Top athletes Simon Whitfield, Mary Spencer, Josh Cassidy, Kara Lang,
Curt Harnett, Mark Oldershaw, Mandy Bujold, Jason Burnett, Jessica
Phoenix, Shelley Gautier and K.C. Fraser taking part
First Games venue to officially open today in Welland
TORONTO, July 10, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, top Canadian athletes from a
variety of summer sports—boxing, gymnastics, softball, canoe/kayak
(sprint), athletics and triathlon—are igniting a celebration of sport
and culture across southern Ontario, marking the two-year countdown to
the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.
Radiating out from Toronto, the Host City of the Games, special events
are taking place in Ajax (baseball and softball), Caledon (equestrian),
Hamilton (soccer), Markham (table tennis, badminton), Milton (cycling),
Mississauga (taekwondo, judo, karate, wrestling, wheelchair rugby,
goalball), Oshawa (boxing), St. Catharines (rowing) and Welland
All events are free and open to the public. For more details, visit http://www.toronto2015.org/lang/en/viva-toronto/two-year-countdown.html
"Today is about bringing the excitement of the TORONTO 2015 Games to all
corners of the Greater Golden Horseshoe," said Ian Troop, chief
executive officer of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games
Organizing Committee (TO2015).
"Each community has put their own unique stamp on their event today,
highlighting the sports they're hosting and celebrating the features
and talents of their hometowns they're most proud of," he added. "This
is just the beginning of what the region will look like two years from
today when we join together to stage the largest international
multi-sport Games ever held in Canada!"
In Toronto, Olympic silver medallist Jason Burnett will perform his award-winning trampoline routine while top Ontario BMX
riders soar and do aerial tricks on a closed-off street in the midst of
downtown skyscrapers. Visitors can also try out rugby, modern
pentathlon and sitting volleyball.
Newly announced CIBC Team Next athlete mentors will also sign autographs
and pose for photos in Toronto with members of the public at the event
in Commerce Court. The mentors include triathlon star Simon Whitfield (four-time Olympian and Olympic gold and silver medallist); soccer
player Kara Lang (Olympian, Pan Am Games bronze medallist and two-time FIFA World Cup
player); boxer Mary Spencer (Olympian and 2011 Pan Am Games gold medallist); and wheelchair racer Josh Cassidy (two-time Paralympian and winner of the 2010 London Marathon and 2012
In Welland, canoe sprinter Mark Oldershaw, a 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, and kayak sprinter K.C. Fraser, a 2011 Pan Am gold medallist, will go head-to-head in the inaugural
race at the official opening of the newly renovated Welland Pan Am
In Markham—site of the largest community celebration today—thousands are
expected to turn out to watch Sun Jian Fei, a professional table tennis
player and former Chinese national team member, show off his fast
moving blades, while 2011 Pan Am boxing gold medallists Mary Spencer and Mandy Bujold enjoy a friendly spar in Oshawa.
"With two years to go until we welcome athletes from throughout the
Americas to the 2015 Pan American Games, preparations are on time and
on budget," said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport).
"Our Government is proud to be making investments in building
state-of-the-art facilities that will serve not only our elite
athletes, but also the citizens of the Greater Golden Horseshoe for
years to come."
"Today's events across the Greater Golden Horseshoe mark an important
milestone - in two years, Ontario will host the world as we come
together and showcase youth, diversity and athletic excellence in our
province," said Michael Chan, Ontario Minister Responsible for the 2015
Pan and Parapan American Games. "These community celebrations are just
the beginning - they are getting people excited about the lasting
legacy that the Games will leave for future generations."
Elsewhere in the region, Curt Harnett —Canada's greatest track cyclist of all time and three-time Olympic
medallist—will lead a cycling circuit around town hall in Milton, the
future home of Canadian cycling, along with Shelley Gautier, Paralympian and 2011 Parapan Am Games silver medallist in
para-cycling, while members of Canada's multiple-medal-winning
wheelchair rugby team and up-and-coming taekwondo athletes lead
community festivities in Mississauga, home to four combative sports and
three parasports in 2015.
Jessica Phoenix, Olympian and 2011 Pan Am Games gold and silver medallist in
equestrian, will be on hand to greet the crowds at the Caledon Pan Am
Equestrian Park as they tour its first phase of renovations for the
Games. In Ajax, hard-throwing pitcher Robin Mackin, a Pan Am Games silver medallist and member of the 2008 Canadian
Olympic softball team, will cheer on a host of well-known ball players
during a celebrity softball/baseball exhibition game.
In all 10 communities, special murals, created by sports artist David
Arrigo through the Pan Am Mural Experience presented by CIBC, will be
officially presented and unveiled for the first time. The one-of-a-kind
artworks capture their unique cultural and sporting history and will
remain in the communities as permanent mementos of the Games.
The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015)
is tasked with the responsibility of planning, managing and delivering
the Games. Its mission is to ignite the spirit through a celebration of
sport and culture. The TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games will take place
July 10−26 and the Parapan American Games August 7-14.
The 2015 Games are funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of
Ontario, as well as other partners and sponsors. CIBC is the Lead
Partner of the Games.
For more information about the Games, please visit toronto2015.org.
SOURCE: Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games
For further information:
Director, Media Relations and Chief Spokesperson, TO2015