In a previous column, ('Size in Caribbean sports conflict,' Friday, 20th July 2007), the point was made that one of the unfortunate features of sport in the Caribbean today is the importance given to size of country by the larger nations among us. At the level of the Pan American Games this feature is also considered critical by the representatives (administrators in particular) of the larger National Olympic Committees, NOC's, within the Pan American Sports Organisation, PASO, the body that owns the rights to the quadrennial event that brings together in what is supposed to be friendly competition, 42 NOCs.
15th Pan Am Games
The 15th Pan American Games were convened in the tourist paradise setting of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 13th July 2007, with the curtains scheduled to be drawn on 29th July.
All 42 NOCs were represented and the opening ceremony fetched only superlatives, not only from the participants and the live audience but also throughout the sporting world. It was easily the most spectacular opening ceremony in the history of the Pan American games and a tribute to the artistry of the Brazilian people.
While the overall cost of the Games is yet to be disclosed, the Bid victory was clinched when the Bid Committee of Rio 2007 agreed to a guaranteed mammoth pay out for television rights to the Games for US$13m. Prior to the 15th edition of the Games, the most money that TV rights attracted was US$3m for the 14 th edition held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 2003.
The Caribbean at the Games
The Caribbean was well represented by athletes at the 15th Pan American Games, all in the hope of bringing glory to their respective countries. While there were high expectations on the part of some countries with proven performances in the past there was always the fear that things may have changed enough o allow for some major surprises.
Trinidad and Tobago’s George Bovell III, one time brief world record holder found the going much tougher than expected and he could only managed a bronze medal in the pool.