York University welcomes the Brazilian Pan Am Team to campus

Pan Am welcome graphic for the Brazil team
Pan Am welcome graphic for the Brazil team

Pan Am welcome graphic showing Brazil flag and the words welcome to York UApart from being a host venue for 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games this summer, York University will welcome the Brazilian Pan Am team to campus.

Starting on June 28 and leading up to the games, the York Keele campus will be home to some 150 members of the Brazilian Pan Am team, including team coaches, athletes, officials and a medical team.

Craig Okazaki, facility operations manager at the Tait Mackenzie Centre, says Brazil reached out to York U to find space to train prior to the games and has since sent a scout group to the University to check out the Keele campus and its facilities. “A lot of the Olympic organizations scout for areas to train in prior to an event in order to give their athletes time to prepare within that climate and area,” says Okazaki.

“[They] toured the facilities, to have a look not only at sports facilities, but have a look at the dining hall, residences, campus in general, to see what it’s like [here on campus].”

The Pan Am Games officially start on July 10 and run until July 26. Athletes from 41 different countries will participant in 48 different sports, ranging from soccer, field hockey, judo and wrestling. Following the initial games, the Parapan Am Games will run Aug. 7 to 15 and will involve 28 different countries and 17 different sports, including swimming, archery, powerlifting and table tennis.

The Brazilian medical team will be the first to arrive as they will need to set up and prep while the rest of the team arrives shortly afterwards. “[The Brazilian Pan Am team] will be staying at Calumet Residence and their numbers will go up to 150 midway through the games and then down again [once they are done],” says Okazi. “The medical [crew] will arrive first and set up and then after the athletes leave they will dismantle everything and send it back.”

This is not the first time a sporting organization has made use of York University’s sports facilities as the University hosted and housed athletes during the 2012 Ontario Summer Games and the Toronto Argonauts football club is training on the Keele campus until the end of June.

Even so, not all of the Brazilian athletes will be staying on campus, as they will be split between York U and the dedicated Pan Am Athletes’ Village in downtown Toronto. Where exactly they will be situated depends on the proximately to their sporting venues and training facilities.

To better accommodate their athletes during their stay on campus, the Brazilian team brought one of the chefs from Aramark Canada, the primary food provider for York University, to Brazil to in order to train with their Olympic team, learn the spices and cooking techniques of Brazilian food.

While housed on the Keele campus, Okazaki says the Brazilian team will eat together as a group and will have a meal plan, but he anticipates they will venture out and eat on campus following their competitions. Apart from the residences and dining hall, Brazil will be using the Tait Mackenzie Centre to train in for a variety of sports in addition to training at other facilities throughout the GTA. Brazil will be using the main gym at Tait for their men’s and women’s basketball teams, the west side field house for their wrestling team, upper gym for their judo team and the fitness center and weight room for any additional training.

The athletes and Brazilian Pan Am team will also be given YU cards that will allow them access to Tait so that they can practice uninterrupted. The YU card will also allow the team to purchase food. During their stay, Okazaki says the Brazilians will have access to the Underground, York Lanes and the Orange Snail Restaurant. They’ll also enjoy a leisure area in the Calumet courtyard where they socialize, rest and relax.

Submitted to YFile by Hamid Adem, York University’s student Pan Am Communications Officer