Hamilton Hosts Special 'I Am Pan Am' Event

Top Athletes Participate in Grassroots Program

With the inspirational help of 16 high performance athletes, the city of Hamilton today hosted “I Am Pan Am” — a special education/activity program geared towards youngsters. The event falls just 10 days before the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) Evaluation Committee comes to Toronto to take a look at the bid to host the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Led by Olympic rhythmic gymnast Alexandra Orlando – winner of three Pan Am gold medals in 2007 – “I Am Pan Am” kicked off in the morning with an Opening Ceremony before at least 240 Hamilton youth and Mayor Fred Eisenberger. Afterward, kids enjoyed a unique day of drills and training exercises and had the chance to experience sports contested at the Pan American Games.

Throughout the day, Olympic and Pan American athletes were on hand to lead the events and relay their experiences from Major Games. They include four athletes who in 2007 won a silver medal at the Rio Pan American Games and in 2008 competed at the Beijing Olympic Games: kayaker Chris Pellini, archer Crispin Duenes, wrestler Ohenwa Akuffo and high jumper Nicole Forrester. A fifth 2008 Olympian was on hand as well, kayaker Brady Reardon.

Other participating athletes included Peter Doucet (roller sports), Erika Leigh Stirton and Carly Orava (rhythmic gymnastics), Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirer (figure skating), Dave Mair (wrestling), Alana McDonald (archery), Bernard Lorde (tae kwan do), Mark Dillon (high jump) and Jordan Kozina (rugby).

This entertaining, grassroots program was held in a city vital to the Greater Golden Horseshoe’s bid for the 2015 Pan Am Games. Hamilton would be the site of a brand new 3,500-seat cycling velodrome and a 15,000-seat open Pan American stadium for athletics events, while Copps Coliseum would host indoor volleyball. The new projects would have important legacy value as sites for future training of Canadian athletes, in a highly populated region of Canada that needs greater sports infrastructure.

The last two days in August are important for Canada’s chance to host the 2015 Pan Am Games. In an visit organized by the Toronto 2015 Bid Team, members of the PASO Evaluation Committee will see highlights and major pieces of the overall Bid plan in person. It is a chance to boost local awareness about the Southern Ontario bid and illustrate for PASO officials the Bid’s strengths.

Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe is competing with Bogota, Columbia and Lima, Peru for the right to host the Games six years from now.