The year before the Summer Olympics, a similar multi-sport event takes place: the Pan American Games, an intense competition between the 3 Americas: North, Center and South, as well as the Caribbean. The XVIII Pan American Games is the biggest international sports event in 2019 and will be held from July 26 to August 11 in Lima, Peru. In its entire history, only 3 countries have won, Argentina, Cuba and USA. Or to put it a little differently, the USA only lost twice out of 17times, finishing second to host Argentina in the inaugural event of 1951 and to host Cuba 40 years later. In addition to hoping for home field advantage, hosting this year’s Pan American Games is a huge opportunity for Peru since some of the world’s best athletes, their trainers, officials, families, as well as global spectators and the international press, will all spend time in Peru and be immersed in all that it has to offer.

Top ten countries with the most medals won at the Summer Pan American Games

Peru is an attractive tourist destination, receiving more than 4 million visitors in 2018. Lima, the capital city, is home to 10 million people and is a dynamic and beautiful locale, blending modern architecture with ancient.  The Historic Center of Lima is a UNESCO site and being on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, its beaches and surfing are one way to spend some time.  Of course, there’s the gastronomy scene in Lima, which is one of the best in the world. From gourmet dining to local ceviche restaurants, it’s a foodie paradise.  Then there’s Cusco, an easy 1-hour flight from Lima, and of course, Machu Picchu. Magnificent jewels all should see.
41 Countries, 424 Events, 6900 Athletes…

Practicing sport sailing in the bay of Paracas, Pisco

The last edition of the Pan American Games was held in Toronto in 2015. The USA won 265 overall medals, including 103 gold. Canada placed second with 217 overall medals with 78 gold. The USA racked up even more gold in Toronto than it won at Pan-Am in Guadalajara, Mexico four years earlier. 424 events in 39 sports are scheduled for the Lima 2019 Pan-Am Games, which is the largest number of contests ever to be held at these games. Similar to the Olympics, some key events include swimming, diving, gymnastics, track as well as basketball, fencing, boxing, rowing, volleyball and more.  Bodybuilding and surfing will be added for the first time.
Peru is Ready to Host!

Sports center in Callao where Volleyball and Taekwondo tournaments will held place

New villas built for the participating athletes

While Peru has a solid infrastructure in place, it is adding to it in order to ensure all runs smoothly for this important event. The total budget of the games in Lima is estimated at US$1.2 billion, with $470 million going to sports infrastructure, $180 million to building the Pan American Village, which will accommodate 9,500 athletes and team officials in the complex, $430 million spent in organization, and $106 million for additional expenses.  The Village complex will go to good use at the conclusion of the games, with its 1,700 units to be sold as apartments to families with social loans to improve the quality of their living.
The Parapan American Games, for athletes with disabilities, will be held 12 days after the Lima Pan-Am Games from August 23 to September 1, 2019 also in Lima.
How About a Gentleman’s Bet?

Four years ago, a group of friends in New York were quite surprised that Peru won gold at the Toronto Pan American games in 2015. Their reaction was justified, since Peru has won only 8 gold medals in the entire history of the games (4 in Toronto). Yet, Peru should have won many more medals, right?! Everyone knows the USA is a powerhouse, with its great focus, preparation and investment in sports, no doubt they medal big in global athletic competitions.  The top 5 medal earners in the history of the Pan American Games goes USA, Cuba, Canada, Brazil and Argentina.  Peru currently sits at 18th place. According to a Peruvian source, he’s predicting (or hoping?) that Peru will garner 10 gold medals this Summer, so he is ready to bet a dinner at any of the 3 Lima restaurants that hold rank on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants List, that Peru will win at least 8 gold medals. No one is a loser in that!

Anyone wants to bet?