The dream of organizing a regional event became a reality in November 1999, with the first edition of the Parapan American Games being held in Mexico City. A total of 1,000 athletes from 18 countries competed across four sports: athletics, swimming, table tennis and wheelchair basketball. Gold medal-winners at Mexico 1999 secured a place at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics.
The Parapans have taken place every four years ever since.
The Argentinian coastal city of Mar del Plata staged the second edition in 2003, with 1,500 athletes from 28 countries competing across nine sports: athletics, boccia, cycling, equestrian, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing and wheelchair tennis. It was not until 2007 that they were staged in the same city as the Pan American Games, following the Olympic/Paralympic model, with the Parapans taking place shortly after the conclusion of the Pan American Games.
Organized by CO-Rio in partnership with the Brazilian Paralympic Committee, the 2007 Games were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between 12-19 August.
The Games featured a record 1,115 athletes and thanks to the waiving of the entry fee for National Paralympic Committees, a record 25 countries took part.
The Parapan American Games returned to Mexico in 2011 with Guadalajara attracting 1,300 athletes from 26 countries.
They competed across 13 sports: archery, athletics, boccia, cycling, football 5, goalball, judo, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis.
Toronto, Canada, staged the latest edition in 2015 with 28 countries competing. During eight days of competition which featured 15 sports, 10 world, 70 Americas and 239 Games records were broken.