Pan Am Bowling © Steve Spatafore

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Sport Overview

World-class ten-pin bowlers roll on the same 60-foot wood lanes you may know from league night, but these competitors will be striving for the medal podium. While not an Olympic sport, bowling became a Pan Am sport in 1991 at the Games in Havana, Cuba. The U.S. has dominated the sport with 20 gold medals, followed by Mexico and Canada in the overall standings.

Canada’s women took home a silver and bronze from Guadalajara. Colombia won gold in the men’s competition while the U.S. won gold in the women’s competition and the men’s and women’s pairs.


The earliest known history of bowling dates back to ancient Egypt. In the 1800s, the game took hold in the United States, and became a Pan Am sport in 1991.

How it works

In this sport, athletes roll a bowling ball down a wooden lane with the goal of knocking over as many of the 10 pins positioned at the far end of the lane as possible. Each bowler shoots a maximum of two balls per turn, except for the final frame where the bowler may shoot three balls if they strike on the first two.

Lanes measure 60 feet (18 metres) in length and 39 inches (99 centimetres) in width, and are bordered by two gutters designed to collect balls that go astray.


The rounds in a game of bowling in which each player takes a turn at hitting the pins. Each game consists of 10 frames.

When all 10 pins are knocked down with the first ball.

When all 10 pins are knocked down using two balls.

Additional Information

Additional Information