The Americas Paralympic Committee (APC) marked the 20th anniversary of its foundation in August 1997 by counting down the top 20 moments in its history, with the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games as the No.1.
But the Paralympic family also reacted with shock and sorrow at the passing away of Jose Luis Campo, four-times elected APC President and a pioneer of the Movement in the Americas, who died on 16 October after suffering a heart attack.
The year in the Americas makes it to No. 5 in the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) Top 50 Moments of 2017.
The APC was established as a consequence of the 1996 Paralympic Games when Xavier Gonzalez and Carol Mushett called for a summit of the Americas Region in Atlanta, USA, with the purpose of creating a regional representative, not existent at that time.
From that meeting on, the Americas Region has been growing continuously with very clear purposes and goals to achieve.
Argentina's Jose Luis Campo was elected APC founding President in 1997 and served two terms until 2005, when he was replaced by Brazil’s Andrew Parsons. Colombia’s Octavio Londono was President from 2009-2013.
Campo was elected again in 2013 and served as President until 2017, when he was re-elected for a fourth term. Following the passing of Campo on 16 October 2017 while participating in a fundraising run event to raise funds to organisations fighting children’s cancer, Cuban Eduardo Montenegro was appointed President.
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons said: “The Paralympic Movement has lost one of its most valuable members. Jose Luis Campo, President of the Americas Paralympic Committee, was an inspiration to anyone who knew him. His passion for the Paralympic Movement had no limits.
“I called him "maestro" [teacher, in Spanish] as he taught me so much over the years. His commitment with the Movement was beyond any comprehension.”
Parapan American Games
Campo was also a driving force behind the creation of the Parapan American Games, with the first edition being held in Mexico City in November 1999. A total of 1,000 athletes from 18 countries competed across four sports: athletics, swimming, table tennis and wheelchair basketball.
The regional event has taken place every four years since, with an ever-growing number of athletes and countries participating. The following editions were Mar del Plata 2003, Rio 2007, Guadalajara 2011 and Toronto 2015. Lima, Peru, will stage the sixth edition in 2019.
The Youth Parapan American Games were created in 2005 to help develop the grassroots. In 2017 more than 800 athletes aged 13-20 from a record 19 countries competed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at the biggest edition yet.
The full rundown of the Top 50 Moments will continue until 31 December.