The 2011 16th Pan American Games in Guadalajara was called the most wonderful games by president of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), Mario Vazquez Raña, commenting on the pleasant memory of all the victories conquered by the promising young sportsmen who now face the challenge of the London Olympics.
Some 6,000 athletes from 42 nations, all PASO members, took part in the America’s Fiesta, setting 101 new records in an environment chock full of the exciting combination of joy and sadness, hopes and dreams.
The city of Guadalajara, capital of Mexican Jalisco State, was the event’s proud host and was full of people chanting Mexico! Mexico! Mexico! in each stadium. Mexican athletes had their best performance in Pan-American sports history, achieving 42 gold medals, nearly twice as many as in the 1995 Mar del Plata Games.
Thus Mexicans rose from fifth place in the last Pan American Games (Rio 2007), to fourth place.
The largest country, the U.S.A., again climbed to the top of the podium with 92 gold, 79 silver and 65 bronze medals to confirm itself at the pinnacle of sports in the region despite not competing with its best competitors.
CUBA, THE BEST OF LATIN AMERICA
Cuba once again led Latin American nations with its outstanding second place (58-35-43), wiping out some questions about the present power of its sports. Questions about Cuba’s real possibilities to stay ahead of Latin America in these competitions were motivated by the financial difficulties affecting the athletes preparing for the Games, the development experienced by Brazil, stimulated by the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.