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October 21 - Ian Troop, the chief executive of the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games Organising Committee, hopes that the successful staging of the event could lead to a winning Olympic and Paralympic bid from the Canadian city.

Toronto has twice bid to host the Summer Olympics Games - the first coming in 1996 when they finished third behind the eventual winners, Atlanta, and the second in 2008 when they were runners-up behind the victors Beijing.

But Troop, who is currently here for the 2011 edition of the Pan American Games, feels Toronto can impress the International Olympic Committee (IOC) when they host the next addition of the competition in 2015 and subsequently launch a third, successful bid for the Games.

"We have had two very well-prepared Olympic bids in recent years and we certainly put up a real challenge in both of them," Troop told insidethegames.

"As we look at it, our focus is obviously on staging a terrific Pan American Games but we really hope our contribution will be able to demonstrate Toronto's capability to host major sporting events such as the Olympics which perhaps people don't realise.

"We want the people of Toronto to say, 'Wow, wasn't that a tremendous event, now let's go and get an Olympic Games.'

"We obviously have a major multi-sport event to put on and there is a lot of work to do so we are going to be focused specifically on that challenge and on hosting a fantastic Pan American Games.

"But if we can do that in front of the whole world and the IOC, we will be setting a fantastic platform and a fantastic base for any future Toronto Olympic bid."

Troop was appointed Toronto 2015 chief executive back in February 2010 and given a $350,000 (£221,800/€254,000) annual salary to oversee the $1.4 billion (£888 million/€1.1 billion) project after stepping down as an adviser with OMERS Private Equity.

He has over 28 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry, including with Procter & Gamble and ConAgra Foods International, and said the Canadian city is very much on track to host a successful event in four years when Toronto will see around 8,000 athletes from 41 nations compete across 37 sports.

"We are completely on schedule; we are on budget and we are therefore tracking right where we need to be," Troop said.

"We are also getting great pick-up from the sponsors and will be making some exciting announcements on that front in the near future.

"So I think we're in a really good position at this point to have our venues ready in 2014 for the test events for what will be a phenomenal competition.

"I mean, this is the second biggest multi-sport event in the world and it will be the biggest ever Games in Canada, including the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, which shows you the sheer scale.

"There will also be a huge economic impact for Toronto.

"There is a $700 million [£444 million/€508 million] spend on construction as well as further spend on the Athletes' Village, a separate project over and above that $700 million, which has created 15,000 jobs.

"Then you have the fact that there will be new, world class sporting facilities in Toronto that will be a major benefit not only to the city and the people in it but also for a potential Olympic bid.

"So there will be strong legacies on multiple levels and that is a big part of the return on the investment for these Games."

By Tom Degun

Source: www.insidethegames.biz