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Toronto Gets 2015 Pan-Am Games, Prelude Event To 2016 Olympics

November 7, 2009: Toronto has been chosen to host the 2015 Pan American Games, an event that is expected to attract 5,000 athletes and 250,000 visitors from the 42 participating countries in North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.

The selection is also seen as strengthening Toronto's plan to submit a bid to host either the 2020 or 2024 Summer Olympics. Rio de Janeiro was awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics during a vote by the International Olympic Committee in 2009, two years after hosting the Pan-Am Games in July 2007.

Held every four years, the Pan American Games are regarded as a major sports primer both for athletes and sponsors for the Summer Olympics the following year. The next event will take place in Guadalajara, Mexico, Oct. 13-20, 2011, a year before the 2012 Summer Games in London. The Toronto Pan-Am Games will  take place July 10-26, 2015, marking the one-year countdown to the 2016 Summer Games.

Rio de Janeiro hosted the 2007 Pan-Am Games, then two years later won the bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.Toronto was chosen to host the 17th Pan Am Games over Bogota, Colombia and Lima, Peru by the Pan American Sport Organization. According to PASO, Toronto's winning $1.3 billion (US) plan "is built around a core of existing and proven world-class facilities used for professional sports, six new athletic venues and a well-designed, sustainable athlete's village on Toronto's waterfront." New venues will include a stadium for athletics, indoor velodrome, Canadian Sports Institute facility and Aquatics Centre, as well as two additional 50-meter pools.

"For us, the Games' legacy of new competition and training facilities for Ontario's and indeed Canada's athletes is most important," Michael Chambers, president of the Canadian Olympic Committee, which formally submitted the bid, said in a statement. "They will provide much needed new and improved training and competition opportunities for high-performance athletes in and around the Toronto area, and provide valuable community resources for promoting physical fitness and health, especially among our youth."

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