The program Athletes’ Scholarship (Bolsa Atleta) is a monthly financial support given by the Brazilian government to eligible athletes in six categories: base (young athletes), students (competitions
among schools), national (national competitions/rankings), international (international competitions/rankings), Olympic (athletes at the previous Olympic Games) and podium (athletes at the 1st to 20th
positions in international events/rankings). A mean to evaluate this program is to consider the athletes’ participation in international events, such as the Pan-American Games. For the 2015 edition in
Toronto, the Brazilian delegation had 591 athletes and won 141 medals. The aim of this research is to evaluate the participation and the results of the Brazilian delegation in Toronto 2015, using as
reference the relationship of the participants with the Athletes’ Scholarship.
The list of the Brazilian delegation for the 2015 Pan-American Games was obtained at the Games' official website, as well as the medal winners. The athletes’ names were compared to the scholarship
recipients from 2005 to 2014, available at the database of the “Sport Intelligence” project, at the Federal University of Paraná. All the data was tabled at a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and a
descriptive statistic was used to summarize the information of the participants. This step was followed by a qualitative analysis of this policy.
The Brazilian athletes were 53% men and 47% women. Among the eligible athletes, 86% received the Athletes’ Scholarship between 2005 and 2014, while 71% were still receiving in 2014. The medal winning
analysis consider not only the number of medals won, but mostly the number of athletes needed to win this medals – which includes team’s members and substitutes. For the 141 medals, 299 athletes were
involved (50,5% of the Brazilian delegation) and 81% of them received the Scholarship at some point. The Scholarships were bigger for recipients of national and international categories, particularly
since 2011. Very few athletes received the benefit at the categories student and base, even though the majority would be eligible in the age criteria. The total investment in the delegation reached R$
52,4 million (US$13,1 million); 40% was invested in athletes that did not win any medal.
The importance of the Athletes’ Scholarship for the Brazilian delegation at the Toronto 2015 is evident, as the majority of athletes received this benefit, as well as all the medals won had the
participation of an athlete subsidized. The athletes have mostly received the national and international scholarships, showing their late identification in the sport pyramid. Regarding the expenses,
the investment for medal winning prove to be more efficient for athletes in individual sports and even more if they compete in more than one event at the same competition (e.g. canoeing, gymnastics,
and swimming). However, a political question that raises is: what is the purpose of investing in elite sport, medal winning or promoting various sports? The answer is key for a precise evaluation of