Every 4 years one of the 41 countries of the Americas has the honor to host the continents most important Games taking place on the American Continent. For the Pan American Games Lima 2019 edition it is the city of Lima, the capital of Peru that has been chosen to host these games, only rivaled in importance by the Olympic Games for many of the 39 sports represented.
The 41 member countries will send a massive 6,680 athletes to represent their countries in a total of 61 disciplines. The games will start with the opening ceremony in Lima’s national stadium on July 26 and end with the closing ceremony in the evening of August 11. After the Pan American Games, the torch is passed on to the Parapan American Games during which 1,890 athletes will participate in 17 para sports and 18 disciplines starting on August 23 and ends on September 1. The Mascotte of this edition is Milco, influenced by the typical sculptures of the Cuchimilco, the mascotte honors the large history of Peru.
Since the 2015 Pan American Games all sports that are represented on the Olympic Summer Games are also present on the Pan American Games. On top of these there are some sports popular in the Americas such as Bowling, Baseball and Softball that are also competing during the games. Some of the most popular sports of the games are football (soccer), atletism as well as cycling and surfing which are recently have seen a large surge in interest. During the Lima Pan American Games the local supporters will mostly keep an eye on Volleyball, mountain biking and Judo competition where they have good participants. The venues are located all over the city, from the beaches on the Pacific Ocean to military academies, local sports venues and newly built infrastructure.
Even though a large victory for the city of Lima to be able to bring these important games to Peru’s proud capital, as often with these types of events, this did not go without controversy and objections. Even now, only a few days before the start of the games many in Lima, including government representatives feel that the city is far from ready to host these massive games, its participants, country delegations, fans and supporters. It is true that a lot of the infrastructure does not have the look to be finished and ready to host these sports events on a safe and organized manner but the city repeats that all constructions and infrastructure will be done on time for the opening of the games. Another controversial issue is building and building safety. Peru has a sad record when it comes to corruption and these type of construction projects are one of the preferred targets of this very Peruvian white collar crime. Every step throughout the project there is someone skimming off the top, leaving the next person to have to adjust the budget and hence making savings where they should not be made. This makes for a simple argument that the money all in all could be used for other, more productive things for the Peruvians themselves. Finally a lot of Limeños feel that the city will not be able to cope with the additional traffic, something very much understandable knowing that mobility in Lima as a whole is already on the verge of collapsing.
This city of more than 10 million people located between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains grew exponentially in only a few years, largely motivated internal migration from the provinces due to poverty in the 70’s, terrorism in the 80’s and lack of opprtunities in the 90’s. This made that Lima went from a small capital to a tremendously large city in relatively little time and therefore with hardly any attention to urban planning or organization. Public transport is almost non existent apart from a small line of metro, bus system and the hated Peruvian combi system whom are a larger part of the issue than the solution. As the venues are very much spread out over the city there is a reasonable fear among the people living in Lima that life and getting around during these weeks will be nearly impossible.
In any case we welcome the chance for Lima to proof to the world to be, apart from the gateway to Machu Picchu, a city that is a destination in its own with outgoing, friendly and interesting people, amazing culture and an unparalleled diversity of culinary treats for all visitors.