LIMA, Peru — Over 6,000 athletes from 41 countries are in Lima, Peru, for the 18th Pan American Games.
On Friday evening, most of them, along with national officials, participated in the traditional stadium march pass of athletes. However, the evening at the Estádio Nacional in Lima was dominated by a cultural extravaganza.
Dancers treated those in the stadium and the live streaming audience to a variety of routines that highlighted the historic Inca tradition. Peru is modern today, but the characteristics of the powerful Inca Empire remain strong. On Friday night in a cold stadium, colors exploded and the enthusiasm countered the dipping temperature.
Pride was heavy in Peru President Martin Vizcarra’s voice: “Dear friends of the 41 countries of the Americas. Welcome to the biggest sports party on the continent. Peru, land of great cultures and an ancient history, welcomes you with open arms. It is an honor for me to inaugurate the 18th Pan American Games, Lima 2019.”
In attendance, as a special guest, was International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach. It was a special moment in regional sports and PASO (Pan American Sports Organization) is understandably proud of its product, and the connection it makes with countries of the Americas through the hosting of the games.
Earlier in the week, the 57th General Assembly of PASO took place at the Lima Westin Hotel. The latest updates of the Americas Olympic Movement were given and the presence of IOC Chief Bach was emphasized.
An official statement from PASO urged acknowledgement of the significance of the Pan Am Games.
“The Pan American Sports Organization is the leader of sports and the Olympic Movement in the Americas. We propel the development of sport and support our 41 member National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to inspire more participation in international competitions as well as participation of youth to prepare the generation to come in our region.
“Panam Sports works closely with athletes, NOCs, organization committees of all regional games, Pan American Sport Confederations, International Federations (IFs) and the International Olympic Committee, to secure the success and VVevent, the Pan American Games.”
The extraordinary display of cultural excellence on Friday certainly did not disappoint.