Sports and Games

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Sports and Games

Sports play an important part in the life of people all over the world. Sport is a physical activity that results in good physical skills of a man, his mental relaxation and bodily fitness. Sport gives people enjoyment, happiness, friendship, health, popularity, money...
We can classify sports in a following way: Winter – summer, outdoor - indoor, team -individual, professional – amateur. There are various sports competitions and championships on various levels - local, city, regional, national, international competitions, and European and World championships. The top contest is said to be Olympics games (winter, summer, every four years).
There is no typical sport in Slovakia but the most popular ones are football and ice-hockey. Tennis has become very popular recently but it is very expensive sport. There are many people in our country who go in for some sport especially young ones. All generations like to watch sports on television or at the stadiums, sports halls, and swimming pools. All school children have chance to attend physical education (training) lessons which are compulsory and given in school gymnasia and fitness centers. The British have always been nation of sport lovers. And it is sad, when British buy the newspaper and the first, he turns to, is sport. Many sports are played nowadays all over the world. Grew up to their present day form in Britain: football, horse racing, golf, lawn-tennis, or rouin
The most popular sport in Britain is football. A lot of people support their local slubs at matches or watch the matches live on television. Other typical British sports are: golf, tennis, baseball, cricket, rugby. Today bungee jumping becomes very popular all over the world. It is said to be a dangerous sport, which originated in the jungles of New Guinea. The idea was brought to the civilized world and instead of wooden towers which are built in the jungles, famous bridges are used. One of the most exotic places in the world to test your nerve at this exciting game is Victoria Falls in Southern Africa. In the USA baseball used to play a leading role among sports but nowadays basketball and American football seem to be the most popular. Jogging loses its popularity as it is quite dangerous to walk or run alone. You can be robbed or hit by someone or you can collapse and no one is around to help you.

Every school in the USA has a school team that play baseball, basketball or football against other schools.
The Olympic Games were originally competitions held at Olympia in Ancient Greece. For the first time they were held in 776 before our era. There are two eras of the Olympic Games - ancient and since 1896 also modern era when Baron Pierre de Coubertin revived the ancient principals.
There was always a flame at the ancient Games, because it was a symbol of perfection and victory. At the modern Games it started only in 1928. It is lit at Olympia from the rays of sun and it burns in the main station from the beginning to the end.
Ancient Games last 5 days and now the Summer Games last approximately 14 days. There are also the Winter Games, which began in 1924 and were held in the same years as the Summer Games. After 1992 they are held in between. Every four years there is a festival of winter sports, the Winter Olympic Games, where most of winter sports are performed. The first one took place in Gamonix, France in the year 1924, and the latest was in Nagano, Japan in 1998 and in South Lake City, America, 2002. The next Winter Olympics games will be. So we have the Olympic Games every 2 years.
The Olympic symbol is 5 interlaced circles standing for the friendship of all the races from the 5 continents. These circles are against white background and their colors are blue, black, yellow, red and green. These 6 colors are chosen because every national flag of the world contains at least one of them.
Motto of the Olympic Games is "faster, higher, stronger." The aims of the Olympic movement are to promote sport, to create a more peaceful and friendly world, to bring athletes together in a great sport festival and to spread these Olympic principals.
The opening ceremony starts with huge display, which presents host country's culture and history. Important is to raise the flag, to lit the flame. Then they swear and host country´ s head officially opens the Games. Each country has its own National Olympic Committee, which is in charge of all the teams that take part. The main worldwide organization, the official body of the Olympic Games is International Olympic Committee; its seat is in Lousanne, Switzerland. Olympic athletes must be amateurs; they only get medals, not money. Silver and bronze medals are made of solid metal but gold medals are only gold-plated silver. Since 1960 there are also Paralympics for people with physical handicap and in 1963 began Special Olympics for people with mental handicap.
Hall of Fame
As soon as the Games became world famous, the number of memorable winners began to rise.

For example Jim Thorfl, an American Indian won both decathlons in Stockholm in 1912.He was one of the greatest athletes in the first half of the 20-th century. At the Olympics in 1948, Bob Mathias, who was only 17, won the decathlon. He was the only one, who repeated it second time at Helsinki Games in 1952.There appeared one more great sportsman. Emil Zátopek from Czechoslovakia. He became and still is the only man, who won 5000m, 10 000 races and marathon in a single Olympics.
In 1976 Nadia Comaneci, marvelous 14 year old gymnast from Romania, won 3 gold medals and recorded 7 perfect scores during the competition.
The Winter Games were also witnesses of many magnificent performances. The Austrian Toni Sailer won all 3 gold medals in men's Alpine skiing in 1956 in Cortina da´Ampesso in Italy. Sonja Henie from Norway, who is still one of the greatest skaters, won 3 gold medals. She was the first skater, who changed her athletic success into a lucrative career in entertainment. In 1980 the U. S. hockey team snatched the gold medal from favored Soviets and also Eric Heiden won all 5 gold medals in men's speed skating.

SUMMERSPORTS• football • basketball• volleyball• handball • tennis • badminton • cricket• golf• swimming• water-polo• diving• yachting• hiking• cycling• riding horses• roll-skating, light athletics:

UNIVERSITY BOAT RACE - Since 1829 the university of Oxford and Cambridge agreed to have a race. Tradition started. Now every spring boat race goes on the Thames. There are 8 men in each boat and there is also cox, who controls the boat. ROYAL ASCOT - Ascot is a small town in the south of England. In June it becomes the centre of horse racing. The Queen always goes there. Ascot is also famous for fashion, women wear extraordinary big hats. WIMBLENDON - Is the world’s famous tennis tournament. It’s in south part of London. It started in the 19th century. The court is grass and visitors eat strawberries. BOXING DAY HUNTS - Traditionally boxing day is a day of hunting. The hunters ride horses and used dogs. Before a hunt they drink hot wine. Nowadays some people want to stop this tradition because it is cruel for animals.
CRICKET - Is one of the most typical English sports. It demands a perfect pitch, sunny weather and a lot of time. It has its own language and one match can last up to three days. FOOTBALL/Soccer is a game played by two teams on a rectangular field with the ball. The players control the ball by using their feet. Only goalkeepers are allowed to handle the ball. It is played by two teams of eleven players. There is a goal keeper, backs, half-backs and forward.

The 23rd man on the field is the referee.
Soccer is the world's most popular sport played by men and women of all ages with millions of fans. The first modern game of soccer began in 19-th century in England. Now the most famous tournament is World Cup. The first World Cup winner was Uruguay. The last winner was France in 1998. This tournament is only for the national teams, but there are also many cups and tournaments
for clubs. For example: UEFA cup or Cup winners Cup.
One of the world cup legends is Pelé. He was a very good soccer player. He began his professional soccer career in 1956 playing for Santos a Brazilian club. When he was 17, he won for first time World Cup Trophy. In these days the best players are: Beckham, Bierhoff, Zidanne, and Ronaldo.
Basketball is a fast game played indoors, by two teams of five players each. Is all around the year game, it can be played also out doors - STREETBALL. The team scores if the ball falls through a basket situated high above players' heads. The primary objective of the game is to score more points, than the other team. They put a round ball through a circular band, called a nim. Two nims are at each end of the court placed 3.1m above the ground. The nims are on the backboards, which are made of glass.
The first Olympic tournament was in Berlin in 1936.The United States team won the Olympic gold medals that year. In 1992 professional players were first allowed to play in the Olympic team, which is known as a DREAM TEAM, which is made up of NBA´s best players. I play basketball too and it's great game and it is also very fast. There are many rules, but there are not so difficult. The best player was Michael Jordan, who was six times NBA champion.

GOLF - Is a famous English and American outdoor game. It is played be one, two or three players or two players. A player holds a club in his hand and he tries to hit a ball into hole. It is a hard rubber white ball. Volleyball is a popular team sport played indoors, where each team has six players, while in beach volleyball, which is played outdoors on sand, teams consist of two players each. The game was invented in 1895 by American William G. Morgan. His game, which he called Mintonette, became popular not only in the United States, but also in the world. There are 210 national teams in the International Volleyball Federation. In 1922 was the first national volleyball championship in the United States. Volleyball became as an Olympic sport in 1964 in Tokyo and the beach volleyball in 1996, in Atlanta.

The most famous national teams are: Cuba, China, Russia, Holland and Italy.
Badminton is indoor, but it could be also outdoor game, which is played by two or by four players.
They need a net, lightweight rackets and a shuttlecock. Players hit the shuttlecock over the net with rackets. A point can be only by the serving side. If the serving side fails it loses the serve. A game is played to 15 points, but in women singles only to 11 points. At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona badminton was contested as an official Olympic sport.
Archery has been popular as an amateur sport in England. The oldest archery tournament was in 1673.
In the early 1900s archery became an Olympic sport for men and women at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Archery was modernized in 1992.After this year Olympic round consists of a ranking round, an elimination round and a team finals round. The individual event includes 64 archers, all shooting at the same time at targets 70m away. Archers with the highest scores compete for medals. Field shooting simulates hunting game, with small targets situated in the nature.
Figure skating is an indoor sport. This sport is very popular in many countries especially in Russia, where are the best skaters. The major types of figure skating are individual men's and women's competitions, pairs skating, ice dancing and precision skating. In individual competitions a single skater performs many maneuvers. Pair skating consists of two skaters performing together.
Precision skating consists of a team of skaters, who perform choreographed maneuvers.
The most famous skaters were- Sonja Henje, or Dick Button, who was five- times World champion and two times Olympic gold medalist.

Winter sports ice-hockey* figure skating* snowboarding* skiing – jumps* skiing – downhill* cross – country --- are popular among people of all ages. Skiing is probably the most popular or winter sports, it is famous for about 5000 years. The sport did not become popular form of recreation until the 20-th century. Now millions of people enjoy skiing for its sense of freedom. There are two types of skiing: Alpine, or Downhill and Nordic or Cross-Country. There are four events in Alpine ski racing:
Slalom (sometimes called special slalom), giant slalom (GS), super giant slalom (super G) and downhill. – race in which the skier must pass between pairs of poles...
The different events require different techniques and different equipment. It is very hard sport for body. The professionals have problems with their knees. The most famous skiers were: Alberto Tomba who was very good at slalom, Luc Alphand, or Giradelli, who was for five times World Cup winner.
There are many skiing events.

Cross country skiing – it is the sport of skiing for pleasure across the countryside. Ski jumping is a competitive event in which individuals jump for distance after skiing down a long, sloping hill. Biathlon – combination of cross-country skiing and shooting. Racing downhill – the fastest direct route down the slepe. Ice hockey is a fast winter sport, in which two teams of skaters use long sticks, to drive a rubber disk into a goal. Ice hockey is played in about 30 countries. It is especially popular in Canada, where the modern game developed and, where is the most famous league (NHL). Ice hockey is played on natural ice, on an oval rink. Each player carries a stick, usually made of wood. Players wear helmets, protection pads under their clothing and gloves on their hands. An ice hockey game is divided into three 20-minute periods. In 1920 ice hockey was added to the Olympic Games. Since then Olympic hockey has become one of the most popular events at the Winter Olympics.
One of the most famous players was: Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull, Wayne Gretzky.
THE HIGHLANDS GAMES - 100s of years ago Scottish families (clans) started these games. The most interesting sport is tossing the caber – it means, they have to lift and than throw very long about 6 meters and heavy piece of wood. Some men wear kilts.
Bobsledding is a winter sport, which first became popular in the 19-th century in Saint Moritz. In bobsledding teams of two, or four compete for gold, silver and bronze medal. The most critical part of a bobsled run is the start. Team members sprint, while pushing the sled forward, for about 75 m. The captain, or driver of a bobsled team occupies the front position and steers the sled and the brakeman in the rear position operates the brake. The first organized bobsled competition was in Saint Moritz in 1848. Bobsled national teams competed in the first Winter Olympics in 1924.

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