Canada’s record-breaking 2015 Pan Am Games taught athletes ‘how to win’ on big stage, Olympic Committee says

TORONTO – Canadian athletes won more often at the Pan American Games than at any time in history, a record medal haul that reflected the largest team the country had ever sent to the event while also raising a question: Was Canada the only country trying its hardest?

Canada won more than 200 medals for the first time at the Games, obliterating the record for most gold medals won. It also sent 715 athletes to the event, by far the largest team in the competition, and generally sent its best into the field of play.

The same could not be said of the other countries. Sprinter Usain Bolt was not at the track and swimmer Michael Phelps was not in the pool. Sometimes, Canadians were competing against development teams, rather than proven international stars.

“I guess the question is, why is this one country trying? Because athletes in Canada wanted to compete in front of a home crowd,” said Caroline Assalian, chief sport officer at the Canadian Olympic Committee. “It is so rare that they get to do that, and they are so proud of their sport, they wanted to show their sport to the little kids that were in the stands.”

Canada finished with 217 medals, second to the United States (265) in the overall medal table. It is the highest Canada has finished in five decades, and the total shatters a record set in 1999, when the Canadians won 196 medals at the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg.

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Written by Sean Fitz-Gerald