Local News

Raleigh Wants to Host Pan Am Games

Posted January 7, 1998 12:00 a.m. EST

— It's one of the biggest amateur sporting events in the world. Wednesday, Raleigh started its quest to host the Pan American Games. The announcement was made at the state capital.

Raleigh wants to host the games in the year 2007, and it would be a massive undertaking. Currently, state and local leaders have nine months to put a maximum 600-page proposal together.

The proposal is expected to include information on such things as transportation, volunteers, climate and accommodations.

Hosting the games would mean more than 6,000 athletes from more than 40 countries in North, South and Central America and the Caribbean would participate in 38 sports at Triangle facilities. The Pan American Games are held in the summer prior to the Olympic Games.

Officials say the effort is worth it. If Raleigh should win the opportunity to host the games, it could mean hundreds of millions of dollars would come into the Triangle.

At Wednesday's formal announcement, Governor Jim Hunt told leaders from Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh that if the three cities work together as a region, the Triangle would have a chance at winning the bid.

There was a great deal of talk about a spirit of cooperation between the three Triangle cities. Sporting venues from all three cities would play a key role. There was some controversy concerning whether Chapel Hill and Durham were only invited because of what they could contribute.

Durham's new mayor said all the cities have been included in all the planning stages leading up to Wednesday's announcement, and that the proposal would be a joint project.

The US Olympic Committee will name the US candidate city in April, 1999. Also competing for the 2007 games are Houston, Miami and San Antonio. The winner of that selection would then compete against winning cities in other countries in the hemisphere.

The official host city will be announced in the spring of 2002. Reporter:Betsy sykes Photographer:Mark Copeland