The idea of holding a Pan American Games was first raised at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, where Latin American representatives of the IOC suggested that a competition among all the countries in the Americas should be created. The first event took place in Dallas in 1937 as part of the Greater Texas & Pan-American Exposition, but it attracted so little attention it has never counted in the records of the competition. At the first Pan American Sports Congress, in 1940, the participants decided that the first games should be held in Buenos Aires in 1942. The plans had to be postponed because of WWII. A second Congress held in London during the 1948 Olympics reconfirmed Buenos Aires as the choice of host city, which were held in 1951.
The Games have been held subsequently every four years. The games are sanctioned by the IOC. The Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) was established in 1955, and is the governing body of the Games and Pan American Games Movement (PAGM). The PAGM consists of International Sports Federations and National Olympic Committees that are recognized by PASO. The Pan American Games have been hosted by 15 cities in 10 countries. All 41 countries whose National Olympic Committee is recognized by the PASO compete at the Games. Only two nations haven’t yet won a medal. 37 sports have been part of the Games, with 16 sports that have never been absent from the Pan American Games program.