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Games-Pan Am Games triggers dreamy talk of Chile Olympics bid

2023-10-27 04:23
By Steve Keating SANTIAGO Santiago is not yet through the first week of hosting the Pan American Games
Games-Pan Am Games triggers dreamy talk of Chile Olympics bid

By Steve Keating

SANTIAGO Santiago is not yet through the first week of hosting the Pan American Games but speculation about a future Olympics bid continued on Thursday with International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Sergey Bubka offering his encouragement.

The legendary pole vaulter added his backing to IOC president Thomas Bach's who sparked dreamy talk of Chile pursuing an Olympics after attending last Friday's opening ceremonies.

"All the lights are green for an excellent Pan American Games in Santiago 2023," said Bach. "My advice would be that once we finish these Games successfully, they should begin to set the next goal.

"And among them could be the Olympic Games or other events of this nature."

Bubka echoed Bach's sentiments on Thursday during a press conference, expressing how impressed he was by what he had seen so far in the Chilean capital.

Brazil parlayed the 2007 Rio de Janeiro Pan Am Games into a successful bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics and Bubka seemed to indicate Chile and Santiago could do the same.

"I think these Pan American Games are a really big step for future goals," Bubka told reporters.

"They already have infrastructure in place and this gives them a really good opportunity to think about the next step if they will decide they want the Olympic Games."

Chile's sudden fascination about hosting an Olympics could partially stem from the disappointment of being left out of plans to host 2030 World Cup soccer matches.

Chile had made a joint bid alongside Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay to stage the opening games in 2030 but was the only one of those countries not to be given a match.

Co-hosts Spain, Portugal and Morocco will stage the majority of the tournament and the South American countries will host one game each.


While Olympic talk is flattering it is premature with Santiago yet to prove it can successfully deliver a Pan American Games that in some places still appear under construction.

Even as organisers were scrambling to finish work on some venues they were busy tearing down others on Thursday leaving parts of the Parque Estadio Nacional, the sprawling main competition hub, a partial construction zone.

At the artistic gymnastics competition on Monday and Tuesday cheers were mixed with the sounds of drills and hammers as workers dismantled the skateboarding park next door.

Since before Friday's opening ceremonies bulldozers have been busy moving mountains of debris while dust storms swirl around the unfinished plaza outside the showcase National Stadium.

There have also been complaints over a lack of signage while some journalists and volunteers were locked inside the gymnastics venue until officials were called to let them out.

Teams, however, have had few issues, with Eric Myles, Chief Sport Officer at the Canadian Olympic Committee, telling Reuters they come to these type of events prepared.

"You have to get ready for everything," said Myles. "The thing is you don't want to get caught by surprise.

"We're not putting our head in the sand, we see these things but the approach we take is it's not time to complain it's time to find solutions."

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Santiago; Editing by Ken Ferris)