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The Pan Am Games in Toronto

The Pan Am Games are coming to Toronto this month and will take place from July 10th to July 26th. The Parapan Am Games will also be in Toronto, August 7th to 15th. The sports involved in the Pan Am Games are as follows:

Archery (70 meter Olympic style archery only, no field archery, no flight archery, no equestrian archery)
Athletics (includes all the track and fields events such as running, hurdles, discus, javelin, shot put, high jump, long jump, etc)
Badminton
Baseball
Basketball
Beach Volleyball (seriously, beach volleyball is a separate sport from regular volleyball)
BMX (as a separate category from cycling)
Bowling (why is billiards, darts and lawn darts not considered sports if bowling is included?)
Boxing
Canoe / Kayak Slalom
Canoe / Kayak Sprint
Cycling - Road
Cycling - Track
Diving
Equestrian (just horse jumping, no horse racing for some strange reason)
Fencing
Field Hockey (as if we couldn't find an ice rink to have a normal hockey game in Toronto...)
Football (World Football, or as Americans call it "Soccer")
Golf
Gymnastics - Artistic
Gymnastics - Rhythmic
Handball (it is like a cross between hockey and basketball)
Judo
Karate
Modern Pentathlon
Mountain Bike (why isn't that considered to be a cycling event?)
Open Water Swimming
Racquetball
Roller - Figure Skating (wait, wait, wait... figure skating? But no ice hockey???)
Roller - Speed Skating
Rowing
Rugby Sevens
Sailing (small sailboats that are built for speed, in other words a sport only rich people can do, although you could say that about many of the other sports listed here - like horse jumping)
Shooting (rifles, but why not crossbows too? Crossbows at least require more exercise to load.)
Softball (baseball with bigger balls)
Squash
Swimming (for speed that is, including many different styles of swimming)
Synchronized Swimming
Table Tennis
Taekwondo
Tennis (another sport for rich people who have their own tennis courts)
Trampoline
Triathlon
Volleyball
Water Polo (but not normal polo, the kind you play with horses - although admittedly polo is another sport for rich people)
Waterski & Wakeboard
Weightlifting
Wrestling (Olympic style wrestling, not the American version with play-acting and steroids)

I am ever amazed as to how certain "sports" get into these large scale events like the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, etc. I do therefore have some criticisms, on this and other topics.

#1. Some sports just aren't that popular, so why are they included?

Are there really that many people who play handball or water polo? I think not.

#2. Some sports aren't really sports in the normal sense.

eg. Shooting or Bowling, yes, I get it they do require some physical strength to do them - but they're not exactly something you break a sweat doing. Worst case scenario you might get a sore trigger finger or sore bowling fingers. And if shooting and bowling are sports, why not darts, lawn darts, billiards, or the biathlon (shooting and skiing)?

#3. Sometimes it feels like they are just inventing new sports.

Waterski, Wakeboard, Trampoline, Kayak Shalom or Sprint... if these are sports why not also:

Surfing
Windsurfing
Dolphin Riding (no seriously, if we have horse jumping, why not dolphin riding?)
Rock Climbing
Skydiving
Team Paintball
Team Archery Tag
Snorkeling

#4. Some sports are really just aimed at rich people.

Golf, tennis and sailing are three good examples of sports that are mostly only done by rich people. Equestrian horse jumping and any other sport involving horses also falls into this (as would Dolphin Riding...)

#5. What if a Parapan Athlete wants to compete in the normal Pan Am games?

This is an idea that has always made me wonder. For example lets say a man is missing a leg, but wants to be in horse jumping? His single leg might be a minor disadvantage when it comes to riding the horse, but you could also argue that he weighs less and the horse might be able to perform better with a lighter rider.

Same goes with golf. Do you really need two working legs to play golf? I think not.

Shooting rifles? Sure, they just need one good eye and a trigger finger.

Archery? Same deal. No reason why a person in a wheelchair cannot achieve greatness as an archer.

Fencing? A person with one arm only needs one arm to do fencing. In the video below you see a French citizen who is missing part of their arm.




So in conclusion always remember that the sports during the Pan Am Games (and the Olympics and other similar events) are the result of a committee voting on feedback from not the athletes themselves, but from sponsors. Sponsorship money is really what it comes down to.

The same thing goes for the athletes. The necessary time needed to practice a sport, train, eat properly, the cost of coaches and traveling to competitions is often the result of money from sponsors. If sponsors were sponsoring equestrian archery for example, then that would likely be a sport at the Pan Am Games.

In the world of competitive sports, it really all comes back to the issue of sponsors and money.

If you can think of a sport that should be included, leave a comment below.

If you have comments on the issue of money in sports, absolutely leave a comment about that too.

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