Series: 6 Reasons We’re Excited for TORONTO2015 (Part 2)
With only 7 days left until the opening ceremony, we’re counting down our top six reasons to get excited about the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. Our first reason is the opportunity to see top talent competing right at home (link here). Many promising young Canadians and athletes from around the Americas will progress to the Rio 2016 Olympics, and when they do, we’ll be the ones who had the first look. Without further ado, here’s our second reason to embrace the Games.
2. Setting a New Standard for Inclusion in Sport
The TO2015 organizing committee has focused heavily on setting a new paradigm for inclusion in sport. The committee has taken every measure to ensure athletes of all abilities, genders, races, ethnicities and sexual orientations feel welcome in an environment that embraces diversity.
Accounting for a wide range of ability levels has been a huge component of planning for TO2015. Even the decision to select Pachi the porcupine, an animal born with a visual impairment, as the official TO2015 mascot was made with accessibility in mind.
One year ahead of the Parapan Am Games, the committee released “Are You Ready?”, a television ad profiling three Canadian Parapan athletes (wheelchair basketball player David Eng, swimmer Danielle Kisser and cyclist Jaye Milley) training in preparation for August, 2015. The video includes footage of Eng doing chin-ups in his wheelchair, Kisser practicing her starts off the blocks and Milley donning his prosthetics to train in downtown Toronto. All three athletes highlight the degree of intensity and dedication required to overcome the competition. The spot has appeared on national television, boosting awareness and esteem surrounding Para sport. This will also be the first Games where braille is included on both Pan and Parapan medals in an effort to bridge the gap between the two events. Mascot selection, advertising and medal design are just a few examples of how TO2015 will be a well-rounded and accessible event.
TO2015 will expand available sports in both men’s and women’s categories. With the addition of women’s baseball, men’s softball, women’s rugby sevens, women’s golf and women’s sitting volleyball, TO2015 will break new ground for gender equity at multinational sporting events.
Not only has the organizing committee worked to build a safe, inclusive environment for all athletes; it has also implemented policies to build an organizing team composed of a diverse range of people to account for as many viewpoints as possible throughout the planning process. The committee has members and advisors from varying cultural backgrounds, languages, sexual orientations, and abilities, all of whom have contributed to what will arguably be the most inclusive multinational sporting event to date.
TO2015 is laying the groundwork for an international sporting community where all athletes are valued and receive the support needed to compete at their best. We’re excited to show competitors our welcoming, diverse city and see the positive impact that an inclusive perspective can have.
Click here to get your TO2015 tickets today and stay tuned for reasons 3–6.