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Four sports you won't see anywhere but the Pan Am Games

Four sports you won't see anywhere but the Pan Am Games

Posted by PanamericanWorld on July 12, 2015

Now that the Pan Am Games are underway, it’s time to decide what sports to watch.

Sure, there are the traditional favourites from track and field to rowing and basketball to gymnastics to consider. Those are some of the ones that are front of mind.

But the Pan Ams can also offer people something a little different, like these oddball sports.

Roller figure skating

Think figure skating – that incredibly popular bit of winter artistry – but without the blades and toe picks. In their place are roller skates – the kind worn at public rinks on Friday nights – equipped with a stopper under the toe. Otherwise, the summer version is very similar to its winter cousin. Eight men and eight women vie for medals in the free skate. Kailah Macri, 24, is the only Canadian taking part. Medals will be handed out on Sunday.

Roller speed skating

It’s been on the schedule at the Pan Am Games since 1987, but there’s still something a little odd about athletes skating around a track that isn’t frozen. Roller speed skating offsets the long track form so often dominated by the Dutch in the winter. Columbia cleaned up the last Games in 2011, winning five of a possible six gold medals. Athletes will attempt to win medals in the 200-metre time trial, 500 metres and 10,000-metre points event. The latter competition is the most zany as skaters try to earn points on the referee’s call. Speed skating begins with the time trial on Sunday.

Waterskiing and wakeboarding

They’re mostly thought to be fun cottage activities. Only this is more structured and with medals on the line. There are four categories in play for waterskiing. The tricks category is fairly straight forward. Slalom sees athletes weave their way around six buoys. Jump is similar to ski jump; furthest landed leap off a ramp wins. And overall is the total cumulative score. Wakeboarding is a male-only sport with one set of medals up for grabs. Four-time 2011 Pan Am Games medallist Whitney McClintock, 25, returns and so does her older brother, Jason, 27, who won two silvers four years ago. Action gets going July 20.

Bowling

Don’t expect to see any so the bumpers or glitter so common seen on alley lanes at birthday parties. Bowling has been in the Pan Am Games since 1991 and features an individual and team event on both the men’s and women’s side. The Americans won medals in each category, including three of the golden variety, four years ago. It all gets underway July 22.

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