THE PAN AM SPIRIT LIVES!

In the early 90`s, Winnipeg made its intentions known to pursue the rights to host the 1999 Pan American Games – a sequel to the historic 1967 Games which propelled the Pan American movement to great things in the decades to follow.

The Bid Committe approached Palmer Jarvis to assist with the development of the bid presentation.  Rod Palson was given the assignment, and immediately began applying his expertise in tireless fashion.

Step one was to secure the Canadian bidding rights.  An exhaustive slate of video testimonials by high profile officals, athletes and community leaders was undertaken.  A magical song (written by Dan Donahue) and music video were produced, featuring youngsters Sherry-Rose St. Germain and J. P. Hoe (who have since gone on to enjoy impressive music careers), as well as the Winnipeg Youth Chorus.  Superstar volunteer Janice Filmon, and the bilingual Marcel Gauthier (RIP) were chosen as live presenters, and the whole package was put on display in Toronto in December, 1992.

Check out the recap of that memorable and emotional day right here.

Step two  would be to go out and secure the bid against competition from Bogota and Santo Domingo, and the focus would shift gears dramatically in an attempt to sway the emotions of Latin American voters.  Palson went out and secured a gem of a presenter in the form of an Uruguayan, living in Toronto, by the name of Carlos Garcia.  Not only was Carlos a gifted presenter, he was closely attached to the inner-workings of many national Olympic committees in the Americas.  He brought a  combination of knowledge, charisma and eloquence that was unmatched.

The icing on the cake would be an original song, written and performed by Burton Cummings, packaged together in a video with many of the same choir members from the Canadian bid video

The ultimate showdown took place in Guayaquil, Ecuador in July, 1994 – possibly the most stressful day in the lives of dozens of Manitoba volunteers, including Palson, who watched and waited for 3 rounds of voting before the final decision was rendered in Winnipeg`s favour.

Whew!

See the recap of that memorable day right here.