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1999 Pan American Games

XIII Pan American Games
Official logo of the
Winnipeg 1999 Pan American Games.
Host city Winnipeg
Country Canada
Motto Fiesta de las Americas (Americas' Fest)
Nations participating 42
Events 330 in 35 sports
Opening ceremony July 23
Closing ceremony August 8
Officially opened by Governor General Roméo LeBlanc
Athlete's Oath Sherman Greenfeld and Denyse Julien
Judge's Oath Janice McClintock
Main venue Canad Inns Stadium
1995 Mar del Plata 2003 Santo Domingo  >

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]

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

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


  • Medal count 1
  • Sports 2
    • First-time events 2.1
    • World records set 2.2
    • Impact of positive drug tests 2.3
  • Venues 3
  • Legacy 4
  • References 5

Medal count

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) 106 119/110 79/80 304/296
2  Cuba (CUB) 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 events

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

World records set

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

Impact of positive drug tests

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,[7] just in time to win a silver medal at the Sydney Olympics. A year later he retired facing another positive drug test.[8]

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.[18]


The 1999 Pan Am games have been "seen by many Winnipeggers as a chance to put their city squarely in the international spotlight".[19] 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 $8.8M 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.[19]

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 CONMEBOL.[20]


  1. ^ a b Best ever' Pan Am Games end"'". CBC News. 9 August 1999. Archived from the original on 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  2. ^ "Pan Am surplus higher than expected". CharityVillage Ltd. 24 April 2000. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  3. ^ "Gambling on the Games". Turner Sports Digital Services, Inc. 7 August 1999. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  4. ^ Brad Ohlman (10 May 2000). "Canadian Olympic Association 1999 Annual Report". Canadian Olympic Association. Archived from the original on 2012-02-23. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  5. ^ "Pan Am Games - Volleyball Canada". Volleyball Canada. Archived from the original on 2013-07-14. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  6. ^ a b "Pan American Games - Sunfish Class". International Sunfish Class Association. Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Cycling News and Analysis". Cyclingnews. 6 August 1999. Retrieved 2011-07-01. 
  10. ^ "1999 News Releases" (Press release). City of Winnipeg. 4 August 1999. Retrieved 2011-07-01. 
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ "1999 News Releases" (Press release). City of Winnipeg. 6 August 1999. Retrieved 2011-07-01. 
  13. ^ "University of Manitoba Annual Report 1999 - 2000". University of Manitoba. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  14. ^ "1999 News Releases" (Press release). City of Winnipeg. 5 August 1999. Retrieved 2011-07-01. 
  15. ^ "Cycling News and Analysis". Cyclingnews. 1 August 1999. Retrieved 2011-07-01. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "1999 News Releases" (Press release). City of Winnipeg. 7 August 1999. Retrieved 2011-07-01. 
  18. ^ "1999 Pan Am Games News - Legacies". University of Manitoba. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  19. ^ a b c
  20. ^
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