The 19th edition of the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile will come to a close, marking a highly successful event overall. © Getty Images

On 20 October, the 19th edition of the Pan American Games kicked off in Santiago, Chile, concluding a long process that began in April 2017 when Buenos Aires withdrew its bid, leaving the Chilean capital as the sole candidate to host the event. 

This marked the beggining of a monumental five-and-a-half-year effort, during which the organising body, Santiago 2023 (made up of the National Sports Institute and the Chilean Olympic Committee), completed a sustainable project that proved to be significantly more cost-effective than the previous two editions, with costs being around 50% lower than those of Lima 2019.

In total, 10 new facilities were built, and six others were modernised and refurbished, bringing the total number of facilities to 41, 39 of which were used for in these Pan American Games. The remaining two will host events for the Parapan American Games, which will be held from 17 to 26 November.

With a population of almost six million in its metropolitan area, Santiago welcomed almost 7,000 athletes from 41 countries, 40 of whom represented their respective National Olympic Committees. However, the Guatemalan athletes competed as independents, as their Olympic Committee has been banned by the International Olympic Committee in a highly controversial and debated decision.

The mascot, a seven-coloured bird called 'Fiu,' presided over the event, which featured competitions in 40 sports and 59 disciplines, including breaking, skateboarding and climbing - all three of which will be part of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Pending the outcome of the last finals on Saturday and the conclusion of the competition on Sunday in Bowling, BMX Cycling, Equestrian Dressage, Weightlifting, Speed Skating, Basque Pelota, Squash, Table Tennis, Archery and Sailing, the United States will finish as the undisputed medal leaders with over 100 gold medals, despite the absence of many of their top stars, particularly in sports such as Athletics.

The Americans have come out on top in every edition, with the exception of Havana 1991, where the Cuban athletes produced an exceptional performance, winning 140 gold medals to the US's 130. In the early editions of the Panam Games, the USA doubled the number of gold medals won by all other countries combined.

Chile has been preparing meticulously for 'its' Pan American Games, although breaking their gold medal record will be a challenge. So far they have collected nine gold, 23 silver, and 19 bronze medals for a total of 51 medals, compared to their 50 medals (13 gold) achieved four years ago.

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

One of the outstanding successes of these Pan American Games is the Panam Sports Channel streaming platform, which has more than 750,000 subscribers and millions of views worldwide. This is the second edition of the platform, which made its debut at Lima 2019.

On Sunday, the closing ceremony will take place at 20:00 local time at the Bicentennial Stadium in La Florida, home of the Audax Italiano football club plays its matches. Santiago, Chile will pass the torch to Barranquilla, which will host the twentieth Pan American Games in 2027, the second time Colombia will host the event, 56 years after Cali in 1971.