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Pan American Games

2007 PAG Team

The Pan American Games bring together athletes from the countries of the Americas in a festival of sport and international friendship. The Games are held every four years in the year preceding the Olympic Games.

The first Pan American Games took place in 1951 at Buenos Aires, Argentina, but they originated more than two decades earlier. At the Olympic Congress coinciding with the 1924 Olympic Games at Paris, France, the International Olympic Committee members from Cuba, Guatemala and Mexico proposed the establishment of regional games for the countries of Central America. These games became reality two years later when Mexico City hosted the first Central American Games
At the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games, representatives of the Latin American delegations proposed regional Games for all the Americas. This proposal eventually led to the first meeting of the Pan American Sports Congress at Buenos Aires in August 1940. The Congress selected Buenos Aires to host the first Pan American Games in 1942, but World War II forced postponement of these games.

Although the 1942 Pan American Games never took place, at least one poster was created on their behalf. The image shows a male figure in the foreground holding a javelin. The background reveals a view of the globe showing the Americas. The globe is encircled with the flags of 21 Pan American countries. Countries from the British Commonwealth, did not participate in the early Pan American Sports Congress. The lithograph poster was designed by artist Falier Totaro in 1941.

A second Pan American Sports Congress met at the 1948 London Olympic Games where plans were revived. The first Pan American Games opened on February 25, 1951, at Buenos Aires. More than 2,500 athletes from 22 countries participated.
The organization governing the Games was renamed, in 1955, as the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO). Currently, 42 nations of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean comprise the organization. The official languages are Spanish and English. PASO has headquarters in Mexico City and is presided over by Mario Vasquez Raña of Mexico, who also is a member of the International Olympic Committee.

The PASO emblem is a torch superimposed over five concentric circles of the colors green, yellow, white, red and blue. At least one of these colors appears on every national flag of the Americas. PASO’s motto "America, Espirito, Sport, Fraternité" incorporates four of the languages in common use in the Americas: Spanish, Portuguese, English and French. The phrase loosely translates to English as "The American spirit of friendship through sports."


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