The premier sporting spectacle of Central America and the Caribbean is nearly set to commence as Veracruz, Mexico, will host the 22nd Central American and Caribbean Games starting on Nov. 14.
Veracruz 2014 isn't unlike the Olympics, with the exception that it is limited to only Central American and Caribbean nations. The Games will feature 31 countries competing across 46 different sports as world-class athletes vie for prestigious medals.
This marks the fourth time that Mexico has hosted the event, but it is the first time Mexico hasn't staged it in the capital of Mexico City. The Central American and Caribbean Games have enjoyed steady growth since their debut in 1926, and this promises to be the biggest one yet.
With that said, here is everything you need to know in order to keep tabs on Veracruz 2014 throughout the month of November.
Schedule of Events
|Listing of Veracruz 2014 Sports|
|1||Beach Volleyball||Nov. 26 - Nov. 30|
|2||Volleyball||Nov. 15 - Nov. 20 & Nov. 25 - Nov. 30|
|3||Sailing||Nov. 23 - Nov. 28|
|4||Triathlon||Nov. 15 - Nov. 16|
|5||Shooting||Nov. 15 - Nov. 24|
|6||Archery||Nov. 18 - Nov. 23|
|7||Table Tennis||Nov. 15 - Nov. 20|
|8||Tennis||Nov. 24 - Nov. 30|
|9||Taekwondo||Nov. 15 - Nov. 18|
|10||Squash||Nov. 23 - Nov. 29|
|11||Softball||Nov. 16 - Nov. 22 & Nov. 24 - Nov. 30|
|12||Rugby Sevens||Nov. 28 - Nov. 29|
|13||Rowing||Nov. 25 - Nov. 29|
|14||Racquetball||Nov. 15 - Nov. 24|
|15||Water Polo||Nov. 22 - Nov. 29|
|16||Modern Pentathlon||Nov. 15 - Nov. 18|
|17||Speed Skating||Nov. 18 - Nov. 19|
|18||Swimming||Nov. 15 - Nov. 20|
|19||Synchronized Swimming||Nov. 15 - Nov. 21|
|20||Marathon Swimming||Nov. 21 - Nov. 22|
|21||Wrestling||Nov. 25 - Nov. 26 & Nov. 28 - Nov. 29|
|22||Weightlifting||Nov. 20 - Nov. 23|
|23||Karate||Nov. 27 - Nov. 29|
|24||Judo||Nov. 20 - Nov. 23|
|25||Field Hockey||Nov. 15 - Nov. 24|
|26||Golf||Nov. 26 - Nov. 29|
|27||Trampoline Gymnastics||Nov. 25 - Nov. 26|
|28||Rhythmic Gymnastics||Nov. 25 - Nov. 26|
|29||Artistic Gymnastics||Nov. 16 - Nov. 21|
|30||Soccer||Nov. 17 - Nov. 23 & Nov. 25 - Nov. 28|
|31||Basque Pelota||Nov. 18 - Nov. 23|
|32||Fencing||Nov. 15 - Nov. 20|
|33||Equestrian||Nov. 15 - Nov. 17, Nov. 19 - Nov. 23, Nov. 25 - Nov. 27 & Nov. 29|
|34||Diving||Nov. 25 - Nov. 27 & Nov. 29 - Nov. 30|
|35||Route Cycling||Nov. 16 & Nov. 23|
|36||Track Cycling||Nov. 17 - Nov. 21|
|37||Mountain Cycling||Nov. 15|
|38||BMX Cycling||Nov. 22|
|39||Canoeing||Nov. 15 - Nov. 17|
|40||Boxing||Nov. 21 - Nov. 26 & Nov. 28 - Nov. 29|
|41||Bowling||Nov. 25 - Nov. 29|
|42||Baseball||Nov. 15 - Nov. 21|
|43||Handball||Nov. 15 - Nov. 17, Nov. 19 - Nov. 23 & Nov. 25 - Nov. 26|
|44||Basketball||Nov. 19 - Nov. 28|
|45||Badminton||Nov. 23 - Nov. 28|
|46||Athletics||Nov. 23 - Nov. 30|
*Daily schedule available at Veracruz2014.mx.
|Veracruz 2014 Participating Countries|
|1||Antigua and Barbuda|
|18||Virgin Islands of the United States|
|19||British Virgin Islands|
|26||Saint Kitts and Nevis|
|27||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines|
|30||Trinidad and Tobago|
Things to Watch
ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN to Air Veracruz 2014
While it is certainly easier for those living in Spanish-speaking nations to follow Veracruz 2014, American citizens will have an opportunity to do so as well thanks to ESPN's involvement.
According to Gabriela Nunez of ESPNMediaZone.com, ESPN Deportes will air Spanish-language broadcasts of the Games, while WatchESPN will provide viewers with online coverage.
Per Nunez, ESPN Deportes general manager Lino Garcia views this as a major coup for the company.
The Central American and Caribbean Games have become one of the most recognized sports events in Latin American and a window for young, upcoming athletes to showcase their abilities in anticipation of the Pan American and the Olympic Games. We are excited to deliver the Games to our audience, giving them the opportunity to follow and cheer for their countries and favorite sports disciples.
While there may not be as much international name recognition in the Central American and Caribbean Games as there is in the Olympics, this event will feature plenty of elite athletes who have experienced Olympic glory in the past.
Not only is this partnership great for sports fans, but it should improve the profile of the Central American and Caribbean Games moving forward as well.
Ricky Martin to Perform at Opening Ceremony
Ricky Martin is one of the most legendary Latin American musicians of all time, so it is certainly fitting that the 42-year-old native of Puerto Rico will perform at the Veracruz 2014 opening ceremony.
Per The Costa Rica News, Martin's press office released a statement highlighting his excitement regarding taking part in the Central American and Caribbean Games.
"Martin is greatly honored by the invitation and appreciative of the great affection that Mexico has given him over the 30 years of his artistic career," the statement said.
One of the Olympics' biggest international draws is the opening ceremony. It always provides an interesting glimpse into the fabric of the host country, and Mexico has an opportunity to do something similar.
Although Martin himself isn't Mexican, he is representative of Latin America as a whole, which makes him an ideal headliner for the start of Veracruz 2014.
Mexico Vies for Soccer Gold at Home
While there are so many great sports and athletes worth keeping track of during the Central American and Caribbean Games, there is no question that the main storyline will be the Mexican men's soccer team's pursuit of a gold medal.
Mexico has taken soccer gold on five occasions at this event, but it hasn't done so since 1990. In fact, the Mexicans lost in the gold-medal game in 1993, 1998 and 2002. El Tri would love to gain redemption, and doing so in Veracruz would be even sweeter.
There is a great deal of excitement surrounding Mexico's prospects as it will field a strong roster of young stars. That includes Martin Zuniga of Club America as well as MLS star Erick Torres from Chivas USA, according to CONCACAF.com.
Also, Real Salt Lake's Carlos Salcedo will be on the team, and he is very much looking forward to the opportunity:
Mexico certainly looks like the team to beat on paper, but the pressure of playing at home could cause some issues. The Mexicans will have a ton of crowd support, though, and the scene will be incredible if they can take gold.
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