A group of 11 athletes have been selected as Team Panam Sports ambassadors for Santiago 2023 ©Panam Sports

Eleven athletes with a combined 15 Olympic medals have been selected as Team Panam Sports ambassadors for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.

Their role is set to be to "show millions that sport lives in all of us as they strive to achieve greatness and prove that anyone, with hard work and dedication, can become a champion".

"We are thrilled to introduce the newest members of Team Panam Sports who are the first Olympic and world-class stars confirmed to participate in our continent’s most important event, the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games," Panam Sports President and International Olympic Committee member in Chile Neven Ilic explained.

"These great athletes shine both during and after their competitions while always demonstrating the values that Panam Sports wants to impress upon the world.

"Watching them compete in Santiago fills us with pride and excitement."

Canadian starlet swimmer Maggie Mac Neil, the women's 100 metres butterfly Olympic champion who has set short course world records in the 50m and 100m butterfly and 50m backstroke, is among those named as part of Team Panam Sports.

"It means so much to represent the swimming community," Mac Neil said.

"I’m just excited to participate in my first Pan Am Games.

"It has been a big event.

"I mean I watched some of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games and have been dying to participate myself, so I’m definitely excited to bring it here and have a great crowd and hopefully get a couple of medals and hopefully some records for Canada."

Two-time women's synchronised 10m platform diving Olympic medallist Alejandra Orozco of Mexico and women's vault Olympic champion and all-around artistic gymnastics silver medallist Rebeca Andrade of Brazil have also been named as ambassadors.

They are joined by Venezuela's men's BMX freestyle Olympic silver medallist and Pan American Games champion Daniel Dhers, back-to-back men's javelin world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada and women's 400m Olympic silver medallist Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic.

Cuba's four-time Olympic wrestling champion Mijain Lopez, Tokyo 2020 women's hockey runner-up and Pan American Games champion Agustina Albertarrio of Argentina, Peruvian skateboarder Angelo Caro and Chilean Pan American Games beach volleyball champions Marco Grimalt and Esteban Grimalt are the other ambassadors.

Cuba's four-time Olympic wrestling gold medallist Mijain Lopez is among the athletes selected for Team Panam Sports ©Getty Images
Cuba's four-time Olympic wrestling gold medallist Mijain Lopez is among the athletes selected for Team Panam Sports ©Getty Images

"Being an ambassador for Team Panam Sports is a huge deal and something that’s very important to me," Lopez said.

"Any athlete from the Americas would be proud to belong to this Team, so I am very happy that they have given me that opportunity as an athlete from Cuba.

"My expectations for Santiago 2023 are to continue fighting for my sixth medal at the Pan American Games.

"It is my great goal and what my coaching staff and I are extremely focused on."

The Pan American Games are scheduled for October 20 to November 5.

Preparations for Santiago 2023 have been rocked by an increase in budget, delays in preparations and an investigation into possible irregularities in the running of the Games, although Chilean Sports Minister Jaime Pizarro has vowed "everything will go smoothly and we can finish on time".