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With a tip of the sombrero to Mexico for a successful Pan American Games, the Americas and Caribbean shift their focus north to Toronto for the next edition in four years.

"We've got a lot of advantages," Ian Troop says of Toronto. (ATR)

The capital of Ontario – and the largest city in Canada – will host the 17th Pan American Games from July 10 to 26 of 2015. Toronto organizers are aiming to make the event even more meaningful as a pre-Olympic competition and hope the mid-summer dates and location will attract some of the world's biggest stars who skipped Guadalajara.

"One of the objectives we have is to increase the number of events which are Olympic qualifying," Toronto 2015 CEO Ian Troop tells Around the Rings.

Fifteen of the 26 Olympic sports had Olympic berths at stake in 2011. Basketball has been mentioned as a sport that could use the Pan Ams as an Olympic qualifying tournament to increase its level of competition. The United States, which sent NBA D-League players, managed only a bronze medal.

Troop says Toronto will work with Canada and the U.S. to make sure their best athletes come. That will be difficult given that world championships in athletics and swimming will be held in 2015, and the swimming dates are almost a direct conflict.

"We've got a lot of advantages," Troop says. "We're a very friendly location from a U.S. standpoint. When I talk to the USOC, they say, 'This is a home games for us.' We need to exploit that. It is certainly a home games for Canada. And for all countries, this is the last major multi-sport Games before Rio. And we are selling hard the idea this is an important preparatory step for your teams on the road to Rio."

Troop says he had some talks with FINA, led by Julio Maglione of Uruguay, about the swimming competition while he was in Guadalajara.

"It's relationship building at international federation level," he says. "It's looking at schedules and it's working all those factors to get into what will be the optimal event with the right athletes."

PASO president Mario Vazquez Rana (center) hands over the Pan Ams flag to Toronto 2015 as Guadalajara 2011 looks on. (Getty Images)

The World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, Russia are scheduled from July 20 to Aug. 2.

"Our swimming goes first on July 10," Troop says, "so if they push swimming to late in the program at the World Championships, they've got over two weeks to recover and get over to Kazan. I'm not saying that's the plan. I'm saying that's the kind of things you need to work on."

Swimming Canada CEO Pierre Lafontaine tells ATR that he is hoping the scheduling will allow Canada's A team to compete in Toronto. "We're saying this is the Olympic qualifying for synchro, for water polo," he says. "It would be terrible if the host nation wouldn't be supporting their event with their best team."

The world's most famous Olympic athlete, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, never had the Pan Ams on his radar screen because they are so late in the year. Bolt competed in the World Championships in Daegu, which ended Sept. 4, and then finished his season in September.

"All the top athletes, for them, it's their offseason," Don Anderson, first vice-president of the Jamaica Olympic Association and chef de mission for London 2012, tells ATR. "It's too late in the year. It's a big problem that we have with most of these Games nowadays. October is not a good time of year."

He says there is a better chance for top athletes to compete in Toronto because the Pan Ams will be in July, and "obviously there is a different kind of appeal in Toronto."

Taking a Close Look

Although Toronto mayor Rob Ford and sports minister Bal Gosal had prominent roles in the traditional handover ceremony, including the mayor brandishing the Pan American Games flag, the major work of organizing the event falls to Troop.

Toronto mayor Rob Ford waves the PASO flag. (Getty Images)

The budget is $1.4 billion and the Games are expected to create 15,000 jobs. An additional 20,000 people will be recruited as volunteers.

Troop spent considerable time in Guadalajara. He co-hosted with 2015 chair Roger Garland a fancy dinner reception for PASO dignitaries before the Games began, then participated in the "observer" program. Troop and his team wanted to learn everything about how the Games operate. "That means tearing it apart and looking at it step-by-step," he says.

The Canadians took note of signage directing spectators at the venues – an area that left room for improvement in Guadalajara – as well as seating, training sites, medical facilities and presentation of the sports.

"In general, the fields of play are terrific and that sort of reaffirms how you can lay out and execute a Games," Troop says.

He was impressed by the passion and spirit of the Mexican fans and expects more diverse cheering sections in his city.

"Given the diversity of Toronto and the region, with 46 percent of our region born outside of Canada and a large Latin and Caribbean population, we have 10,000 people from El Salvador, we have 15,000 Chileans, we have large populations of people," he says.

"One of the things we have to do is reach out to those communities, get them organized, so they can welcome the teams when they land at the airport, they can host them for something and of course be volunteers and come out to support the team."

He says he expects fans to cheer for Canada when its athletes play and for their country of origin when the Canucks are not on the field.

This will be the third time Canada has hosted the Pan American Games. Winnipeg was the host in 1967 and 1999.

Venues in Flux

Toronto is looking for a new home for the velodrome after the recent decision by Hamilton not to host the cycling events, but Troop says that is no cause for alarm. He says that in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, the only venue that stayed the same from the bid book was the Saddledome. At the 2010 Vancouver Games, 65 percent of the venues changed.

Troop says Toronto will start making venue announcements this month.

"We're very comfortable," he says. "Maybe one or two (venues) are still being defined. We talked about 52 in the bid book. We're below that now as we consolidate, simplify and use clustering. The vast majority we know where they are going to be. Many of the bid book ideas were the right ones. And there's going to be some things which move. We feel very confident we'll have an outstanding plan that builds from a lot of good work in the bid, that simplifies and creates an enhanced athlete and spectator experience."

Troop says communities are showing interest in claiming the velodrome. "It's a terrific model," he says. "We've got a cost-effective capital side of things. We really understand how you drive revenue to make it sustainable, which means you've got cycling, but you've got to have the infield fully programmed as well. We really thank Hamilton for a lot of hard work with us to get to that point where we have a very viable, bona fide model. This will be only the second 250-meter track in the whole of North America. And our national team has already agreed to make that their new home instead of Carson, Calif., which makes all the sense in the world."

Finishing in Time

Preparations at the Telmex Athletics Stadium in Guadalajara continued until days before the opening ceremony. (ATR)

The athletics track and the velodrome in Guadalajara were certified the Tuesday before the opening ceremony. Troop says Toronto started moving on venues right away. "My first hires were in the infrastructure side," he says.

Construction is expected to start on Toronto's five big builds in 2012. "We expect to be ready in 2014, which will be a full year in advance of our Games, which allows us to do test events and be ready in plenty of time," Troop adds.

Marketing Movement

Toronto will announce two major sponsors this month.

"We benefit from coming right after Vancouver," Troop says. "The sponsors with Vancouver found it to be a very good experience."

He says Vancouver had had more than 65 different companies involved and Toronto expects to be in that range.

"We feel good that our sponsorship program will result in very robust, capable sponsors who can help us activate these Games and help build their businesses as well," he says.

However, more Canadians have to become aware of the Pan American Games, which will be the biggest event ever hosted in Canada (larger than the 1976 Montreal Olympics and 2010 Vancouver Winter Games). A recent survey of 1,500 Canadians said only 40 percent were aware they were hosting the 2015 Games, and Troop hopes to increase that awareness to 85 percent by 2014.

Olympic Aspirations?

Before winning the Pan American Games, Toronto bid unsuccessfully for the Olympics in 1996 and 2008. Rio also launched failed Olympic bids until using the Pan Ams as a springboard to winning the 2016 Games.

Does Toronto consider the Pan Ams a steppingstone for getting the Olympics?

"Certainly people ask me that question quite a bit," Troop says. "I'd have to say that our focus is on putting on an outstanding Pan Am Games. I think Rio did that themselves in '07. And what I'd like to see happen is after we're finished, our community and our politicians and our leaders look at each other and say, 'That was so terrific, let's go for the Olympics.' And I think that is our legacy."

Link:

http://aroundtherings.com/articles/view.aspx?id=38352

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For the Velodrome you'll need $22.5 million, not too many cities will jump on wagon. Orginally the committee wanted $5 million from the city but it ballooned to $22.5 million. There's still a chance it could happen in Hamilton but I doubt it.

Eventually I believe we will probably end up with a temporary velodrome.

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For the Velodrome you'll need $22.5 million, not too many cities will jump on wagon. Orginally the committee wanted $5 million from the city but it ballooned to $22.5 million. There's still a chance it could happen in Hamilton but I doubt it.

Eventually I believe we will probably end up with a temporary velodrome.

There is rumors that the cycling company led by forgot his name (new pro. team in 2013?) will invest.

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Good to hear Toronto wants to raise the bar on the PanAms and not to make just another edition of the games. It's very positive for the Pan American movement and shows they're not underestimating the importance of the games. 2015 will be beautiful :)

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Of course. If they want to use this Pan Ams to promote a future olympic bid, they have to do the same thing Rio did 4 years ago: Raising the bar once more.

Canada has a lot of experience hosting events, so I'm confident they will make the best Pan Ams ever and i'm glad to see they don't want their games to pass withouth glory or shame .

Only bad thing is that countries without experience are going to have it more difficult to host the games in the future :lol:

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Of course. If they want to use this Pan Ams to promote a future olympic bid, they have to do the same thing Rio did 4 years ago: Raising the bar once more.

Canada has a lot of experience hosting events, so I'm confident they will make the best Pan Ams ever and i'm glad to see they don't want their games to pass withouth glory or shame .

Only bad thing is that countries without experience are going to have it more difficult to host the games in the future :lol:

Considering the two early favs. for 2019 are Lima and Santiago I doubt it.

Apparently Vaughn is interested in velodrome. For those who don't know where Vaughn is its a stones throw away from Toronto, and is about a 15 minute drive from York University site of three events.

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Maybe not. ODEPA doesn't seem to demand every host to surpasses or repeat the successes of previous games. Winnipeg '99, which was the best games in its time, was followed by disastrous Santo Domingo 2003. Rio 2007 was a very large games and Guadalajara chose not to keep that size. This isn't really good or bad, but opens possibilities for future hosts to adjust the PanAms to its standards.

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Of course. If they want to use this Pan Ams to promote a future olympic bid, they have to do the same thing Rio did 4 years ago: Raising the bar once more.

Canada has a lot of experience hosting events, so I'm confident they will make the best Pan Ams ever and i'm glad to see they don't want their games to pass withouth glory or shame .

Only bad thing is that countries without experience are going to have it more difficult to host the games in the future :lol:

That's true. However, Toronto is not that experienced in hosting high-performance international sporting events. The city is used to the idea of hosting professional sports leagues, like the MLB (Toronto Blue Jays), the NBA (Toronto Raptors), the CFL (Toronto Argonauts), and the NHL (Toronto Maple Leafs.) Remember, it had an Olympic test project (approved by the IOC) that flopped in the past. So, it would be like Sochi (host of the 2014 Winter Olympics) to a degree because there will be more venue building from scratch than upgrading existing venues already in place.

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Rumours about the Velodrome

Here's a quote from UT:

There's been rumblings that people responsible for the aquatic centre at UofT Scarborough campus are trying to get the velodrome built there as well. I was hoping for Exhibition Place or Ontario Place which are looking for a raison d'être and could use such a facility. Until recently, I wouldn't have imagined Ford being pro PanAm but given his expression waving the flag at the closing ceremonies, I think he may have caught the bug. Maybe he'll pitch the velodrome for the port lands right next to the ferris wheel.

EDIT: I change my position. I think that UofT is the perfect place for it. These kinds of facilities should be built in the places where athletes are being trained. The exception would be if it were for a spectator sport that would draw thousands of people who would stimulate the commercial economy around it in which case downtown would be better. So hopefully UofT gets the velodrome

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Rumours about the Velodrome

Here's a quote from UT:

There's been rumblings that people responsible for the aquatic centre at UofT Scarborough campus are trying to get the velodrome built there as well. I was hoping for Exhibition Place or Ontario Place which are looking for a raison d'être and could use such a facility. Until recently, I wouldn't have imagined Ford being pro PanAm but given his expression waving the flag at the closing ceremonies, I think he may have caught the bug. Maybe he'll pitch the velodrome for the port lands right next to the ferris wheel.

EDIT: I change my position. I think that UofT is the perfect place for it. These kinds of facilities should be built in the places where athletes are being trained. The exception would be if it were for a spectator sport that would draw thousands of people who would stimulate the commercial economy around it in which case downtown would be better. So hopefully UofT gets the velodrome

I have a source who works for the official consultant for the games, and they believe Vaughn and or York university are the early favs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Monday's council session should be interesting. If Hamilton council supports it they'll be a national fundraiser with Clara Hughes to raise $10 million by Feb 2012 (that's when the final price tag will be known) and Hamilton will add another $5 million to the pot by selling the West Harbour land.

http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/571B801C-29BA-412A-B7E1-FB52E8639805/0/Nov14EDRMS_n231632_v1_10_3__Notice_of_Motion__Pan_Am_Games_Vel.pdf

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Monday's council session should be interesting. If Hamilton council supports it they'll be a national fundraiser with Clara Hughes to raise $10 million by Feb 2012 (that's when the final price tag will be known) and Hamilton will add another $5 million to the pot by selling the West Harbour land.

http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/571B801C-29BA-412A-B7E1-FB52E8639805/0/Nov14EDRMS_n231632_v1_10_3__Notice_of_Motion__Pan_Am_Games_Vel.pdf

Hamilton sucks no offense. They can't get their act together.

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Maybe not. ODEPA doesn't seem to demand every host to surpasses or repeat the successes of previous games. Winnipeg '99, which was the best games in its time, was followed by disastrous Santo Domingo 2003. Rio 2007 was a very large games and Guadalajara chose not to keep that size. This isn't really good or bad, but opens possibilities for future hosts to adjust the PanAms to its

standards.

Well that's the motivation for Lima, Mayaguez, etc...I guess...

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Cash promises rolling in for Hamilton’s lost velodrome

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/627417--cash-promises-rolling-in-for-hamilton-s-lost-velodrome

Never-say-die cycling fans are closing in on $1 million in pledges for a Hamilton velodrome city council turned down more than a month ago.

The city had the inside track to host the Pan Am cycling facility until October, when TO2015 organizers rejected council’s offer of $5 million toward a project that could cost $45 million. Organizers have since offered Milton and Vaughan the chance to buy in.

That hasn’t stopped a last-ditch effort by local fundraisers to convince Pan Am and city council to keep the indoor cycling track in Hamilton.

“Nothing is dead until it’s dead,” said businessman and veteran fundraiser Mark Chamberlain, who chairs the star-studded “campaign cabinet” that formed just days before council opted not to commit the $22 million required by Pan Am to build a velodrome in Hamilton.

“We’re working hard to show there is community support for this, and we’re having some success. We’re hoping the city will see this public interest and … potentially increase its contribution.”

Chamberlain said the cabinet, which includes well-known cyclists such as Clara Hughes and Steve Bauer, has already drummed up more than $500,000 in private pledges. A web-based pledge form — it solicits promises, not cash — was posted about a week ago at http://svy.mk/tWmGxA.

Chamberlain said the total could hit $1 million by next week. He hopes the promised cash will convince councillors the community fundraising goal of $8 million “is very doable” over the next five years.

“I’m a business guy. I know it’s hard to commit to a project when you have no clue what the final cost will be,” he said. “We want to show them a solid private commitment that will help mitigate the risk.”

They’re running out of time to make a case. The interested municipalities have until Nov. 30 to sign a “binding agreement” to pay 44 per cent of the cost of a permanent velodrome.

The city hasn’t pulled its offer off the table, but it remains to be seen whether councillors want to revisit the velodrome debate.

Councillor Brian McHattie withdrew a notice of motion earlier this week calling for the city to double its velodrome commitment using cash from the sale of city-owned west harbour lands.

Councillor Bernie Morelli has suggested using part or all of the $5-million velodrome commitment, pulled from the Future Fund, to pay for neighbourhood improvements around the soon-to-be-rebuilt Ivor Wynne Stadium.

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  • 2 weeks later...

For the Velodrome you'll need $22.5 million, not too many cities will jump on wagon. Orginally the committee wanted $5 million from the city but it ballooned to $22.5 million. There's still a chance it could happen in Hamilton but I doubt it.

Eventually I believe we will probably end up with a temporary velodrome.

Pan Am velodrome host hard to find

The race to replace Hamilton as the host of a Pan Am velodrome is running out of contenders, even as Games organizers extend the deadline.

Pan Am officials rejected a Hamilton offer in October of $5 million toward a permanent indoor cycling track, which provincial officials estimate could cost $45 million.

Other GTA municipalities such as Mississauga, Milton and Vaughan were given the chance to get in the Games — providing they signed on the dotted line by Nov. 30.

Pan Am spokesperson Elissa Freeman wouldn’t comment on the velodrome deadline Tuesday, but municipal reports from both Vaughan and Milton indicate organizers are willing to extend the deadline into December.

By default, Hamilton still appears to be in the running.

Mississauga opted out in October. A Vaughan staff report due to be discussed Dec. 5 recommends bowing out of the velodrome sweepstakes “given the short time-frame … the significant capital commitment and the desire not to increase the property tax burden.”

Milton is still interested, said Councillor Mike Cluett, but “if the numbers don’t add up for us at the end of the day, we’re willing to walk way,” he said. “We still have some questions we’ve asked (Pan Am) to address.”

One of those questions is whether Pan Am will agree to a cheaper facility. Milton voted last week to continue negotiating with Pan Am, but won’t commit until organizers comment “on the potential to reduce the overall capital cost” of the velodrome.

Hamilton councillors also expressed disbelief at the provincial cost estimate of $35 million to $45 million. That would have left local taxpayers on the hook for up to $22 million, because host municipalities are expected to cover 44 per cent of new building costs. Infrastructure Ontario officials wouldn’t budge on the estimate.

Milton’s staff report actually pitches a smaller taxpayer contribution of up to $3.8 million. Hamilton offered $5 million. But Milton staff believe the town could reap up to $8.7 million in naming rights for the facility.

Andrew Iler is hoping the lack of interest — and cash offers — from other municipalities will convince Pan Am to take a second look at Hamilton.

“I think what we’re seeing (in other cities) shows Hamilton has been diligent in its research,” said Iler, a member of a fundraising committee that has collected about $1 million in community pledges to help convince city council to fatten its velodrome funding offer. “There are risks involved, but this can be a good investment.”

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This is getting ridiculous just build a temporary venue because it is obvious no city wants the damn building!

Great. A repeat of Montreal 1976 and could be a black eye for a possible Toronto 2024 bid.

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