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20 years on, Platus returns with Pan-Am nostalgia

Posted: 05-Jul-2019 by PanAm Games 2019

For the first time in 20 years, the Pan-American Games is in Mexico.

And as the event returns, so too does 1999 Australian Head of Delegation Louis Platus!

This time around he can put his feet up a tad more as he supports his grandson Oliver who will take to the field for the junior boys’ football side – managed by his dad and Louis’ son Paul. It will surely be a special family experience.

For Louis, just strolling around the grounds of Mexico’s sprawling Jewish community centre – known as the CDI - brings back a range of memories.

Louis Platus stands in front of a museum photo of the 1999 Games

“I can remember the pool,” Platus recalls.

“We couldn’t believe they had two basketball courts in the one centre and the same with squash and tennis courts. They had 8 or 12 tennis courts in that area and a beautiful amphitheatre they used to have here.

“It’s just great to be able to bring Jewish kids as we were in those days and so many of them have been touched by Maccabi.”

Since the ’99 edition of the Games, the CDI has grown astonishingly in size. It now spreads over 89,000 square metres, while Platus estimates the campus has likely doubled and then doubled again in size!

“We thought it was amazing then let alone now!” he said.

“Most people in Australia didn’t have an idea what the Mexican community was like so it was such a surprise. From here we tried to encourage some organisation where we would have sports facilities, and it’s very difficult in Australia.

A photo from the '99 Games - care of the Mexican archives!

“I just get the thrill of seeing how many people Maccabi touches over the years. How we’ve been able to bring people around the world in the last number of years for different. I can see it growing. You can see it growing when you come here after that time. It’s the same in Australia.”

Platus has made a huge number of contacts through his work internationally with Maccabi Australia, and is enjoying the opportunity to reconnect with some familiar faces over in Mexico. He’s set to be treated to the VIP experience this time around, with invites to a range of functions already flooding his way.

Just reward for years of service within Maccabi.

After 20 years, he’s back in Mexico – and ready to cheer on team Aus!