Pan American Games Biggest Multi Discipline Sports Event in Canada’s History

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Belinda Trussell and Anton, one of the most experienced international combinations whose record includes two World Equestrian Games appearances for Canada. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Belinda Trussell and Anton, one of the most experienced international combinations whose record includes two World Equestrian Games appearances for Canada. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

TORONTO, July 8, 2015–Dressage kicks off equestrian competition with the veterinary inspection Thursday at the Pan American Games that are the biggest multi-discipline sports event in Canada’s history, overshadowing the 1976 Olympics in the number of athletes and events.

About 6,135 athletes from 41 nations are scheduled to compete in 36 sports over 16 days at this 17th edition of the Pan Ams that are held once every four years, the year before the summer Olympics.

The previous biggest multi-sport event was the 1976 Olympics in Montreal in 1976–6,084 athletes (4,824 men and 1,260 women) in 21 sports. Most African nations and some others boycotted the Games in protest over the International Olympic Committee refusing to support moves to ban athletes who participated in events in South Africa that engaged in apartheid.

In these Pan Ams, dressage exceeds the percentage of women that are participating in the Pan Ams that overall will be a record 45 per cent of the total.

Of the 44 entries in dressage, 25 or 56.8 per cent are women and 19 of 43.2 per cent are men, according to the definite entries.

The Canadians will be among the last of the 10 teams to move into the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park where they will be seeking to capture the sole team starting spot available at these Games at next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Belinda Trussell and Anton and Megan Lane and Caravella who were on Canada’s team at the World Games last summer, and newcomers to a championship squad, Brittany Fraser and All In and Chris von Martels and Zilverstar will settle in Wednesday.

The United States, looking to add a fifth straight team gold medal to its collection, arrived Tuesday–Steffen Peters and Legolas and Laura Graves and Verdades, who also performed at last year’s world championships are newly ranked No. 7 and 8, respectively, in the world, and the small tour combinations of Kimberly Herslow and Rosmarin and Sabine Schut-Kery and Sanceo.

The Nations Cup will be contested over two days of Big and Small Tour competitions on Saturday and Sunday while individual medals will be awarded on results in Intermediate and Grand Prix Freestyles next Tuesday.