A 1937 article from the Dallas Morning News newspaper on the original Pan Am Games Flag.

The Pan American Games are a multi-sport event, held every four years between competitors from all nations of the Americas.

The idea of holding a Pan American Games grew from the Central American Games first organised in the 1920s. In 1932, a first proposal was made for Pan American Games, and the Pan American Sports Organization was established. The first Games were scheduled to be staged in Buenos Aires in 1943, but World War II caused them to be postponed until 1951. Since then, the Games have been held every four years, with participation at the most recent event at over 5,000 athletes from 42 countries.

However, the Pan American games have lost status and have not received much attention in the sporting press as of late in the United States and Canada. The 1999 games in Winnipeg were attended mainly by second-string American athletes and were not covered by any news anchors or television from the major U.S. broadcast networks, although a one-hour highlights package aired on ESPN after the games. In Canada, there was plenty of coverage, including a nightly two-hour program on CBC, with an additional hour on local affiliate CBWT, French-language coverage on Radio-Canada, plus daytime coverage on TSN. By 2003, the Pan American Games were once again neglected by the media.

Generally, the Pan American Games receive plenty of attention in most Latin American countries. The 2007 edition, to be held in Brazil, has prompted the Organizing Committee to restore important venues such as the Estádio do Maracanã and build a new Olympic Village. It is expected that the games will improve infrastructure in the city and lay the foundations for a possible bid for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

There have been attempts to hold Pan American Winter Games as well, but these have been without much success. The planned 1989 edition had to be postponed until a year later due to bad weather conditions, and even then only the alpine events could be held. The edition for 1993 was cancelled completely, and the Pan American Winter Games have not been held since.




The PASO Presidents

Avery Brundage (1887-1975). American athlete, sports official, art collector and philantropist. He was born on Detroit, Michigan (USA). He studied civil engineering at the University of Illinois, graduating in 1909. He founded his own company, the Avery Brundage Company, which was active in the building business arround Chicago until 1947. Brundage was an all-arround athlete, competing in the 1912 Summer Olympics on Stockholm in the penthatlon and decathlon events. He also won the US national all-arround title in 1914, 1916 and 1918

Brundage become president of the Amateur Athletic Union on 1928. He became the president of the United States Olympic Comittee (USOC) in 1929 and gained the vice-presidency of the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) in 1930. He was rewarded for preventing a boycott from the US to the Berlin 1936 Olympics when he was member of the International Olympic Comittee (IOC). However, two jew US athletes (with Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe) were replaced, stating that the reason were pressions by Brundage. He later praised the Nazi regime and was expelled from the America First Comittee in 1941 because of his pro-german leanings.

Avery Brundage become the vice-president of the IOC in 1945, and later, he was elected as president in 1952 at the 47th IOC Session in Helsinki, succeeding Sigfrid Edström. During his exercise of power, he always made opossitions against any form of professionalism on the Olympics, altought his view was becoming less accepted by the sports world, as well for other IOC members. He may be best remembered for his decision during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany , to continue the Games following th e5 September Palestinian Terrorist attacks which killed 11 Israeli athletes. While some criticized Brundage's decision, most supported it, (Israel very vocally did not) and few athletes withdrew from the Games.

Brundage was instrumental in founding the Pan American Games (he organized a test event at the 1937 Pan American Exposition in Dallas) and was rewarded for his efforts with election as the first President of the Pan American Sports Committee (PASC), holding office from 1940-1951. He was named Honorary President for Life by the IOC upon stepping down.  In 1973, he married Mariann, Princess Reuss.  (His first wife had died in 1971.)  Brundage died of a heart attack in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany on May 8, 1975 at the age of 87.

Jose Maria de Jesus Clark Flores (1908-1971).  He was born on Mexico. At various times he was a civil engineer, industrial businessman, and ranking general in the Mexican Army.  He played basketball and fencing.  He then entered into the admininstration of sports, serving as President of the Mexican Basketball Association, Mexican Sports Confederation, Mexican Olympic Committee, and the Organizing Committee of the VIIIth Central American and Caribbean Games.  He was elected to the IOC in 1952, serving until his death in 1971.  In 1951, Clark was elected the 2nd President of the Pan American Sports Committee, serving on four year term.  In 1959, he was elected President of the renamed Pan American Sports Organization, and was re-elected to successive terms in 1963 and 1967.  He continued in office until his sudden death from a heart attack in April, 1971.

Douglas Fergusson Roby (1898-1992). Douglas Fergusson Roby was a poor youth who worked his way through college by racking balls in a billiards parlor six hours a day. He was a football halfback at Phillips University and the University of Michigan and played professional football for the Cleveland Indians in 1923. He joined the American Metal Products Company, an auto-parts manufacturer in Detroit, in 1926 and retired as board chairman in 1963. Headed the A.A.U.

From 1951 to 1953, he was the president of the Amateur Athletic Union, then America's governing body for many amateur sports. He was vice president (1953-65) and president (1965-68) of the United States Olympic Committee and one of two American members of the International Olympic Committee (1952-84). Roby was elected as the 3rd President of the Pan American Sports Organization fro the 1955-1959 term. In 1979, Mr. Roby voted against the readmission of China to the Olympics. China prevailed by a vote of 62-17. In 1984, he urged that South Africa, banned from the Olympics since 1960 because of its racial policy of apartheid, be readmitted. South Africa remained banned until this year.

Sylvio de Magalhaes Padilha (1909-2002). He was born on June 5, 1909 in Niteroy, in Rio de Janiero province.  A major in the Brazilian Army, he competed in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games.  He placed fifth in the 400m hurdles at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.  He ws the 1939 South American Champion in 110m, 200m, and 400m hurdles, the 400m run, the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.  He was awarded the Helms Trophy in recognition as the outstanding South American athlete of the year.  He served as Director-General of Physical and Sports Education for the province of Sao Paulo.  President of the Organizing Committee of the IVth Pan American Games in Sao Paulo, Padilha was elected President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee in 1963.  He was elected to the International Olympic Committee in 1964, elected to the IOC Executive Board in 1970, and elected Vice-President of the IOC in 1975.  As Vice-President of the Pan American Sports Organization, Padilha served as Acting President of PASO from April to July of 1971, following the sudden death of General Jose Clark.  He died on August 29, 2002 at the age of 93.

Jose Beracasa Amran (1908-1986). He was born on January 11, 1908 in Maracaibo, Venezuela.  He played soccer, baseball, and basketball.  He focused on basketball, becoming President of the Maccabi and of the Union teams.  In 1938, his Maccabi team was the national champion of Venezuela.  Beracasa was a founding member of the Venezuelan Olympic Committee, serving as Treasurer from 1935-1944, and as President from 1944 until the early 1980's.  He served as President of the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organization, and the Bolivarian Sports Organization.  Beracasa was elected to the International Olympic Committee in 1968.  He was elected President of the Pan American Sports Organization in 1971, serving a single four year term.  He created the Beracasa Foundation to promote the participation of Venezuelan athletesin international competitions.  In 1983, a basketball arena in Caracas was named for him.  Jose Beracasa Amran died on August 27, 1986, in Barcelona, Spain, at the age of 78.

Mario Vazquez Raña (1932 - ????). Mario Vazquez Rana was born on June 7, 1932 in Mexico City.  He was a national champion in several disciplines in the sport of shooting.  Rana was a member of the Mexican team at the IVth Pan American Games in 1963.  He was an official at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.  Rana founded the Mexican Shooting Federation in 1969, and was President of that organization from 1969-1974.  He was elected to the Mexican Olympic Committee in 1972, and served as President from 1974.  Rana was Vice-President of the Mexican Sports Confederation from 1973-1976.  He served as President of the Organizing Committee of the VIIth Pan American Games at Mexico City in 1975.  Rana was so successful at organizing those games, after they were switched to Mexico City at the last minute, that he was elected President of the Pan American Sports Organization in 1975 - a post to which he has been re-elected ever since.  In 1991, he was elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee.  Rana has also served as President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).  In 1988, he was awarded the IOC's highest honor - the Olympic Order in Gold.




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