GATINEAU, QC. – Today, Pan American Sport Organization (PASO) President Mario Vázquez Raña addressed more than one hundred key members of Canada’s sport community during the Canadian Olympic Committee’s (COC) biannual Session weekend in Gatineau, Quebec.

“President Vázquez Raña is a legend in the global sport community and we are delighted to have the opportunity to host him at our Session meeting,” said Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut, who is also an elected member of the PASO Executive Committee. “His visit is an auspicious beginning to the first COC Session meeting of the next quadrennial, which includes Sochi 2014, Toronto 2015 and Rio 2016.”

“Canada is a very important country for the Pan American Sports Organization and the Canadian Olympic Committee has been a strategic ally towards the fulfillment of its objectives regarding Olympic sport in the Americas,” said Mr. Mario Vázquez Raña in his address to the COC’s Session. “PASO and its 41 member National Olympic Committees have full confidence in Canada and Toronto for a successful organization of the XVII Pan American Games in 2015. I was pleasantly impressed by the strength and leadership of the Canadian Olympic Movement under the direction of the COC and its President, Marcel Aubut. I am certain you will continue attaining further success, for the benefit of sport, the athletes and Canadian youth.”

In Toronto as part of a PASO delegation viewing preparations for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, Mr. Vázquez Raña made a special visit to the National Capital Region specifically to address and to meet with the COC’s Session members, which include Olympians, National Sport Federation Presidents and CEOs and other key members of the Canadian high performance sport community.

Mr. Vázquez Raña undertook his first national-level position in his native Mexico in 1969. He is Honourary Life President of the Mexico Olympic Committee and a member of the International Olympic Committee.  Vázquez Raña has been President of PASO since 1975.

“It’s a real honour to be hosting a man who has contributed so much to the PanAmerican and Olympic Movements in the Americas and worldwide,” said Adam van Koeverden, Chair of the COC Athletes’ Commission. “As we get closer to host the Americas in 2015, his wisdom and perspective are invaluable.”

In December 2012, the COC announced that every Canadian athlete eligible to compete in the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games would be fully supported, thanks to a one-time $2.6 million funding injection to National Sport Federations (NSFs).

Toronto 2015 is an opportunity to showcase Canada’s full range of exceptional summer athletes, as well as highlight the city’s capacity to successfully host a major sporting event. An important part of delivering a world-class Games includes ensuring a full team of our highly prepared Canadian athletes follow the Maple Leaf into the stadium during the opening ceremonies. Canada will field its largest Canadian Team ever at the 2015 Pan American Games.

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