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  • On the Scene -- Scramble to Solve Pan Am Games Crisis


    11/03/09

    Guadalajara, population 5 million, will host the Pan Am Games in October 2011. (ATR/Panasonic:Lumix)
    (ATR) Leaders of the Olympic Movement in the Americas gather in Guadalajara this week amid a scramble to end a crisis in preparations for the 2011 Pan American Games set for Mexico’s second-biggest city.

    The Executive Committee of the Pan American Sports Organization meets Tuesday to hear the latest on the Guadalajara Pan Ams, just under two years away.

    Worries about a Pan American Village may be paramount. Work has yet to begin on the village – because a decision on where it will be has yet to be made. Plans to build the village in the center of Guadalajara were abandoned in September.

    Now the suburb of Zapopan is considered a likely site. The interim mayor for Guadalajara has tried to keep the village within the city, but is apparently ready to accede to the Zapopan location.

    “We are happy with all the decisions PASO takes,” Juan Pablo de la Torre tells Around the Rings.

    Also of concern is the athletics stadium and aquatics center, both behind schedule.

    The dozen plus
    Interim Mayor Juan Pablo del Torre, PASO President Mario Vazquez Rana and Guadalajara 2011 President Carlos Andrade Garin at the start of the PASO Executive Committee meeting. (ATR/Panasonic:Lumix)
    members of the PASO executive could ratify the Pan Am Village change today. Then it would be presented to the general assembly which begins meeting Wednesday at the Hilton Guadalajara.

    More than 400 delegates are expected for the three-day assembly which will come to a climax Nov. 6 with the election of a host for the 2015 Pan American Games.

    Workers for Bogota, Lima and Toronto were busy Tuesday assembling the stands they will use as the base camp for their last-minute lobbying.

    There seems to be no clear favorite in the race, though there is talk in Guadalajara that PASO President Mario Vazquez Rana is behind the scenes urging support for Toronto.

    The Bogota bid is part of efforts to change the image of the Colombian capital and to improve the sport infrastructure.

    Lima is touting its seaside location as best for the athletes and a good hospitality infrastructure. Lima leaders have said that the Pan Ams should be awarded to developing
    Assembling a model for the exhibit of Toronto 2015. (ATR/Panasonic:Lumix)
    nations where the games can have more impact.

    Carlos Nuzman, IOC member, Brazilian Olympic Committee President and head of Rio 2016 will address the PASO assembly about the impact the 2007 Pan Ams had on his city, now the host of the 2016 Olympics.

    It could be an emotional moment for Nuzman, making his first report to PASO since Rio’s victory. He is expected to thank his colleagues for their support of the 2007 Pan Ams, which clearly served as springboard for the successful Olympic bid.

    The U.S., which lost out to a rival bid from the Pan American region for the 2016 Games, will us this meeting as part of its “rebuilding” following the loss Chicago, says USOC chairman Larry Probst, attending his first PASO meeting in his 13-months in the USOC seat. Also making her PASO debut -- as well as farewell -- is USOC acting CEO Stephanie Streeter, who is to step down from the post by the end of the year. Streeter will cast the U.S. vote Friday for the 2015 PASO host city.

    Written by Ed Hula.

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