Santiago lined up for 2023 Pan American Games as Buenos Aires bid postponed

Santiago is in pole position to land hosting rights to the 2023 Pan American Games after the Argentine Olympic Committee (COA) pulled Buenos Aires’ bid for the multi-sport showpiece in favour of focusing on the 2027 edition of the event.

Buenos Aires and Santiago, the capital cities of Argentina and Chile, submitted bids to host the 2023 Pan American Games in January. The Pan American Sports Organisation (Paso) had been seeking formal applications by the end of April, along with further information and a deposit.

Buenos Aires staged the inaugural edition of the Games in 1951, but the COA has elected to switch its strategy to 2027 amid preparations for the city’s staging of the summer Youth Olympic Games next year and financial concerns over subsequently staging the 2023 Pan Am Games.

Gerardo Werthein, president of the COA, said: “This is a conservative, prudent and careful decision. The enthusiasm is intact, but we must add realism. Just as it took us eight years to come up with ENARD (Argentina’s high performance sports institute) to improve our Olympic performance, as happened in Rio 2016, it is not bad that we take four more years and breathe a little to be able to carry out what we are really passionate about.”

He added: “When making the projections, the budget was approaching $700m (€656.7m). We found that in this instance, the budgetary impact of the Games and viability was too strong a subject, bearing in mind that we have the Youth Olympic Games next year. The issue was agreed between the national government, the city government and the COA, and we think it is best to take four more years.”

Paso is set to vote for the winning host city at its general assembly in Lima later this year. Santiago is bidding for the second successive time and the COA has thrown its support behind the Chilean proposal. “It is a city that has already run several times and we think it is good to support its candidacy,” Werthein said.

The Canadian city of Toronto staged the most recent edition of the Games in 2015, while the Peruvian capital of Lima will host the next event in 2019.