Let the Pan Am Games begin! Team Canada arrives in style at Santiago 2023 Opening Ceremony
Team Canada has officially arrived at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.
Many of the 470 athletes who make up Team Canada marched into Estadio Nacional on Friday night, along with thousands of competitors from 40 other nations, for the incredible Opening Ceremony that kicked off the 19th Pan Am Games.
Before that, though, the culture and heritage of the host nation, Chile, was given the spotlight. There was a celebration of Chilean birds and a showcase of regional dances and music. The country was shown literally coming together as large modules were moved to form a stage in the shape of Chile, from the Atacama Desert in the north to Patagonia in the south.
Then it was time for the athletes to take centre stage in the Parade of Nations.
First into the stadium was Argentina, given the place of honour as the host of the first ever Pan Am Games in 1951.
Beach volleyball partners Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson proudly led the way for Team Canada, after being announced as the flag bearers earlier in the day. Wearing the widest grins, they held the maple leaf high as their teammates followed looking amazing in their lululemon kit.
Just look at all those happy and excited Canadian athletes! On Saturday things will turn more serious as many of them embark on their competitions. While some are seeking medals, others are additionally seeking to secure Olympic qualification for Paris 2024.
Closing out the parade to a rousing cheer from the home crowd was Chile, who are hosting the Pan Am Games for the very first time.
After the Olympic and Pan Am flags were raised and the oaths were taken, the party resumed with a fantastic display of Chilean iconography.
And then it was time for the Pan American torch, or in this cases, torches, to arrive. Three torches had been crossing the expanse of the country in the leadup to the Games, but they were reunited into one flame just before entering the stadium.
The final torchbearer was Lucy Lopez, who won high jump silver at the inaugural Pan Am Games in 1951. Assisted by Olympic tennis champions Fernando Gonzalez and Nicolas Massu, she lit the cauldron that will burn for the next 16 days.
Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games Hub
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