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  • Pan Am Games Wish List: More Sun, Faster Transport


    08/05/19

    (ATR) After more than a week in Lima at the 2019 Pan American Games, our team in Lima wishes for more sunshine. Overall their experience at the Games has been positive, even if the transport could be better.

    Here’s their notebook from Lima.

    Editor Gerard Farek has covered weightlifting, the Pan Am Assembly and action from the Main Press Center.

    Gerard Farek leads the ATR team in Lima.
    Much of the first week of any large multi-sport event, even an Olympic Games, is spent working out the kinks. Often the biggest hurdle is transportation, and that has been the case here in Lima.

    Specifically, trying to get the media to and from the various venues close to on time has been difficult. On Wednesday, Lima 2019 spokesman Carlos Manuel Lazarte told the morning press briefing that changes had been made in the system and things would be improving. According to our reporters and others I've talked to, there has been improvement but waits of an hour or more are still common.

    The only other issue I've found is the weather. The sun has been out a total of a few hours since I arrived here on July 22. With temperatures in the high 50's to low 60's Fahrenheit (14-18 Celsius) and forever cloudy, it doesn't have the feel of a Pan American Games that features summer sports. Even Rio was warmer than this.

    While I have spent the majority of my time at the Main Press Center, I did attend a day of weightlifting earlier in the week and found the venue a bit spartan but certainly acceptable. There was only one spot for food and the lines were long. The press center worked great.

    The issue with transportation reared its head that day, with the drive from the Media Press Center taking an hour and 15 minutes. We made the trip back to the hotel, which was farther away than the MPC from the venue, in an Uber that took about 30 minutes. We were pretty sure the bus driver earlier got lost.

    Olivia Diaz Ugalde is based in Buenos Aires where she covers sport for Argentine media.

    We had to say goodbye to the sun to embrace this new adventure. The Lima Pan
    Olivia Diaz Ugalde at the surfing competition (ATR)
    Am Games would be surrounded by clouds and rainy weather but that was okay if the sports show was highly emotional.

    This first week of competition was an up and down of emotions, changing circumstances and adaptations. Now we are able to enjoy and thank Lima for their cozy hosting.

    Transportation and distances between venues were a huge issue and we're still figuring it out. The bus drivers don't know the exact schedule for the different services they have, or even worse, don't know how to get to the venues and get lost. The press is moving around surprised, anxious and worried about their next step, their imminent future is always a mystery.

    But on the field, the best Pan Am athletes are running toward glory, Olympic tickets, and gold medals. We had the pleasure to be guest of honor and watch Peruvian athletes take control of the first days of competition with their gold medals at the marathon, water skiing, and squash.

    The USA team pumped it up with 36 gold medals and watched Mexico and Canada do their best to catch up.
    We were able to see Canada take control of the badminton series and revalidated its World Champions title for one in Pan Am softball, too.

    Now the second and most complex week starts with the definition series taking place and with the debut of swimming and athletics, the two major events everyone's waiting for.

    ATR reporter Greer Wilson is making her first journey to the Pan Am Games and a major multi-sport event.
    Greer Wilson in Lima (ATR)

    The first week of the Pan American Games most definitely delivered the excitement to sports fans.

    I thought the opening ceremony was fantastic, and organized quite well. As a spectator, you were able to see a lot of work went into planning just looking at every detail from light color choices, music and costumes.

    Along with the artists and dance, I enjoyed seeing Peruvian culture incorporated into the ceremony to give sports fans an authentic experience.

    The venues are quite spacious, my favorite so far is the VIDENA because it holds the most sports.

    The athletes were great to interview, they enjoy what they do and their passion is reflected on the field of play.

    Reported in Lima by the ATR team. For general comments or questions, click here.
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