Today marks the official start of the XV Pan American Games in the beautiful Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. St Vincent and the Grenadines will once more join the Olympic family of the Americas at what continues to be a most challenging event in the South American heartland.
The Pan American Games are the continental version of the Olympic Games. The Games include the sports that are included on the Summer Olympic Programme and others that are not part of the Olympics.
Sport historians tell us that: The origin of the Pan American Games dates back to 1932, in the Los Angeles Olympic Games. Inspired by the holding of the first Central American Games six years earlier, the Latin American representatives of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) proposed the creation of a competition that would include all the countries in the Americas, for the purpose of strengthening sport activities in the region. The idea resulted in the first Pan American Sports Congress, held in Buenos Aires in 1940. In principle the Congress determined that the inaugural games would be held in 1942 in the Argentine capital – plans that were postponed due to World War II. At the end of the conflict, a second Pan American Sports Congress in London during the 1948 Olympic Games, confirmed Buenos Aires as the host for the first Pan American Games, finally scheduled for 1951.Competitions started on February 25th and included 2,513 athletes from 21 countries, with 18 sports.
The Pan American Games are held every four years, always one year before the Olympic Games.