1979 Pan American Games

The 1979 Pan American Games (Spanish: Juegos Panamericanos de 1979), officially the VIII Pan American Games were a multi-sport event governed by the Panam Sports Organization (PASO), and were held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from July 1 to July 15, 1979. Volleyball and some baseball matches were held in Caguas, Puerto Rico.[1][2] The 1980 documentary film A Step Away showcased a number of athletes competing in the Games.

VIII Pan American Games
HostSan Juan, Puerto Rico
Events250 in 24 sports
OpeningJuly 1
ClosingJuly 15
Opened byGovernor Carlos Romero Barceló
Cauldron lighterCynthia Guadalupe
Main venueHiram Bithorn Stadium

Bidding process


On May 31, 1973, San Juan was the only candidate city to be a finalist to host the games and thus, San Juan was then selected to host the VIII Pan American Games by PASO at its general assembly in Santiago, Chile.[3][4][5]

The Games




Medal count

1  United States1269545266
2  Cuba644734145
3  Canada244371138
4  Argentina1271736
5  Brazil9131739
Totals (5 entries)235205184624

^ The medal count for Canada is disputed.


Coqui, the first Pan American Games mascot

The 1979 Games were the first one to feature a mascot, which was a running frog holding a torch named Coqui.[6]


  1. ^ Boswell, Thomas (July 11, 1979). "Cuba Nine In a Class By Itself". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
  2. ^ Krastev, Todor. "Men Volleyball Panamerican Games 1979 Caguas (PUR) - 02-13.07 Winner Cuba". Todor66.com. Archived from the original on October 12, 2023. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
  3. ^ "Belle Époque: San Juan 1979". ESPN Deportes (in Spanish). July 4, 2015. Archived from the original on April 28, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  4. ^ "Los VIII Juegos Panamericanos de San Juan son un evento que no se olvida" [The VIII Pan-American Games of San Juan is an event that is not forgotten]. Primera Hora (in Spanish). June 30, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  5. ^ "Puerto Rico hará Panamericanos" [Puerto Rico has Panamerican]. El Tiempo (in Spanish). Santiago, Chile. Associated Press. June 1, 1973. p. 1-C. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  6. ^ "VIII Pan American Games - San Juan (Puerto Rico) 1979". Quadrodemedalhas.com. Archived from the original on June 13, 2021. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
Preceded by VIII Pan American Games
San Juan

Succeeded by