DONOVAN BAILEY: “STILL CAN’T BELIEVE I FLEW”
Exactly three years ago today, 100 Meter Olympic and World Champion Donovan Bailey descended from Toronto’s Rogers Centre with the Pan American Torch to light the cauldron and inaugurate the 2015 Pan American Games. It was an unforgettable event for everyone in attendance and watching at home.
The stadium where the Blue Jays of Major League Baseball play in the beautiful city of Toronto was absolutely packed with excited fans ready for the Pan Am Games to begin.
The Games opened on July 10, 2015 in the Rogers Centre after four long years of waiting for Americas’ most important sports festival to return.
An incredible acrobatic show by Cirque Du Soleil, the Parade of Nations and the exceptional fireworks marked a historic day for Canada and all of the Americas.
But perhaps the most memorable moment that surprised not only the 45,000 people who attended the Opening Ceremony, but also the millions of sports fans who witnessed the show on television, was when the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Champion and one of Canada’s greatest sports idols Donovan Bailey arrived at the stadium with the Pan American torch in hand.
The former sprinter and World Champion parachuted from the monumental CN Tower to the roof of the Rogers Centre. He then soared in from the rafters with the lit torch receiving a huge standing ovation from the sold-out crowd.
“Still can’t believe I flew,” Bailey replied on his Twitter account when Panam Sports posted the picture of his spectacular flight and asked those who witnessed to share their memories.
Still can’t believe I flew 🦅 https://t.co/xokY1DI90B
— Donovan Bailey (@donovanbailey) July 10, 2018
Bailey descended onto the stage to give the flame to Faith Zacharias, a 15-year-old diver, to symbolize the generational changeover.
The Pan Am Flame was then passed to the final torch bearer and fellow Canadian sports legend Steve Nash, the two-time Most Valuable Player of the NBA. As the last of nearly 3,000 torch bearers, Nash had the great honor of lighting the cauldron to officially begin the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games.
The lighting of the cauldron was one of the highlights of the two and a half hour party to signify the start of the most recent edition of the Pan Am Games.
On, July 26, the One Year Countdown to the next edition of the Games is officially on! The Peruvian capital of Lima received the Pan American Flag during the Closing Ceremony of the Toronto 2015 Games and has been working diligently ever since to bring the party to Peru in July 2019.