Pan American Games | Opening Ceremony: As it happened

Relive all the best of the action including Luis Fonsi singing 'Despacito' at the Opening Ceremony from July 26 in Peru.

Pan American Games 2019 highlights

Friday 26th July saw a glittering Opening Ceremony at the 2019 Pan American Games, featuring gods, myths, music and so much more.

Luis Fonsi made fans wait but eventually sang his smash hit song. He had to really, but before that we had beach volleyball, artistic skating, squash, modern pentathlon and more.

As it happened - Friday 26th July

This is how it all went down in our live blog on the day the flame was lit. Enjoy, and come back tomorrow for more!

Pan American Games 2019 Opening Ceremony highlights!

Watch the full show right here!

More highlights!

Here's another snapshot of what happened on a magical night in Lima.

10am - Des-pa-cito!

We got there in the end, slowly.

Luis does his thing and sings the international, universal smash hit 'Despacito.'

A sensational night comes to an end in Lima.

We'll leave you with the one we all came to hear from Luis:

9:56pm - Not Despacito either

This one's called 'Echame la culpa', or 'Blame me' in English.

A fine reggaetton floor filler with a bit of English thrown in for fun.

"It's not you, it's not you, it's me! I don't want to make you suffer, it's best just to leave it there... And blame me."

9:50pm - Luis Fonsi doesn't sing despacito

Here he is!

Latino megastar Luis Fonsi sends the decibels soaring into the Lima sky, but he doesn't start with Despacito.

He has other songs, who knew!

This one is called 'Imposible' which hardly needs a translation.

"It's impossible that anyone could love you the way I do, could kiss you the way I do," is the general gist of it.

9:47pm - Emotional

This outpouring of national pride is too much for some.

9:45pm - The Games are officially ON!

The President Peru Martin Vizcarra makes the official declaration and these Games are officially open.

"The Pan American Games and the Para Pan American Games will be a true space of inclusion and equality"

9:40pm - "Viva Peru, The best fans in the world!"

Neven Ilic, Pan Am President 2019, pulls out a massive crowd-pleaser with his "The best fans in the world will be in our stadiums where there world has passed through and the flag of Peru will be raised proudly."

A massive ovation for Ilic who captured the mood with these words:

"Feel proud of what you have done. These Games will be historic and we've done it all for you, the athletes, the most admirable among us. Viva Peru, Viva America and Viva the Pan American Games!"

9:39pm - "You know how to put on a show Peru!"

9:38pm - What your kids do when you're fixated on the Opening Ceremony

"My youngest daughter, medallist in painting the walls of the house," says Anselmo.

9:15pm - "The world is watching"

Lima 2019 President Carlos Neuhaus gives his address, his best line is "the world is watching and admiring us" which sounds way better when you say it in Spanish:

"El mundo nos mira y nos admira"

The tranlation of the quote in the pic below says "Lima 2019 has mobilised Peruvians in a way we've never seen before."

9:17pm - Juan Diego Florez

One of the big headliners, tenor Juan Diego Florez, wowed the crowd here in Lima, his song 'The cinnamon flower' brought actual tears from some in the crowd.

7:48pm - Team Canada certainly enjoyed that

Pre-tournament lap of honour for the Canadians, Chile danced their way through and Colombia look sharp in red khakis, blue sports jackets and matching blue shoes and wearing the traditional sombrero vueltiao.

And the gold medal for head furniture goes to...

7:40pm - Athletes parade

The stars of the show are here, Bermudas, Barbados, Belize... The party goes on, the energy is kept up with dancers, music, drummers, and here come Brazil who always bring the energy!

7:25pm - Light, colour, myths and magic

The show goes on, horses are in the arena, Vania Masias - chief choreographer and Lucho Quequezana director of music have done an incredible job.

The Incan god Pariacaca, god of storms flew across the sky chasing chasing "chasquis", messengers of the Incan Empire.

It's a call for the 41 nations participating in the Pan American Games, who duly oblige in the form of dancers and flags.

41 ancient gods challenge to a fair and friendly sports competition in a coming together of Incan tradition and the Pan American Games.

7:10pm - Peru rising

We've had a very impressive video montage to start, entrance of the presidents, speeches from dignitaries, and dancing on the very impressive scenario.

There's a huge mountain in the middle of the stage representing Nevado Pariacaca, the sacred mountain of Lima.

The Amazon river crosses the field of play.

Ancient cultures and civilizations are being evoked through music and dance.

It's spectacular.

Now fireworks!

Fireworks explode during the opening ceremony of Lima 2019 Pan American Games at Estadio Nacional on July 26, 2019 in Lima, Peru. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode during the opening ceremony of Lima 2019 Pan American Games at Estadio Nacional on July 26, 2019 in Lima, Peru. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)Fireworks explode during the opening ceremony of Lima 2019 Pan American Games at Estadio Nacional on July 26, 2019 in Lima, Peru. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

6:51 - Ready?

Let there be dancing! (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Let there be dancing! (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)Let there be dancing! (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
All eyes on Peru before the Lima 2019 Pan American Games Opening Ceremony.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) 
All eyes on Peru before the Lima 2019 Pan American Games Opening Ceremony.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) All eyes on Peru before the Lima 2019 Pan American Games Opening Ceremony.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) 
Regional dance! Pic: Olympic Channel / Nico Muñoz
Regional dance! Pic: Olympic Channel / Nico MuñozRegional dance! Pic: Olympic Channel / Nico Muñoz
Some fans at the National Stadium of Lima. Pic: Olympic Channel / Nico Muñoz
Some fans at the National Stadium of Lima. Pic: Olympic Channel / Nico MuñozSome fans at the National Stadium of Lima. Pic: Olympic Channel / Nico Muñoz
The Opening Ceremony is about to start. Pic: Olympic Channel / Nico Muñoz
The Opening Ceremony is about to start. Pic: Olympic Channel / Nico MuñozThe Opening Ceremony is about to start. Pic: Olympic Channel / Nico Muñoz

6:44 - Street party!

Great atmosphere here in Lima, Peru is getting ready to put on a serious show.

6:40pm - Argentina always brings the party

20 mins to go!

5:35pm - Bringing that fire

The flame has been on a long journey all the way from Machu Picchu in Cuzco, it'll light the flame of the Games later tonight.

5:17pm - Sucker for an Opening Ceremony?

While we wait for Lima to ignite, here some great moments and absolute classics to enjoy:

  • Re-live the best moments from the Opening Ceremony in Buenos Aires

    Re-live the best moments from the Opening Ceremony in Buenos Aires

5:20pm - Feeling nostalgic?

USA looking back at the last Pan Ams in Toronto 2015, Lima is set to be just as unforgettable.

5:15pm - Team USA is ready

Numbers stacked up, a bit like the roster.

5pm - Luis Fonsi is in Lima

The headliner is here, Luis Fonsi has touched down in Peru and is ready to rock the show tonight.

4:40pm - Opening Ceremony getting close

Things are building up, here's the Dominican Republic delegation outside the National Stadium in Lima.

4pm - Artistic skating results

Argentina got its skates on today with Giselle Soler and Juan Sanchez finishing top of the men's and women's artistic skating short program.

Brazil's Bruna Wurst is in second place for the women with the long program set for tomorrow 27 July at 12pm local time.

Here's the standings after the first day of action:

Women:

1 Giselle Soler 38.53 (Argentina)

2 Bruna Wurst 36.70 (Brazil)

3 Eduarda Fuente 27.37 (Equador)

4 Francisca Cabrera 26.14 (Colombia)

5 Agustina Suane 18.83 (Uruguay)

6 Alexis Herbert 18.51 (USA)

7 Valentina Apolinar 17.66 (Colombia)

8 Brigitte Lopez 10.98 (Peru)

Men:

1 Juan Sánchez 60.95 (Argentina)

2 Víctor Lopez 50.07 (Paraguay)

3 José Díaz 47.15 (Chile)

4 Gustavo Casado 44.90 (Brazil)

5 Jairo Ortíz 42.29 (Colombia)

6 John Burchfield 41.80 (USA)

7 Felipe Reyna 25.28 (Mexico)

8 Roberto Quiroz 7.65 (Peru)

It's no surprise that Argentina's Juan Francisco Sanchez topped the billing today, he's South American champion from the Brazil tournament earlier this year.

3:30pm - Volleyball results

The pool stages are done and we have our quarter-finalists.

Well, some of them anyway.

In the women's competition Cuba, USA, Brazil and Argentina all go through to the quarters after topping their groups.

Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and Chile are through on the men's side.

It's not over yet for 2nd and 3rd place finishers who will go into a qualifier for a quarter finals spot.

Cuba's Maylen Delis and Leila Martinez topped Pool A and the USA pair Jace Pardon and Karissa Cook won Pool B.

Pool C was dominated by Brazil's Angela Reboucas and Carolina Horta, Argentina's Ana Gallay and Fernanda Pereyra were victorious in Group C.

Nicolas Capogrosso and Julian Azaad of Argentina won Pool B, with Brazil's Oscar Brandao and Thiago Dealtry the leaders in Pool C.

Keep an eye on cousins Marco and Esteban Grimalt, they've been playing really well, and Venezuela's Rolanda Hernandez and Jose Gomez who finished unbeaten on the summit of Pool A.

2:40pm - Milco the mascot

Milco is the Lima 2019 Games mascot and he's everywhere.

A distant cousin of the Chancay culture, a Peruvian civilization from around the year 1200, Milco is based on a 'cuchimilco' - a ceramic sculpture from around that time.

Milco was designed by Andrea Medrano, a 24-year-old Peruvian designer who won a competition with over a thousand entries, her design came out top of a record-breaking vote.

44,514 people participated, overtaking Toronto 2015 (33,000), and Guadalajara 2011 (15,000).

Milco beat Wayqi, the gecko, and Amantis, which was inspired by the Flower of Amancaes, to become the Lima 2019 mascot.

Now Milco is a proper celeb, hanging all over lamp posts in Lima and with the likes of Usain Bolt.

No big thing.

Milco is everywhere on the streets in Lima. Pic: Olympic Channel
Milco is everywhere on the streets in Lima. Pic: Olympic ChannelMilco is everywhere on the streets in Lima. Pic: Olympic Channel
Milco and ... who's that other guy? Oh, ya, it's Usain Bolt. (Photo by Raul Sifuentes/Getty Images)
Milco and ... who's that other guy? Oh, ya, it's Usain Bolt. (Photo by Raul Sifuentes/Getty Images)Milco and ... who's that other guy? Oh, ya, it's Usain Bolt. (Photo by Raul Sifuentes/Getty Images)

2pm - Brazil down Cuba

We were treated to a fine display of beach volleyball between Brazil and Cuba on Court 1 of the Beach Volleyball stadium.

Cuba took it in the end by 2 sets to 1.

Argentina have beaten the USA in Beach Volleyball 2-1, Julian Azaad and Nicolas Capogrosso head into the quarter finals.

1pm - Google Doodle

Even Google is getting in on the act, today's doodle marks the beginning of the 2019 Pan Am Games, very nice it is too.

Google marks the beginning of the Pan American Games 2019 in Lima, Peru with a Google doodle.
Google marks the beginning of the Pan American Games 2019 in Lima, Peru with a Google doodle.Google marks the beginning of the Pan American Games 2019 in Lima, Peru with a Google doodle.

12:30am - IOC President pays a visit

The President of the IOC Thomas Bach popped in to say hi here in Peru.

11:30am - Lima painted red and white

Flags, football shirts, face paints and entire buildings are covered in Peru's red and white colours.

The party is starting early!

Strike a pose Peru! Pic: Olympic Channel
Strike a pose Peru! Pic: Olympic ChannelStrike a pose Peru! Pic: Olympic Channel
Everyone who's anyone is in Lima for the Pan Am Games. Pic: Olympic Channel
Everyone who's anyone is in Lima for the Pan Am Games. Pic: Olympic ChannelEveryone who's anyone is in Lima for the Pan Am Games. Pic: Olympic Channel

10:40am Fuerza Peru!

There's a lot of local pride at the Games here in Lima and they're excited about the big party later this evening.

Peru has 592 athletes taking part at Lima 2019, their biggest delegation ever at any multi-sport tournament. There's a real sense of something building for the future too, new venues being built, facilities improved and hopes of a legacy that leaves something lasting, inspiring the next generation of potential Pan Am and Olympic champs.

The country hasn't won an Olympic medal since Barcelona 1992, and their last gold at the Olympics was in shooting at London 1948.

There has been more success at Pan American level where Peru's athletes have won 110 medals.

The aim here at home in Lima is to win more medals than at Toronto 2015 where they took home 12.

"Our aim is clear in these competitions, we've set the objective to win 20 medals," said Peruvian Olympic Committee Secretary General Carlos Manuel Lazarte.

'Los panamericanos' are dominating the newstands here in Lima:

'Let's go Peru!' - The 2019 Pan American Games are dominating the news stands in the Peruvian capital. Marathon runner Gladys Tejeda is one of Peru's big medal hopes in Lima.
'Let's go Peru!' - The 2019 Pan American Games are dominating the news stands in the Peruvian capital. Marathon runner Gladys Tejeda is one of Peru's big medal hopes in Lima.'Let's go Peru!' - The 2019 Pan American Games are dominating the news stands in the Peruvian capital. Marathon runner Gladys Tejeda is one of Peru's big medal hopes in Lima.

10.15am - USA Basketball

Plenty of basketball set to happen here in Lima, the 3x3 starts tomorrow Saturday 27 with the gold medal match on Monday 29th July and the 5's on Wednesday.

Watch out for Luwane Pipkins from the halfway line!

9:45am - Beach volleyball, squash, fencing, rugby 7's

It's not exactly beach weather - 16 degrees Celsius (60F) - here in Lima, but that's not stopping Canada and Chile serving up a cracker in the men's doubles Group D game.

The Chilean cousins Marco and Esteban Grimalt look strong, taking the first set 21-11.

Canada's Planting looks like he's playing with at least one broken finger. Ow, that block must have hurt.

Meanwhile it's Mexico v Nicaragua on the other court.

Colombia and Argentina kicked off the Rugby 7's this morning and fencing is underway in what's going to be our first medal of the day - modern pentathlon.

And the Chileans have taken that volleyball game against Canada in straight sets.

And Colombia have beaten Argentina 24-14 in their opening rugby 7's game.

More results to follow, stay with us!

09:25am - Want the Lowdown on gymnastics?

One of the many sports taking place in Lima is gymnastics.

It's set to be a fierce competition with some of the top names competing in Peru.

They're also using it as a first test of routines for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics next year.

Check out our InstagramTV show The Lowdown for some amazing new moves that gold medallist Simone Biles showed us a few days ago.

07:20am - Ceremony star keeping performance details a secret for now

We're all excited about the Opening Ceremony, which is now less than 12 hours away!

The man most of Lima is most looking forward to seeing perform says he is honored “to be able to give my own rhythmic and romantic touch to these beautiful games.”

He's international recording artist Luis Fonsi, who incidentally holds the Guinness World Record for most YouTube views in history for his song “Despacito,”

Fonsi told reporters on Monday that he is also a sports fan and “a frustrated sportsman.”

Apparently baseball was his primary sport growing up but that he “practiced a bit of everything” as a youngster in his native Puerto Rico.

He also loves basketball but says “I’ll stick to music. I’m better at that.”

Fonsi hasn't revealed any details about tonight's Lima 2019 Opening Ceremony, only saying “we have something very special prepared for you”.

The Opening Ceremony also will feature the history of Peru in a colorful display.

Traditional Peruvian music, fireworks as well as the Parade of Nations for the 41 countries competing at the Games will fill the program.

Can't wait!!!!

06:50 am - Want to win a home?

Peruvian athletes from Lima have an extra incentive to do well in their home Pan Ams.

Win a medal and you also get an apartment thrown in. Our reporter Lorena Encabo in Peru went to the athletes village to find out more.

Extra incentive for home Athletes in Lima as Pan American Games get underway

Extra incentive for home Athletes in Lima as Pan American Games get underway

05:45 am - Get updates on social media too in Lima

Do you follow us on social media? If not, why not!?!

Click the link below to visit our twitter page in English, where we'll be providing updates throughout the event, as well as the best sports action and content from around the world.

You can read our full preview for the Pan Ams there right now.

05:15 am - Why the Robot dance could be one to look out for in Lima

One of the stories we'll be following closely in Lima is that of the USA Artistic Swimming team. We've been behind-the-scenes with the team as they aim for an Olympic return at Tokyo 2020, and have developed a groundbreaking new synchronised routine to try and make that a reality.

They recently took part in those FINA World Championships, and you can watch the start of that journey in this special feature:

04:50 am - Swimmers take focus

There's a big programme of aquatic events at the Pan American Games 2019, with many swimmers travelling direct to Lima from the FINA World Championships in Gwangju.

Our live blog for that event is in full flow, and you can get all the updates from my team-mates Andrew Binner and ZK Goh right here, right now.

04:40 am - Lima starts to rise

The first Olympic Channel blog post from the Lima 2019 Pan American Games is live!!!

Thanks for joining us at the start of this epic multi-sport event.

It may be extremely early in the morning here, but some of the athletes and coaches are up and about in the village as a handful of events start super early. More on that below.

Our live stream of the early action is available in many parts of the world and begins in three hours from now at 07:30 in Lima (Peru Time/PET).

That's 05:30 Los Angeles (Pacific Daylight Time/PDT).

09:30 in Rio de Janeiro (Brasil Time/BRT)

13:30 in London (British Summer Time/BST),

14:30 Paris (Central European Summer Time/CEST),

21:30 Tokyo (Japan Standard Time/JST)

Bonus points for anyone who can guess why we used those cities. Get in touch via @OlympicChannel on social media.

Keep coming back for more text updates throughout the day.

What to watch out for at the Pan Ams on Friday 26th July

Beach Volleyball prelims start early at 8am on Friday in Lima, with USA, Canada, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and Peru all in action both in men's and women's matches.

Rugby 7's gets its first run-out at the Pan Ams too, the USA has already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and think they can win gold in Japan but haven't sent their strongest squad to Lima leaving that ticket to Tokyo up for grabs.

The event starts with the women - Colombia v Argentina - at 9:50am in Rugby Field, with the men's matches starting at 11:30am local time.

We'll see squash quarter-finals today and if you're missing your figure skating fix have a look at the artistic skating today, it's ice skating without the ice!

The women's free short program is this morning at 10am and the men's is at 11am.

There are so many great athletes set to take part in Lima, here are some of the headliners:

Here's the official song, it's called 'Jugamos todos' or 'Let's all play':

What to expect from the Lima 2019 Opening Ceremony

There's so much more to Peru than just Machu Picchu, and the Opening Ceremony aims to show just a little of it.

The Opening Ceremony of the Pan American Games 2019 goes down on Friday 26 July starting at 6pm Peru time in the National Stadium in Lima.

The local media is full of pictures of Puerto Rico's Luis Fonsi - the viral mega-hit 'Despacito' singer and co-writer - who will be performing.

There's such excitement and a scramble for tickets that the official site came close to crashing and a queuing system managed the huge spike in traffic.

The physical and virtual dash to get a ticket to the biggest show this century was quite the sight here in Lima.

The official Lima 2019 site struggles to contain the demand for tickets on the night before Day 1 and the Opening Ceremony at the Pan American Games 2019 in Lima.
The official Lima 2019 site struggles to contain the demand for tickets on the night before Day 1 and the Opening Ceremony at the Pan American Games 2019 in Lima.The official Lima 2019 site struggles to contain the demand for tickets on the night before Day 1 and the Opening Ceremony at the Pan American Games 2019 in Lima.

Another big attraction is tenor Juan Diego Flores, a massive star in Peru, this local TV report talked of Luis Fonsi being 'overwhelmed' when he met Flores:

Unfortunately, tickets to the big fiesta are long gone, but we're live on-site throughout bringing you the best of the action.

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