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1959 Pan American Games

III Pan American Games
Official logo of the
Chicago 1959 Pan American Games.
Host city Chicago
Country United States
Nations participating 25
Athletes participating 2263
Events 166 in 18 sports
Opening ceremony August 27
Closing ceremony September 7
Officially opened by President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Main venue Soldier Field
1955 Mexico City 1963 São Paulo  >
Alternate Logo

The 3rd Pan American Games were held in Chicago August 28 – September 7, 1959.


  • Background 1
  • Organization 2
  • The Games 3
  • Medal count 4
  • Sports and Venues 5
  • References 6


The games were originally awarded to Cleveland. Cleveland withdrew from hosting the games due to financial reasons. The original backup-host, Guatemala, withdrew even before Cleveland did so. Sao Paolo, Brazil and Chicago competed to replace Cleveland as the host of the Pan American Games. Chicago defeatd Sao Paolo 13-6 in the Pan American Games Committee vote held August 3, 1957. Sao Paolo later would go on to host the following edition of the Pan American Games.[1]


Once Chicago took over the game following Cleveland's withdrawal, there were 18 months left to organize the games. The games were held on-schedule nonetheless. The games were the first Pan American Games to be held in the Northern Hemisphere's summer. The previous two editions were held in March.[1]

The Games

The games opened on August 27, 1959 in sunny 90 °F (32 °C) heat before 40,000 people in Chicago, Illinois, United States at Soldier Field.

Medal count

1 Host nation

To sort this table by nation, total medal count, or any other column, click on the icon next to the column title.

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States (USA) 1 115/122 69/73 52/54 236/249
2  Argentina (ARG) 9 19/22 11/12 39/43
3  Brazil (BRA) 8 8 6 22
4  Mexico (MEX) 6 11 12/13 29/30
5  Canada (CAN) 5/7 19/21 24/28 48/56

Note ^ The medal counts for the United States, Argentina, Mexico and Canada are disputed.

Sports and Venues


  1. ^ a b Gustkey, Earl (July 19, 1987). "A Chicago-style Pan Am Games". Chicago Tribune (Chicago). Retrieved September 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ Ford, Liam T.A. Ford (October 1, 2009). Soldier Field: A Stadium and Its City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 
  3. ^ a b c d Dretske, Diana (December 8, 2008). 59 Pan Am games brought Olympic-level competition to Lake Co."'". Daily Herald. Retrieved July 5, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Gustkey, Earl (August 5, 1987). "PAN AM GAMES LEGACY: 1959 : It's Not Exactly Peace and Harmony". LA Times (Los Angeles). Retrieved September 5, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Chicago Historic Velodromes & 6-day venues". Retrieved July 5, 2014. 
  6. ^ Pogorzelksi, Daniel; Maloof, John (2008). Portage Park. Charleston SC, Chicago IL, Portsmouth NH, San Francisco CA: Arcadia Publishing. p. 95.  
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