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The Pan-American or Pan American Games (also known colloquially as the Pan Am Games) are a major sporting event in the Americas featuring summer sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The competition is held between athletes from nations of the Americas, every four years in the year before the Summer Olympic Games. The only Winter Pan American Games were held in 1990. The Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) is the governing body of the Pan American Games movement, whose structure and actions are defined by the Olympic Charter.

The Pan American Games were last held in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011. The next games will be held in Toronto, Ontario, in July 2015. Since 2007, host cities are contracted to manage both the Pan American and the Parapan American Games, in which athletes with physical disabilities compete against one another. The Parapan American Games are held immediately following the Pan American Games.

The Pan American Games Movement consists of international sports federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs) that are recognized by PASO, and organizing committees for each specific Pan American Games. As the decision-making body, PASO is responsible for choosing the host city for each Pan American Games. The host city is responsible for organizing and funding a celebration of the Games consistent with Olympic Charter (since PASO is affiliated with the IOC, the Olympic Charter) and rules. The Pan American Games program, consisting of the sports to be contested at the Games, is determined by PASO. The celebration of the Games encompasses many rituals and symbols, such as the flag and torch, and the opening and closing ceremonies. Over 5,000 athletes compete at the Pan American Games in 36 sports and nearly 400 events. The first, second, and third place finishers in each event receive gold, silver, and bronze medals, respectively.


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