Games by testing out a variety of new high performance programs and initiatives designed to help the organization achieve its goal of a top-16 finish in Beijing.

Among some of the notable facts regarding Canada’s 2007 Pan American Games team:

• Canada needs just 61 medals to reach 1,500 total medals at the Pan American Games.

• Canada’s athlete delegation will consist of 234 men and 236 women competitors.

• Ontario has the largest contingent of hometown athletes competing at the 2007 Pan American Games with 144. Quebec is second with 110, followed by British Columbia (86), Alberta (52), Saskatchewan (21), Manitoba (14), Nova Scotia (9), New Brunswick (6) and Prince Edward Island (4). Note: Provincial breakdown does not include members of Canada’s men’s and women’s basketball teams as their rosters have not been officially announced.

• Artistic gymnast Charlotte Mackie (Coquitlam, B.C.,13 years, nine months) will be Canada’s youngest athlete at the Games while equestrian Ian Millar (Perth Ont., 60 years, six months) will be Canada’s eldest athlete competing in Rio de Janeiro.

• Millar (Perth, Ont.) will compete in his eighth consecutive Pan American Games, the most of in Canadian history.

• Canada’s athletes will compete in the majority of sports at the 2007 Pan American Games with the exception of baseball, BMX cycling, futsal, marathon, race walk, men’s soccer and women’s volleyball.

On June 21, the COC announced that Dr. Susan Nattrass (Edmonton), a five-time Olympian and two-time Pan American Games medallist in shooting, will serve as Canada’s flag bearer for the opening ceremony of the 2007 Pan American Games.

An estimated 5,500 athletes from 42 countries of North, South and Central America and the Caribbean will compete in a total of 33 sports at the 2007 Pan American Games.

At the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Canada ranked third in the overall medal standings with 128. The United States of America led all nations with 270 total medals, followed by Cuba with 152.