Athletes give Games an ‘A’
Clean venues, friendly crowds, organization get top marks
As Toronto’s powers-that-be debate the success of the Pan Am Games and mull an Olympic bid, we thought we’d go straight to source. We asked athletes to rate their experience, from the dining tent to the athletes’ village mattresses.
Sage Watson, Canada Event: Track (400 metre hurdles, 4x400-metre relay)
It was 21-year-old Sage Watson’s first stay in an athletes’ village, and she gives the host nation top marks.
“For me as a Canadian athlete it’s exciting to be in Canada,” said Watson, who hails from Medicine Hat, Alta. “Having the view of downtown Toronto . . . at night it’s gorgeous. The location, so close to downtown, that’s what makes it an A.”
Aside from a few overcooked meals in the dining hall, the track athlete gave the experience As across the board.
Food: B+; Accommodation: A; Venue: A; Crowd: A; Transportation: A+; Overall: A
Robert Butler, Bahamas
Event: Chef de Mission (Taekwondo)
Robert Butler liked the food in the athletes’ village, but by his 22nd day in town the same pizza, pasta and grilled meat options became monotonous, he said. On the plus side, he found the transportation more than adequate.
“I have three cars at our disposal” he said. “Basically for three of us, plus our doctors.” And all the venues he saw — including track cycling, taekwondo, boxing, swimming — were “outstanding.”
Food: C; Accommodation: B; Venue: A; Crowd: B+; Transportation: A; Overall: B+
Jacquelin Factos, Ecuador
Factos, like many athletes we spoke to, found the beds a touch on the soft side. But everything else, from the food to the venues to the transportation blew her away. Unfortunately when we spoke she had yet to compete and take in the crowd experience.
In all, her time in Toronto was “amazing,” she said. “I think the Canadians are really good people. They really worked at this. We can see the organization. Everything is on time, perfect, clean.”
Food: A; Accommodation: B; Venue: A+; Transportation: A+; Crowd: n/a; Overall: A+
Alexander Massialas, U.S.
For Massialas, friendly bus drivers doling out travel tips, and bigger beds than the London Olympic Village made his time at the Pan Am great. But it was the crowds that really impressed him.
“The crowds have been great,” he said. “Even though there weren’t any Canadians in the men’s final in our event, everyone still stayed and was cheering for basically any body who scored a touch. Fans even stuck around to see the awards ceremonies, which he said doesn’t usually happen. “It was a nice change.”
Food: B+; Accommodation: A-; Venue: A; Transportation: A; Crowd: A; Overall: A
Lucia Perez, Argentina
Although Lucia Perez described the boxing venue where she won bronze as “luxurious” and “outstanding,” the travel time was slight drawback.
In the end, it was the crowds that made her Pan Am Games great. “It doesn’t matter if you’re from Argentina and the public is from Canada, if it was a good fight they will cheer and say hello when you go out,” Perez said, speaking through a translator.
Food: A; Accommodation: B; Venue: A+; Transportation: A; Crowd: A+; Overall: A+