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Colombia’s Best Moments in the History of Pan American Games

Colombia’s Best Moments in the History of Pan American Games

Posted by Sara Bello on June 19, 2015

Saying Colombia rings a bell in every corner of Earth and the country is not only related to coffee plantations, but with sports. This reality was not always been like that and this time round PanamericanWorld gives you the history of the country that hopes to win 100 medals in Toronto  Pan American Games.

2015 marks the 64th anniversary of the first edition of these Games, held in Buenos Aires, the capital city of tango. Colombia got off on its right foot and won one gold medal, in fact it was the country’s only medal in the 1951 edition. Jaime Aparicio, who was born in Peru but lived in the “tricolor” country since he was three months old, kissed the first medal in 400 meters hurdles.

Aparicio opened the difficult way to be followed by this country, which has evolved in terms of sports. It wasn’t easy, there were such moments of frustration as the two subsequent editions of the Pan American Games, where Colombia came back empty-handed. The coffee-growing country didn’t win a single medal in Chicago or Sao Paulo.

As far as the Pan American Games of 1967, Colombia had only obtained seven medals in the four previous editions. But it was precisely in Canada where the country went beyond that limit and left it behind in Winnipeg 1991, when it got one gold medal, two silvers and five bronzes.

Although “no one is a prophet in his own land”, in Cali, the only Games hosted by the country of salsa, Colombian athletes tripled the number of medals, totaling 28, one of the most representative results in twenty years. In 1991 Colombia held 41 medals in Havana, thus showing its sports growth.

Since that edition of the Pan American Games everything changed for the country of cyclists, athletes, skaters, swimmers... Following the example of soccer, that golden generation of the 1990s headed by Pibe Valderrama, other sports and Colombian athletes took the path of success. Everything was different for Colombian sport.

The participation in editions that took place in Argentina and Canada was very fruitful for Colombian sportspeople, even the rematch in Brazil in 2007, where the tricolor delegation had previously lost everything. 14 gold medals were won in Rio de Janeiro, one of the greatest achievements of Colombian sport in the history of the Games.

However, it was in Guadalajara (Mexico) where Colombia reached the summit in the Pan-American Games. The 328 medals gathered throughout 56 years of competition contrast with 84 (24 of which were gold) obtained by the Colombian delegation during the latest Pan American Games. It was a long way up, but in Mexico Colombia strengthened its position as one of the greatest Latin American sports powers.

With 286 representatives, Colombia ranked sixth on the medals table, behind Canada that had nearly twice the number of athletes (492), a significant piece of information to measure the excellent performance of the Colombian delegation.

It was not only about the 24 gold medals, 25 silvers and 35 bronzes obtained in Guadalajara, but such records as those established by Paulo Villar (Athletics: 13.27 in 110 meters hurdles), Catherine Ibargüen (Athletics 14.92 Triple Jump), Juan Esteban Arango (Cycling: 4,23,864 Individual Pursuit) and Ubaldina Valoyes (Weightlifting 113 kg Clean and Jerk), among other examples.

2015 Toronto Pan American Games are undoubtedly a huge challenge for Colombia, which is looking forward to winning 100 medals and reaching its historic top. With this idea in mind, the country is working with 350 athletes: the qualification of four team sports (baseball, male volleyball, rugby and female soccer) speaks of the size of the delegation.

Athletics, cycling, wrestling and squash are the flagship disciplines to prevail in Canada and get the National Anthem played.

We know list the 412 medals (81 Gold, 134 Silver and 197 Bronze) obtained by Colombia in the history of Pan-American Games:

1951 Buenos Aires: 1 Gold
1955 Mexico: 2 Gold medals, 3 Silvers and 1 Bronze
1959 Chicago: none
1963 Sao Paulo: none
1967 Winnipeg: 1 Gold, 2 Silvers and 5 Bronzes
1971 Cali: 5 Gold medals, 9 Silvers and 14 Bronzes
1975 Mexico: 2 Gold medals, 4 Silvers and 4 Bronzes
1979 San Juan: 1 Silver and 8 Bronzes
1983 Caracas: 1 Gold, 7 Silvers and 13 Bronzes
1987 Indianapolis: 3 Gold medals, 8 Silvers and 13 Bronzes
1991 Havana: 5 Gold, 15 Silver y 21 Bronze
1995 Mar del Plata: 5 Gold medals, 15 Silvers and 28 Bronzes
1999 Winnipeg: 7 Gold medals, 17 Silvers and 18 Bronzes
2003 Santo Domingo: 11 Gold medals, 8 Silvers and 24 Bronzes
2007 Rio de Janeiro: 14 Gold medals, 20 Silvers and 13 Bronzes
2011 Guadalajara: 24 Gold medals, 25 Silvers and 35 Bronzes

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