Interest in Pan Am Games
City doesn't have to declare intentions until 2009 for 2015 Games
Kevin Werner, Mountain
(Jul 27, 2007)
Hamilton and Toronto officials have indicated an interest in pursuing a bid to host the 2015 Pan American Games, said the Canadian Olympic Committee Chief Executive Officer.
If a Canadian city wants to pursue a bit, said Chris Rudge, then the community must formally indicate its interest to the COC, where the committee will assess the application.
"We know there seems to be an interest in Hamilton," said Mr. Rudge, speaking from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the site of the 2007 Pan American Games. "Hamilton had good bids in (for the Commonwealth Games). There was considerable disappointment in (losing out) in the last Commonwealth Games."
Mr. Rudge said the COC told Pan American officials Canada may be interested in pursuing a bid.
He said a Pan American Games, and an Olympic Games bid will be on the COC's agenda at its September meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.
"We have not made any condition to go in any direction," he said.
Despite what a few other countries have done, Canada does not have to declare its intentions to host the games until 2009, he said.
Tourism Hamilton Executive Director David Adames said there have been "preliminary talks" among city officials for Hamilton to make a bid to host the multi-sport event.
"It's part of developing our sports tourism strategy," said Mr. Adames.
Mr. Adames said city officials have been discussing if the city should host such high profile, multi-sports events as the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the World University Games and the recently announced Youth Olympics.
"We know there seems to be an interest in Hamilton...had good bids in for the Commonwealth Games."
"The question comes, can we do it? If it makes sense, we should pursue it," he said.
Jackie DeSouza, COC director of communications, confirmed no Canadian municipality has approached the committee expressing an interest to bid for the games.
But Mr. Rudge said interest to host the games has been "heard" from Hamilton, Toronto and the surrounding Greater Toronto Area. He pointed to the Hamilton and GTA areas as good possibilities to host the games, especially when you include the Golden Horseshoe region.
"There is a fair process in place (and) if there are two or more cities, there will be a competitive process," he said.
Mr. Adames said depending upon if the Canadian Olympic Committee wants to make a bid, there remains time for Hamilton to debate the issue with its community partners, including city council.
There is some talk that it could be North America's turn to host the games by 2015.
The 2003 games were in the Dominican Republic, while this year's event is in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the 2011 games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
So far, Lima, Peru, Bogota, Columbia, and Caracas, Venezuela have declared their intentions to submit a bid.
"I wouldn't speculate on that," said Mr. Rudge, acknowledging how politics can get in the way of awarding bids. "But it certainly appears North America is next in the rotation."
He didn't believe the U.S. is interested in hosting a games, concentrating instead on landing an Olympic bid for Chicago.
The 2007 Pan American Games have attracted 5,600 athletes from 42 nations. The Commonwealth Games attract about 4,000 athletes.
Hamilton has lost two failed Commonwealth Games bids, including the 2006 bid to host the 2014 games when Halifax was awarded the right to host the the games in Canada. Soon after, though, the Nova Scotia provincial government pulled out of the Commonwealth Games citing the high financial costs. The decision scuttled Canada's proposal to host the games.
In 2003, Hamilton officials looked on in disbelief as the 2010 Commonwealth Games went to New Delhi.
Mr. Adames said this week there are Hamilton officials who remain hesitant to get involved in another bid process.
"There are some folks who are leery about going through the process again," he said.
Mr. Adames said there is also the possibility the city could make a bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The only multi-sport games the city has made a bid for is the 2010 Can-Am Police Firefighters Games. About 3,000 competitors participate in about 45 events, which is expect to generate about $10 million in economic benefits for the city.
The city is looking at hosting the International Children Games, and, said Mr. Adames, "there are opportunities for single sporting events."