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 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

Juuso Pykälistö of Finland in his Peugeot 206 WRC during the 2003 Swedish Rally, part of the World Rally Championship
Credit: Christopher Batt

Juuso Pykälistö of Finland in his Peugeot 206 WRC during the 2003 Swedish Rally, part of the World Rally Championship

Selected athlete

Yao Ming in a Huston Rockets jersey
Yao Ming (born September 12, 1980 in Shanghai) is a retired Chinese professional basketball player who last played for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). At the time of his final season, he was the tallest active player in the NBA, at 2.29 m (7 ft 6 in). One of China's best-known athletes, Yao had sponsorships with several major companies.

Yao, who was born in Shanghai, started playing for the Shanghai Sharks as a teenager, and played on their senior team for five years in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), winning a championship in his final year. After negotiating with the CBA and the Sharks to secure his release, Yao was selected by the Houston Rockets as the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, becoming the first international player ever to be selected first overall without having previously played U.S. college basketball. Yao was selected to start for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game eight times, and was named to the All-NBA Team five times. He reached the NBA Playoffs four times, and the Rockets won a first-round series in the 2009 postseason, their first playoff series victory since 1997.

However, in his final six seasons, Yao missed 250 regular-season games due to foot and ankle injuries. He retired in 2011, citing his injuries. Shaquille O'Neal said Yao "was very agile. He could play inside, he could play outside, and if he didn't have those injuries he could've been up there in the top five centers to ever play the game."

Yao was nominated by a member of the Chinese media for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game, but Yao felt it was too soon and requested that the Hall of Fame delay consideration of the nomination. His rookie year in the NBA was the subject of a documentary film, The Year of the Yao, and he co-wrote, along with NBA analyst Ric Bucher, an autobiography titled Yao: A Life in Two Worlds.

Selected team

New Jersey Devils forward Travis Zajac (#19, foreground) instructs Nick Palmieri (#32), Mark Fayne (#34), and Ilya Kovalchuk (#17) prior to faceoff
The New Jersey Devils are a professional ice hockey team based in Newark, New Jersey, United States. They are members of the Atlantic Division. The club was founded in Kansas City, Missouri as the Kansas City Scouts in 1974, moved to Denver, Colorado as the Colorado Rockies after only two seasons, and then settled in New Jersey in 1982.

The franchise had been poor to mediocre in the years before moving to New Jersey. The pattern continued in its first five years in New Jersey; they failed to make the playoffs and never finished higher than fifth in their division. However, under current president and general manager Lou Lamoriello, the Devils have made the playoffs all but three times between 1988 and 2012, including thirteen berths in a row from 1997 to 2010. They finished with a winning record every year from 1992–93 to 2009–10, tied with the Detroit Red Wings as the longest such streak of any team in America's four major sports. They have qualified for five Stanley Cup Finals in their history, winning in 1994–95, 1999–00 and 2002–03.

For their first 25 seasons in New Jersey, the Devils were based in East Rutherford and played their home games at Brendan Byrne Arena/Continental Airlines Arena. Prior to the 2007–08 season, the Devils relocated to Newark to play their home games at the newly-constructed Prudential Center.

The Devils have a rivalry with their cross-Hudson River neighbor, the New York Rangers, as well as a rivalry with the Philadelphia Flyers. Since the division's creation in 1993, the Devils have won the Atlantic Division season title nine times, most recently in the 2009–10 season.

Selected quote

Muhammad Ali in 1967
Champions aren't made in gyms, champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.     
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