If you thought widespread Olympic competitions were over when the world's top athletes left Sochi, Russia, at the conclusion of the Winter Olympics, you were wrong. On March 7, the South American Games will begin in Santiago, Chile.
This is the 10th edition of the multi-sport event, which includes 42 events and 14 countries. Here's a look at the specifics, per the event's official website.
Dates: March 7-18
Event Schedule: (PDF) per event's official website
- Athletics (Track and Field)
- Cycling BMX
- Cycling MTB
- Track Cycling
- Cycling route
- Water Ski
- Football (Soccer)
- Futsal (Indoor Soccer)
- Artisitic Gymnastics
- Rhythmic Gymnastics
- Field Hockey
- Fight (Wrestling)
- Open Water Swimming
- Synchronized Swimming
- Sled Race
- Modern Pentathlon
- Table Tennis
- Beach Volleyball
The event lineup is especially interesting because there are sports that have either never been Olympic events, removed and reinstated to the format.
Here's a look at some of the more intriguing sports that fans can follow at the South American Games:
Futsal: World football is the most popular sport in the world, but the indoor version of the game hasn't caught on as strongly.
The field is smaller, and the surface is usually wood or another hard, flat material. Fundamentally, most of the rules are the same, but the surface and size of the playing field makes the game a bit faster.
Fans will generally see higher scores, and there is no offside rule in the game.
Fighting (Wrestling): No, Daniel Bryan will not be making an appearance in Santiago.
This is traditional Olympic-style wrestling. The sport was axed from the Olympic schedule for seven months before it won a vote from the International Olympic Committee to return to the Summer Olympics in 2020.
Fans of the sport who are eager for spirited international competition can follow the event in Chile.
Karate: Yet another combat sport, karate is included in the South American Games.
Officials have been attempting to get karate added to the Olympic schedule for years but haven't been successful. It lost out to wrestling in the IOC vote for the 2020 games. To the delight of karate fans across the world, the sport will take center stage in Chile.
Chile is Going All-Out as Host
Just as any host of a major international competition would do, Chile has gone to great lengths to create a top-notch environment for competition. Per the event's official website, the country has spent $8 million to build a sports center.
In a recent news release from the website, event organizers wrote:
The construction of the sports center is part of the great architectural project Citizenship Park, which includes the participation of 23 hectares of the site of the National Stadium, directly modifying the landscape, creating trails, parks and squares, plus the harmonious union of the enclosures sports, among which are also the Athletic Tennis, Aquatics Centre, the CAR, CAR's Residence and the Velodrome.
There will be 14 countries represented, but not every nation will have representatives in all 42 sports. For example, Guyana is reportedly only sending athletes for athletics (track and field) and boxing, per Guyana Chronicle Online.
According to K. Juman-Yassin, the president of the Guyana Olympics Association, several factors, including finance and how the sporting disciplines have been performing recently, were taken into consideration when the GOA decided upon which sporting disciplines should attend.
Yassin noted that the cost per person for airfare alone is approximately US$2500. Because of this athletes selected needed to prove that they are worth to be given the chance to attend.
Ideally, it would be nice to see equal representation in all sports, but there are obviously other issues that prevent that. All in all, the event is shaping up as a great amalgamation of talent for the continent and a showcase for the world.