Hosting first visit by International Paralympic Committee and Americas
One-on-one interview availability on Thursday, February 14
TORONTO, Feb. 11, 2013 /CNW/ - Building on international momentum
generated by the transformative London 2012 Paralympic Games,
international Paralympic experts are gathering in Toronto this week to
hash out plans for hosting the largest Parapan Am Games ever in just
The TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games, which start August 7, 2015, will
involve more than 1,500 para-athletes from 28 National Paralympic
Committees (NPCs) competing in 15 sports throughout the Greater Golden
Horseshoe region, including athletics, swimming and wheelchair
The four-day International Paralympic Committee (IPC) co-ordination
commission visit marks the first time the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan
Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) has officially hosted the global
governing body of the Paralympic Movement, as well as the Americas
Paralympic Committee (APC).
"TO2015 is pleased to welcome our distinguished guests to Toronto as we
work towards creating the largest and most spectacular Parapan Am Games
ever held," said TO2015 Chief Executive Officer, Ian Troop. "We
appreciate the invaluable guidance of the IPC and APC in fine-tuning
our plans for the TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games. Together, we will
ensure these Games set new benchmarks for growing the Paralympic
Movement and in enshrining accessibility and inclusion not only in
future Games but also in everyday life throughout the Americas and the
The seven-person delegation is led by IPC Chief Executive Officer,
Xavier Gonzalez and APC President, Octavio Londoño. One-on-one interviews are available with Gonzalez, Londoño and TO2015
officials on Thursday, February 14. Please see contact details below.
"Toronto has the potential to put on the best Parapan Am Games ever,"
said Gonzalez. "This will be a vital Games for us in increasing awareness and
visibility. Like the London 2012 Games did for the Paralympic Movement
globally, it's our hope Toronto will inspire and reach new audiences
for the development of Paralympic sports in the Americas and the
Caribbean, especially in the lead-up to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games."
It was only 14 years ago the first Parapan Am Games were held in Mexico
City, with 1,000 athletes from 18 countries competing in four sports.
They have grown steadily ever since. The TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games
mark the first time they will be held in Canada.
Almost 40 years ago, Toronto helped play a role in changing how the
world viewed Paralympic sports when it hosted the fifth Paralympic
Games. Tens of thousands of Canadians cheered on more than 1,650
athletes from approximately 40 countries who competed in 13 sports at
the 1976 Paralympic Games.
The Toronto Games shepherded the expansion of eligible Paralympic
athletes from strictly wheelchair users to include visually impaired
and amputee athletes for the first time. Two new medal sports were
officially added to the program (goalball and shooting), new distances
were added for wheelchair racing and hundreds of hours of daily
television coverage were produced for the first time, reaching new
audiences for the nascent Paralympic Movement.
Canadian athletes have excelled in parasport ever since and helped
raised the bar for competition globally, thanks to federal funding
devoted to developing sport opportunities for people with a disability.
"On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to welcome our IPC
and APC guests to Toronto," said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of
State (Sport). "We are proud to support TO2015 in hosting what we
expect to be the most memorable Parapan American Games ever, and we
look forward to welcoming the nations of the Americas and Caribbean to
Canada in 2015."
"Canada is a leader in promoting inclusivity and accessibility, and in
championing parasport," added Londoño. "The TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am
Games will showcase this spirit and help us fulfill our aim of having
inclusive sport throughout the Americas and Caribbean in the near
During the four-day IPC and APC visit, which concludes Thursday, senior
members of TO2015 will outline the budget and sport program for the
Games, as well as accessibility for athletes and spectators, plans for
the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Look of the Games, medical services
and anti-doping, media operations, broadcasting, transportation,
ticketing and the four Parapan venue clusters.
The TORONTO 2015 Games are using an integrated planning model to host
the Parapan Am and Pan Am Games—a model that recognizes both Games are
separate, unique and equal. For example, TO2015 is building its new
facilities to the highest levels of accessibility, thereby ensuring
greater operational efficiencies and community and legacy use. The
Organizing Committee is also working to ensure spectators and athletes
at both Games enjoy the same experiences and are able to participate
fully in the same dignified way. Delegates will also visit Parapan
venue construction sites such as the athletes' village and the Pan Am
and Parapan Am Aquatics Centre and Field House presented by CIBC at the
University of Toronto Scarborough campus.
"Toronto is very proud to be the official Host City of the 2015 Parapan
American Games and we look forward to welcoming para-athletes from
across the Americas to our great city," said City of Toronto Mayor Rob
Ford. "I am confident the athletes, their families, friends and
supporters will enjoy their time in Toronto—one of the best cities on
Earth to visit, live, invest and work in. I invite them to take some
time while they're here to see and enjoy everything that Toronto has to
All 15 sports to be contested in 2015 will serve as qualifiers for the
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The TORONTO 2015 sport program will feature
the Parapan Am debut of wheelchair rugby and the return of football
7-a-side to the program for the first time since 2007.
The number of athletes (1,500) and sports (15) means the TORONTO 2015
Parapan Am Games will be the largest ever held. In comparison, the
Guadalajara 2011 Parapan Am Games featured 13 sports with 1,310
Leading up to the TORONTO 2015 Games, TO2015 will host the IPC and APC
three more times, in addition to NPCs from the Americas and the
About the TORONTO 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games
The Pan American and Parapan American Games are one of the world's
largest international multi-sport events, held every four years for
athletes of the 41 member nations of the Pan American Sports
Organization (PASO) and 28 member nations of the Americas Paralympic
Committee (APC). The Pan American Games are comprised of all Olympic
Summer Games sports, as well as traditional Pan American sports, while
the Parapan American Games are comprised of the majority of Paralympic
Summer Games sports. The TORONTO 2015 Pan American/Parapan American
Games will draw more than 10,000 athletes, coaches and team officials
and feature 51 sports in municipalities across the Greater Golden
Horseshoe area. The TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games will take place
July 10−26 and the Parapan American Games August 7-14. For more
information about the Games, please visit toronto2015.org.
SOURCE: Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games
For further information:
For further information and to set up one-on-one media interviews, please contact:
Director, Media Relations and Chief Spokesperson TO2015