The Pan American and Parapan American Games have grown exponentially throughout time until positioning themselves like the most important sports events of the Americas.

From their first edition in Buenos Aires 1951 to the present time, the Games have been evolving and growing significantly until the tournament of Lima 2019.

In their beginnings, the Pan American and Parapan American Games were developed independently from themselves, in different host cities. It was not until 2007, in Rio de Janeiro, when the events were made in the same city and with the continuity we know today.

This union made it possible to strengthen both events and establish themselves as the largest multidisciplinary competition in the Americas, thus enhancing the development of Olympic and Paralympic sport.

Although the Pan American Games have more decades of history, the Paralympic sport has grown strongly and has managed to get closer to the scope of the Olympic sport, although investing less time. The decision to convert most of the Parapan American events into qualifiers for the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games also represented a momentum that continues to this day. Santiago 2023 will seek in the same way that most of its sports and disciplines are qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Games.

Sports and disciplines

One of the key factors to energize the growth of the Pan American and Parapan American Games is the number of sports and disciplines that take place in each edition.

This factor is determined by internal agents, such as the cultural aspects and infrastructure of sports venues, as well as by external agents, such as the definitions and trends of the Olympic / Paralympic Games and the decisions of organizing bodies such as Panam Sports (Pan-American ) and the APC (Americas Paralympic Committee).

In the first Pan American Games in Buenos Aires 1951, 20 sports were played. In Lima 2019 there were 39, almost double the first version! This shows how the sport has grown in popularity, in new disciplines and therefore, in the number of practitioners and consumers. In the last edition, surfing was added as a sport, following the trend of Tokyo 2020, where it will be part of a new sports program next year.

The same happened with the Parapan American Games. In its first edition, in Mexico 1999, the event only had 4 Para sports. Today this figure has risen to 17, making it clear that the great growth experienced by the Olympic movement, sooner or later should also be reflected in the Paralympic movement.

It was in this first edition that it was decided to grant the event the quality of qualifying for the Paralympic Games, which would take place a year later in Sydney 2000.

Another of the determining factors to consider when including disciplines and sports in an edition, is its Olympic / Paralympic character; the number of teams or athletes participating in competition, in order to create an equal fair; and if passing through the continental event means qualifying for some other world-class event.

On December 16, the Pan and Parapan American world anxiously awaits the announcement of the Santiago 2023 sports programs. This will definitely mark the course of the less than three years remaining for the inauguration of the most important multidisciplinary event that the capital of Chile has ever organized.

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