Troop kept uttering the phrase "best on best" during a media conference call on Friday morning as if it were the 2015 Pan Am Games mantra. It probably is at this juncture. And it's a ambitious one, to be sure, considering that it's been generally regarded as a 'B' Games for a long time.
But Troop and his cohorts recently met with the poobahs of the United States Olympic Committee and the leaders of their sports federations and he says they came away feeling strongly about a possible buy-in from the Americans when it comes to supplying their best athletes.
Troops reasons for optimism included:
-- the attractiveness of a large market like Toronto
-- the ease involved because of time zones, similar culture and a safe environment (the 2011 Games are in Guadalajara, Mexico, where raging drug wars have prospective travellers worried)
-- the 2015 Games are a great opportunity for athletes headed to the 2016 Rio Olympics to get a multi-Games experience, not to mention the last one before Rio
-- it's virtually a home Games for the U.S., giving their fans a chance to come and cheer them on
None of that helped the last time the Pan Ams were held in Canada in Winnipeg in 1999. The organizers there tried to pump things up by paying Olympic sprint champion Donovan Bailey to show up, but he arrived disinterested and only ran the relay.
Toronto organizers definitely have their work cut out for them. Paradigm shifts aren't easily achieved.
Special Olympics Fundraiser: There's a neat event happening Saturday at Havergal College (1451 Avenue Road) – motionball's Marathon of Sport -- to help raise funds for athletes headed next month to the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens
There will be 40 teams of motionball supporters, each having raised at least $2,500 for Special Olympics Canada, competing with Special Olympics athletes in everything from flag football and volleyball to bocce ball and tug of war.
The event will have a frozen yogurt bar, lunchtime performance by Low Level Flight featuring lead singer Ryal Malcolm and a Family Fun Zone, where participants' children can play with Special Olympic athletes aged six and under.
The event begins at 8 a.m. and will happen rain or shine.