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Portal:Sports

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The Sports Portal

A collection of balls used in various sports

Sport, also known as sports, is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organized participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability. Sport can be practiced for health, for leisure or competitively, in the latter case often with spectators. Hundreds of sports exist, both from those requiring only two participants, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals.

Sport is generally recognized as 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 organizations 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) recognizes both chess and bridge as bona fide sports, and SportAccord, the international sports federation association, recognizes five non-physical sports, although limits the amount of mind games which can be admitted as sports.

Sports are usually governed by a set of rules or customs, which serve to ensure fair competition, and allow consistent adjudication of the winner. Winning can be determined by physical events such as scoring goals or crossing a line first, or by the determination of judges who are scoring elements of the sporting performance, including objective or subjective measures such as technical performance or artistic impression.

In organized sport, records of performance are often kept, and for popular sports, this information may be widely announced or reported in sport news. In addition, sport is a major source of entertainment for non-participants, with spectator sports drawing large crowds to venues, and reaching wider audiences through sports broadcasting.

Selected article

An unknown early American football team
The history of American football can be traced to early versions of rugby football and association football. Both games have their origin in varieties of football played in Britain in the mid-19th century, in which a football is kicked at a goal and/or run over a line.

American football resulted from several major divergences from rugby, most notably the rule changes instituted by Walter Camp, considered the "Father of American Football". Among these important changes were the introduction of the line of scrimmage and of down-and-distance rules. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, gameplay developments by college coaches such as Eddie Cochems, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Knute Rockne, and Glenn "Pop" Warner helped take advantage of the newly introduced forward pass.

The popularity of college football grew as it became the dominant version of the sport in the United States for the first half of the 20th century. Bowl games, a college football tradition, attracted a national audience for college teams. Boosted by fierce rivalries, college football still holds widespread appeal in the US.

The origin of professional football can be traced back to 1892, with William "Pudge" Heffelfinger's $500 contract to play in a game for the Allegheny Athletic Association against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. In 1920 the American Professional Football Association was formed. This league changed its name to the National Football League (NFL) two years later, and eventually became the major league of American football.

Primarily a sport of Midwestern industrial towns in the United States, professional football eventually became a national phenomenon. Football's increasing popularity is usually traced to the 1958 NFL Championship Game, a contest that aired on national television and has been dubbed the "Greatest Game Ever Played".

A rival league to the NFL, the American Football League (AFL), began play in 1960; the pressure it put on the senior league led to a merger between the two leagues and the creation of the Super Bowl, which has become the most watched television event in the United States on an annual basis.

Selected picture

Official photograph of 1899 University of Michigan football team
Credit: Fred Rentschler

Official photograph of 1899 University of Michigan Wolverines football team

Selected athlete

Jacques Plante in 1948 with the Citadelles Québec Hockey Team
Joseph Jacques Omer Plante (January 17, 1929 – February 27, 1986) was a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender. During a career lasting from 1947–1975, he was considered to be one of the most important innovators in hockey. He played for the Montreal Canadiens from 1953 to 1963; during his tenure, the team won the Stanley Cup six times, including five consecutive wins.

Plante retired in 1965 but was persuaded to return to the National Hockey League to play for the expansion St. Louis Blues in 1968. He was later traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1970 and to the Boston Bruins in 1973. He joined the World Hockey Association as coach and general manager for the Quebec Nordiques in 1973–74. He then played goal for the Edmonton Oilers in 1974–75, ending his professional career with that team. Plante also wrote extensively on hockey. He wrote hockey columns starting early in his career and was published in La Voix de Shawinigan, Le Samedi, and Sport Magazine. He alienated local reporters by writing a column for the local paper during his time as coach of the Quebec Nordiques. His seminal work, Goaltending, was published in 1972 in English, with the French edition (entitled Devant le filet) published in 1973. His reputation as a teacher spread, and he traveled to Sweden in 1972 at the invitation of the Swedish Hockey Federation, teaching the top goaltenders in the country and their coaches and trainers.

Plante was the first NHL goaltender to wear a goaltender mask in regulation play on a regular basis. He developed and tested many versions of the mask (including the forerunner of today's mask/helmet combination) with the assistance of other experts. Plante was the first NHL goaltender to regularly play the puck outside his crease in support of his team's defencemen, and he often instructed his teammates from behind the play.

Plante was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978, was chosen as the goaltender of the Canadiens' "dream team" in 1985, and was inducted into the Quebec Sports Pantheon in 1994. The Montreal Canadiens retired Plante's jersey, #1, the following year.

Selected team

Liverpool players before a Europa League qualifying match
Liverpool Football Club is an English Premier League football club based in Liverpool. The club has won eighteen League titles, seven FA Cups and a record eight League Cups. Liverpool has won more European titles than any other English club, having won five European Cups, three UEFA Cups and three UEFA Super Cups. Liverpool has long-standing rivalries with neighbours Everton and with Manchester United. The club's anthem is "You'll Never Walk Alone".

Liverpool was founded in 1892 and joined the Football League the following year. The club has played at Anfield since its formation. Liverpool reached its first FA Cup Final in 1914, losing 1–0 to Burnley It won consecutive League championships in 1922 and 1923, but did not win another trophy until the 1946–47 season, when the club won the First Division for a fifth time. The club was relegated to the Second Division in the 1953–54 season. The club was promoted back into the First Division in 1962 and won it in 1964, for the first time in 17 years. In 1965, the club won its first FA Cup. In 1966, the club won the First Division but lost to Borussia Dortmund in the European Cup Winners' Cup final. Liverpool won both the League and the UEFA Cup during the 1972–73 season, and the FA Cup again a year later. The most successful period in Liverpool's history was the 1970s and '80s when Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley led the club to eleven league titles and seven European trophies.

The club's supporters have been involved in two major tragedies. The first was the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985 in which charging Liverpool fans caused a wall to collapse, killing 39 Juventus supporters. In the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, 96 Liverpool supporters lost their lives in a crush against perimeter fencing. The incident remains the worst stadium-related disaster in British history and one of the world's worst football disasters.

Selected quote

Alexander Ovechkin in 2008
You can't just stand and say to yourself, 'OK, right now I'm the best. That's it. No more working.' If you're a good player you have to be working harder and harder. This is not just my goal, it's my team goal. We can improve more and we can probably be even better than last year. My dream is to be the best.     
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Westpac Stadium in 2005

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