Good Luck in Lima, Champions!

The Pan American Games in Toronto closed with a beautiful artistic show at the Rogers Centre on July 27, celebrating the spirit of friendship and competition.

The closing ceremonies highlighted the cultures of the 41 nations present at the games, emphasizing unity through diversity, open competition and the high ideals of fair play.

Highlights of the evening included performances by Canadian singer Serena Ryder and U.S. rappers Kanye West and Pitbull.

Toronto 2015 brought together more than six thousand athletes. For 17 days they demonstrated the best of the youth of the Americas and took part in a continent-wide test run for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games.

Rising to the challenge, athletes set 80 Pan American records in track and field, swimming, shooting, cycling and weightlifting.

The 2015 games also cast Toronto, Canada’s largest city, in a good light for a bid to host the 2024 Olympics.

Other highlights of the Games included: Women accounting for 45 percent of the contestants, the largest in the history of the Pan American Games, and the debut of women’s divisions in baseball, canoe sprint and rugby sevens, canoe/kayak slalom and golf.

Also worthy of mention are the return of men’s softball to the games, and Saint Lucia’s first Pan Am gold medal in history, won in athletics.

Eighteen events served as qualifying rounds for the 2016 Olympics. In general, experts say that the Toronto games were far more competitive than those in Guadalajara 2011.

Lima, the capital of Peru, will host the next Pan American Games in 2019.

In this way, the multicultural and cosmopolitan city of Toronto sent off its champions with a warm embrace wishing them luck in Lima. It is well deserved.