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The 1999 Pan American Games, officially the XIII Pan American Games or the 13th Pan American Games, was a major international multi-sport event that was held from July 23-August 8, 1999, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Approximately 5,000 athletes from 42 nations participated at the games. The competition was marred by a total of 7 positive drug tests.[1]

XIII Pan American Games
1999 Pan American Games logo.svg
Host cityWinnipeg, Canada
MottoAmericas' Fest
Events330 in 35 sports
OpeningJuly 23
ClosingAugust 8
Opened by
StadiumWinnipeg Stadium
1995 Mar del Plata 2003 Santo Domingo

Financially, the 1999 games were a success, generating a surplus of $8.9 million[2][3] through a combination of fiscal restraint[4] and the contribution of nearly 20,000 volunteers.[5]

The 1999 Pan American Games were the second Pan American Games hosted by Canada and Winnipeg.[2] Previously, Winnipeg hosted the 1967 Pan American Games.



Winnipeg beat both Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and Bogota, Colombia in 1994 to win hosting rights for the event.[6]

Medal countEdit

1 Host nation

To sort this table by nation, total medal count, or any other column, click on the   icon next to the column title.

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1   United States (USA) a 106 119/110 79/80 304/296
2   Cuba (CUB) a 70/69 40/39 47 157/155
3   Canada (CAN) 1 64 52 80 196
4   Brazil (BRA) 25 32 44 101
5   Argentina (ARG) 25 19 28 72

^ The medal counts for the United States and Cuba are disputed.


330 events in 35 sports were contested.

Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of medal events contested in each sport.

First-time eventsEdit

The 1999 games marked the debut of the following competitions in the Pan American Games

World records setEdit

  • Weightlifting – 77 kilogram clean & jerk – 202.5 kilograms hoisted by Idalberto Aranda (Cuba)

Impact of positive drug testsEdit

Perhaps the greatest drug scandal in the sport of track and field, since Ben Johnson's 1988 disqualification, occurred here when the world's only eight foot high jumper Javier Sotomayor tested positive for cocaine. A Cuban national hero, his subsequent suspension was fought from the highest levels, Fidel Castro claiming it was a conspiracy. Despite a second positive test for cocaine a few months later, Sotomayor eventually had his suspension reduced by a year,[9] just in time to win a silver medal at the Sydney Olympics. A year later he retired facing another positive drug test.[10]

Canada was stripped of its gold medal for inline hockey when the team's goaltender Steve Vézina tested positive for multiple banned substances.[1]


Pan Am Games monument at The Forks, Winnipeg

The Pan Am Pool, built for the 1967 games, featured in the 1999 games for aquatic events.

The Winnipeg Velodrome, also built for the 1967 games, had become obsolete and disused for cycling and so was demolished prior to the 1999 games. The 1999 games used a temporary facility at Red River Exhibition Park.

A portion of the Pan American Games Society (1999) budget supported the refurbishment of University of Manitoba campus residences to serve as the Athletes Village, the upgrade of various sport and training facilities including the Pan Am Stadium (University Stadium), which had hosted events of the 1967 games, and the construction of the new Investors Group Athletic Centre.[20]


Lorita (left) and Duck (right), the mascots of the games.

The 1999 Games' mascot features two birds named Duck (Wood duck) and Lorita (Parrot).[21]


The 1999 Pan Am games have been "seen by many Winnipeggers as a chance to put their city squarely in the international spotlight".[22] Winnipeg mayor Glen Murray became nationally well known as a result of the Games and thanks to extensive coverage by the CBC, anchored by CBC Sports' Brian Williams. However, the Games themselves only had mixed success, as the Pan Am Games ranked below the Olympics and Commonwealth Games in international prestige. The Games cost $129 million CDN and finished with a financial surplus of $8.8 million CDN.

Hosts Canada celebrated its medal haul, which was the second best after the United States. However, some considered Canada's results overrated, since the US amassed the most medals with a mostly second-string team while Canada and Cuba had fielded their top national athletes. Cuba also managed more golds than Canada, despite having a smaller roster.[22]

Frequent comparisons were made to the 1967 Pan Am Games, also hosted by Winnipeg, where the United States had fielded many rising stars, such as Mark Spitz. By comparison, the Americans had sent their "B" team to the 1999 Games. No major US networks covered the Pan Am Games, while newspapers only sent second-string reporters instead and the stories never made front page news.[22] Many high-profile athletes, of all nationalities, such as US champion sprinters and Brazilian football players, were in Europe during these Pan Am games, taking part in professional events. South American nations (with the exception of Uruguay) did not send their under-23 male soccer teams after the organizing committee refused to pay appearance money to CONMEBOL.[23]

1999 Parapan American Games, Mexico CityEdit

In 1999 Parapan American Games was not hosted in Winnipeg but rather in Mexico City. The inaugural event involved 1,000 athletes from 18 countries competing in four sports.[24] and Mexico had the most medals for the Games.


  1. ^ a b "'Best ever' Pan Am Games end". CBC News. 9 August 1999. Archived from the original on 30 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
  2. ^ a b Dakshana Bascaramurty (2015-07-03). "Glamour, pride and cash: Why cities compete to put on a sports spectacle". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2015-07-21. Retrieved 2015-07-16. Winnipeg – the only other Canadian city ever to be a Pan Am host, which it has done twice – had a modest goal as well as a modest budget.
  3. ^ "Pan Am surplus higher than expected". CharityVillage Ltd. 24 April 2000. Archived from the original on 2010-11-16. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  4. ^ "Gambling on the Games". Turner Sports Digital Services, Inc. 7 August 1999. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  5. ^ Brad Ohlman (10 May 2000). "Canadian Olympic Association 1999 Annual Report" (PDF). Canadian Olympic Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-24. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  6. ^ "Winnipeg ready to host 1999 Pan Am Games". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). 3 July 1999. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Pan Am Games – Volleyball Canada". Volleyball Canada. Archived from the original on 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  8. ^ a b "Pan American Games – Sunfish Class". International Sunfish Class Association. Archived from the original on 2011-08-24. Retrieved 2011-08-27.
  9. ^ cocaine, Owen Slot reveals how the IAAF let Javier Sotomayor off the hook despite a second positive test for (12 August 2000). "Athletics: New twist to Cuban drugs scandal". Retrieved 2 April 2018 – via
  10. ^ Mackay, Duncan (26 November 2001). "Javier Sotomayor faces drug ban". the Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Cycling News and Analysis". Cyclingnews. 6 August 1999. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
  12. ^ "1999 News Releases" (Press release). City of Winnipeg. 4 August 1999. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
  13. ^ a b "Pan American Games History". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  14. ^ "1999 News Releases" (Press release). City of Winnipeg. 6 August 1999. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
  15. ^ "University of Manitoba Annual Report 1999–2000". University of Manitoba. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  16. ^ "1999 News Releases" (Press release). City of Winnipeg. 5 August 1999. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
  17. ^ "Cycling News and Analysis". Cyclingnews. 1 August 1999. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
  18. ^ News. "August 6, 1999 - News Releases -". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  19. ^ "1999 News Releases" (Press release). City of Winnipeg. 7 August 1999. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
  20. ^ "1999 Pan Am Games News – Legacies". University of Manitoba. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  21. ^ Games, Quadro de Medalhas - English - Pan American. "XIII PAN AMERICAN GAMES WINNIPEG 1999 - MEDALS TABLE PAN AM 1999 - Pan American Games - Winnipeg Canada 1999". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  22. ^ a b c Bergman, Brian. "Pan Am Games Wrap Up". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  23. ^ "Any takers for the Pan Am Games? Winnipeg? Anybody?". 1 October 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  24. ^