A team of 473 athletes will represent Canada at the upcoming Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.
The quadrennial Pan Am Games featuring over 6,000 athletes from 41 countries in the Americas and Caribbean open Oct. 20 and close Nov. 5.
Canada’s athletes will be joined by 235 support staff, the Canadian Olympic Committee said.
The Pan Am Games are an Olympic qualifier in 21 of the 39 sports with athletes attempting to book a berth to Paris in 2024.
Canada finished third in overall medals in 2019 in Lima, Peru with 152, including 35 gold, behind the United States and Brazil.
The 2023 Canadian team features 15 athletes who have already won Olympic medals, including gold-medal swimmer Maggie Mac Neil of London, Ont., and Olympic weightlifting champion Maude Charron of Rimouski, Que.
“These Games are special as they offer each athlete something different — whether it’s the opportunity to qualify your country for the next Olympic Games, to gain valuable experience or to shine a light on sports that don’t often get the opportunity to compete in major Games,” Canadian Olympic Committee chief sport officer Eric Myles said Thursday in a statement.
“It’s an amazing showcase for the place sport holds in the hearts and minds of Canadians and I look forward to seeing how these athletes will inspire us as momentum builds towards Paris 2024.”
Toronto skateboarder Fay De Fazio Ebert, 13, is Canada’s youngest athlete.
Equestrienne Beth Underhill of Guelph, Ont., is the oldest at 61. She also competed in showing jumping at the 1991 Pan Ams in Havana, Cuba.
Chef de mission Christine Girard won Canada’s first Olympic gold medal in weightlifting when her bronze in 2012 was upgraded to gold six years later. The two competitors ahead of her in the 63-kilogram class were eventually stripped of their medals for doping.
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The 38-year-old Girard from Rouyn-Noranda, Que., competed in three Pan Am Games for Canada and won gold in 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“Since I was named chef de mission earlier this year, my excitement for these Games has only grown with every team announcement and name added to Team Canada’s roster for Santiago 2023,” Girard said.
“Each of these almost 500 athletes comes with their own story and objectives, united by sport and all the values that we hold dear, that we share and that define us.”
The Parapan American Games for Paralympic athletes Nov. 17-26 are also in Santiago.
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