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Pan American Games open to the sound of mariachi
Pan American Games open to the sound of mariachi music and vaqueros _ cowboys _ on horseback
By The Associated Press

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) ' The sound of Mexico's famous mariachis filled the air Friday at the opening ceremony of the Pan American Games, signaling the start of the 2 -week competition ' Mexico's biggest day on the international sports stage since the 1986 World Cup.

Tradition set the backdrop for much of the ceremony, which opened with women wearing colorful, traditional dresses dancing to the sound of brass and strings with Mexican vaqueros ' or cowboys ' riding their mounts at a quick gallop around the center of the Omnilife Stadium.

The opening ceremony was in doubt until Friday after heavy rain from Hurricane Jova battered Guadalajara. But with perfect timing, the sun broke through early in the day.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) ' After days of heavy rain, the sun finally broke through in perfect timing for Friday's opening ceremony of the Pan American Games.

Guadalajara has been pounded by Hurricane Jova, putting in doubt the curtain-raising show at Omnilife Stadium, the home of the Mexican soccer club Chivas.

"There is no way of changing the day or hour of the opening ceremony," Pan American Sports Organization President Mario Vazquez Rana said.

Bernardo De la Garza, president of the national sports and physical culture commission, said he doesn't expect any changes in the length of the ceremony or number of participants.

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge met Friday with Pan American Games officials and was expected to attend the opening ceremony. Rogge has attended the last two opening ceremonies ' in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in 2003, and Rio de Janeiro in 2007.

"Mexico has been a friend country that has always supported every Olympic movement," Rogge said. "I always have good memories of Mexico because I competed in the 1968 Olympic Games (in Mexico City)."

Rogge also competed as a sailor at the 1972 and 1976 Olympics.

Rogge declined to comment on the venues, saying he had not visited them. Many of the venues received last-minute touches Friday, including the 8,500-seat stadium for track and field, which has faced several delays and will host its first events Oct. 23.

The Pan American Games are a quadrennial event attended this year by 42 nations from the Americas. The United States, which has entered more than 600 athletes, has traditionally dominated the games. The 2 -week competition is the biggest international sports event in Mexico since the 1986 World Cup.

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