Celebrating the 100-day Countdown to the Guadalajara 2011 Pan American Games

The Opening Ceremony of the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico is now only 100 days away and the Canadian Olympic Committee has joined Mexican officials at the Mexican Consulate in Montreal to officially kick-off the countdown.

“The Pan American Games are an important component of the COC’s high performance plan,” said COC CEO and Secretary General Jean R. Dupré. “They are part of the 2012 Olympic qualification process for a number of sports, they provide valuable multi-sport Games experience to young athletes and represent the pinnacle of competition for sports that are not on the Olympic programme.”

“Guadalajara and Jalisco are ready to greet the athletes and visitors who will fully enjoy the competitions, activities and sports, as well as cultural events prepared for the American Continent and the world,” said Gustavo Morales, Cultural Attaché for the Consulate General of Mexico. “Jalisco is considered to be one of the most emblematic states of Mexico and will no doubt host a very memorable Pan American Games.”

“There is undoubtedly already a great “buzz” in Guadalajara and the State of Jalisco, and I know that our Canadian Team will be warmly welcomed next October,” said Jacques Cardyn, Chef de Mission for the 2011 Canadian Pan American Team. “On behalf of the athletes and support team members who will be taking part in the Games next October, I look forward to an exciting and wonderful experience.”

One of the largest sporting events in the world, the Pan American Games are a major, multi-sport festival with athletes from an expected 42 nations set to compete. While Canada’s team will not be finalized until September, the team will be similar in size to the 470 athletes who competed for the maple leaf in Rio in 2007. The Canadian Pan American Team is the largest team the COC sends to Games.

Guadalajara 2011 will play host to 36 sport disciplines. For several Canadian athletes, Olympic qualification is on the line. Sports with 2012 Olympic qualification ramifications include: Athletics, CanoeKayak, Diving, Field Hockey, Equestrian, Handball, Judo, Modern Pentathlon, Shooting, Swimming, Synchronized Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Triathlon and Water Polo.

For non-Olympic sports, such as Baseball, Bowling, Karate, Racquetball, Roller Sports, Softball, Squash and Water Ski, the Pan American Games represent the largest multi-sport Games at which their sport will compete.

The quest to become the host city of the Pan American Games began over 15 years ago, but it wasn´t until May 28, 2006, when the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) awarded the 2011 Games to the city of Guadalajara.

The Federal Government, the Jalisco State Government and the city of Guadalajara have gone to great lengths to build all necessary sports facilities and improve roadways, enhance services and the overall image of the city and that of all the Pan American subsites.

In order to hold competitions in 36 different sports, it was necessary to build 23 stadiums equipped with state-of-the-art technology, renovate three existing venues and request, on loan, the use of three private sports complexes.

Guadalajara increased its hotel infrastructure by 30 per cent, from 16 thousand to 21 thousand hotel rooms. The economic windfall is expected to be 2.703 billion dollars, equivalent to four times the total value of Jalisco’s tequila exports during all of 2010.