Ever Heard of the Pan American Am Games?

Contrary to what its name suggests, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) doesn’t only oversee the Summer and Winter Olympic Games (reminder: the Taekwondo Competition at the 2012 London Games starts on August 8th).

Under the aegis of IOC, affiliated sports organizations supervise, for each continent, the most important multisport events. The Pan American Games are one example.

Since its creation in 1951, the Pan American Games take place every four years, the year preceding the Olympic Games. All Olympic sports are part of the program – so among others there are taekwondo, judo, boxing, wrestling, fencing and archery – but other sports join the list, like beach volley, baseball, or, for martial arts, karate.

Karate Competition at the Pan American Games 2011
Karate Competition at the Pan American Games 2011 (Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty)

More than 10,000 athletes will compete in the London Games next month. In the Pan Am Games held in Guadalajara (Mexico) last year, there were about 6,000 from 42 countries of the New World. This demonstrates why these Games, though not as popular as their worldwide counterparts, mark a key event for all top level athletes.

Actually, the Pan American Taekwondo Union – the Pan Am affiliated organization of the WTF – considers that this competition is as important as the Pan Am Taekwondo Championships it organizes every two years (see the PATU Tournament Ranking System). Hence, the results of the Pan Am Games are great indicators of the current form of all national teams from the Americas during the pre-Olympics phase.

Have a look at the page of the Pan American Games Taekwondo Competitions to find out who are the dominating nations (hint: the US is not the current leader!) and the significant trends.

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