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Portal:Sports

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Introduction

Sport in childhood. Association football, shown above, is a team sport which also provides opportunities to nurture physical fitness and social interaction skills.

Sport (British English) or sports (American English) includes all forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators. Hundreds of sports exist, from those between single contestants, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals. In certain sports such as racing, many contestants may compete, simultaneously or consecutively, with one winner; in others, the contest (a match) is between two sides, each attempting to exceed the other. Some sports allow a tie game; others provide tie-breaking methods to ensure one winner and one loser. A number of contests may be arranged in a tournament producing a champion. Many sports leagues make an annual champion by arranging games in a regular sports season, followed in some cases by playoffs.

Sport is generally recognised as system of activities which are based in physical athleticism or physical dexterity, with the largest major competitions such as the Olympic Games admitting only sports meeting this definition, and other organisations such as the Council of Europe using definitions precluding activities without a physical element from classification as sports. However, a number of competitive, but non-physical, activities claim recognition as mind sports. The International Olympic Committee (through ARISF) recognises both chess and bridge as bona fide sports, and SportAccord, the international sports federation association, recognises five non-physical sports: bridge, chess, draughts (checkers), Go and xiangqi, and limits the number of mind games which can be admitted as sports.

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The Cotswold Olimpick Games is an annual public celebration of games and sports now held on the Friday after Spring Bank Holiday near Chipping Campden, in the Cotswolds of England. The Games probably began in 1612, and have continued on and off to the present day. They were started by a local lawyer, Robert Dover, with the approval of King James. The Games were attended by all classes of society, including on one occasion royalty. Events included horse-racing, coursing with hounds, running, jumping, dancing, sledgehammer throwing, fighting with swords and cudgels, quarterstaff, and wrestling.

Many 17th-century Puritans disapproved of such festivities, believing them to be of pagan origin, and they particularly disapproved of any celebration on a Sunday or a church holiday such as Whitsun. By the time of King James's death in 1625, many Puritan landowners had forbidden their workers to attend such festivities; the increasing tensions between the supporters of the king and the Puritans resulted in the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642, bringing the Games to an end.

Revived after the Restoration of 1660, the Games gradually degenerated into a drunk and disorderly country festival according to their critics. The Games ended again in 1852, when the common land on which they had been staged was partitioned between local landowners and farmers and subsequently enclosed. Since 1966 the Games have been held each year on the Friday after Spring Bank Holiday. Events have included the tug of war, gymkhana, shin-kicking, dwile flonking, motor cycle scrambling, judo, piano smashing, and morris dancing. The British Olympic Association has recognised the Cotswold Olimpick Games as "the first stirrings of Britain's Olympic beginnings".

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Selected athlete

Jim Thorpe in 1916
James Francis "Jim" Thorpe (Sac and Fox (Sauk): Wa-Tho-Huk, translated as "Bright Path"; May 28, 1888 – March 28, 1953) was an American athlete of mixed Native American and Caucasian ancestry. Considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern sports, he won Olympic gold medals for the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, played collegiate and professional American football, and also played professional baseball and basketball. He lost his Olympic titles after it was found he was paid for playing two seasons of semi-professional baseball before competing in the Olympics, thus violating the amateurism rules. In 1983, 30 years after his death, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) restored his Olympic medals.

Thorpe grew up in the Sac and Fox nation in Oklahoma. He attended Carlisle Indian Industrial School, where he attracted the attention of Pop Warner. In 1911 he played as running back, defensive back, placekicker and punter, for Carlisle, scoring 25 touchdowns and leading the team to a collegiate championship, and was awarded All-American honors in both 1911 and 1912. Thorpe with the New York Giants baseball team in 1913, he would also play for the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Braves (now Atlanta Braves), and in the minor leagues before leaving the sport in 1922. He continued playing football during this time, playing professionally for the Canton Bulldogs, which he led to several titles. He played professional sports until age 41, the end of his sports career coinciding with the start of the Great Depression. Thorpe struggled to earn a living after that, working several odd jobs. Thorpe suffered from alcoholism, and lived his last years in failing health and poverty.

In a poll of sports fans conducted by ABC Sports, Thorpe was voted the Greatest Athlete of the Twentieth Century.

Selected team

The All Blacks perform the Haka before a match
The New Zealand men's national rugby union team, known as the All Blacks, represent New Zealand in what is regarded as its national sport. The team first competed in 1884 against Cumberland County, New South Wales, and played their first Test match in 1903, a victory over Australia.

The All Blacks are the Rugby World Cup champions, the leading points scorers of all time, and the only international rugby team with a winning record against every test nation they have ever played. The All Blacks have held the top ranking in the world for longer than all other countries combined, and in over 100 years only five test rugby nations have ever beaten New Zealand. The All Blacks have won The Rugby Championship a record eleven times (in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012) in the competition's 16-year history. The All Blacks have won over a record 75% of all rugby matches they have played since 1903 (which is amongst the highest in all International sport) and they were named the International Rugby Board (IRB) Team of the Year in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and a record fifth time in 2011. Fifteen former All Blacks have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame; three of these are also inductees of the IRB Hall of Fame, and another player is a member of the IRB Hall.

The team's early uniforms consisted of a black jersey with a silver fern and white knickerbockers. By their 1905 tour New Zealand were wearing all black, except for the silver fern, and their All Black name dates from this time. New Zealand traditionally perform a haka (Māori challenge) before each match, traditionally the Te Rauparaha's Ka Mate.

Selected quote

Billie Jean King in 2011
I have these two sayings, “Champions adjust” and “Pressure is a privilege”. Tennis teaches you about those things. When you're playing a tennis match, you can't say, “Stop, I want to do another take”, or “Can I play that over?” That's the way sports are.     

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Gabriel Gorce in 2013

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Game between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots in 2009

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