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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 includes all forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organised participation, at least in part 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" or "draw", in which there is no single winner; 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.

Selected article

The logo of the Olympic games
The modern Olympic Games are a major international event featuring summer and winter sports in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered to be the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Games are currently held biennially, with Summer and Winter Olympic Games alternating, meaning they each occur every four years. Their creation was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894. The IOC has since become the governing body of the Olympic Movement, with the Olympic Charter defining its structure and authority.

The evolution of the Olympic Movement during the 20th and 21st centuries has resulted in several changes to the Olympic Games. Some of these adjustments include the creation of the Winter Games for ice and winter sports, the Paralympic Games for athletes with a disability, and the Youth Olympic Games for teenage athletes. The IOC has had to adapt to the varying economic, political, and technological realities of the 20th century. As a result, the Olympics shifted away from pure amateurism, as envisioned by Coubertin, to allow participation of professional athletes. The growing importance of the mass media created the issue of corporate sponsorship and commercialization of the Games. World wars led to the cancellation of the 1916, 1940, and 1944 Games. Large boycotts during the Cold War limited participation in the 1980 and 1984 Games.

Over 13,000 athletes compete at the Summer and Winter Olympics in 33 different sports and nearly 400 events. The Games have grown in scale to the point that nearly every nation is represented. Such growth has created numerous challenges, including boycotts, doping, bribery, and terrorism. The Games also constitute an opportunity for the host city and country to showcase themselves to the world.

Selected image

A surfer performing a gash, or very sharp turn
Credit: Brocken Inaglory

A surfer performing a gash, or very sharp turn, in the waters off of Santa Cruz, California

Selected athlete

Jackie Robinson swinging a bat in a Dodgers uniform
Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was an American baseball player who became the first black Major League Baseball (MLB) player of the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

As the first black man to play in the major leagues since the 1880s, he was instrumental in bringing an end to racial segregation in professional baseball, which had relegated black players to the Negro leagues for six decades. Signs of racial discrimination in professional sports continued to decline over the latter half of the twentieth century. The example of his character and unquestionable talent challenged the traditional basis of segregation, which then marked many other aspects of American life, and contributed significantly to the Civil Rights Movement.

In addition to his cultural impact, Robinson had an exceptional baseball career. Over ten seasons, he played in six World Series and contributed to the Dodgers' 1955 World Championship. He was selected for six consecutive All-Star Games from 1949 to 1954, was the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, and won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949—the first black player so honored.

Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. In 1997, Major League Baseball "universally" retired his uniform number, 42, across all major league teams; the first pro athlete in any sport to be so honored. Since that time, Major League Baseball has adopted a new annual tradition, "Jackie Robinson Day," in which all players on all teams wear #42.

Robinson was also known for his pursuits outside the baseball diamond. He was the first black television analyst in Major League Baseball, and the first black vice-president of a major American corporation. In the 1960s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank, an African-American-owned financial institution based in Harlem, New York. In recognition of his achievements on and off the field, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

Selected team

2010 NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers with President Barack Obama
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Lakers play their home games at Staples Center. The Lakers are one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA, and have won 16 championships.

The franchise began with the 1947 purchase of a disbanded team, the Detroit Gems of the NBL. The new team began playing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, calling themselves the Lakers in honor of the state's nickname, "Land of 10,000 Lakes". The Lakers won five championships in Minneapolis, propelled by center George Mikan. After struggling financially in the late 1950s following Mikan's retirement, they relocated to Los Angeles before the 1960–61 season.

Led by Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, Los Angeles made the NBA Finals six times in the 1960s, but lost each series to the Boston Celtics, beginning their long and storied rivalry. In 1968, the Lakers acquired four time MVP Wilt Chamberlain to play center, and after losing in the Finals in 1969 and 1970, they won their sixth NBA title—and first in Los Angeles—in 1972, led by new head coach Bill Sharman.

The 1980s Lakers were nicknamed "Showtime" due to their Magic Johnson-led fast break-offense, and won five championships in a nine-year span, including their first ever Finals championship against the Celtics in 1985. The team struggled in the early 1990s before acquiring Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant in 1996. Led by O'Neal, Bryant, and Hall of Fame coach, Phil Jackson, Los Angeles won three consecutive titles between 2000 to 2002, securing the franchise its second "three-peat".

The Lakers hold the record for NBA's longest winning streak (33), set during the 1971–72 season, it is also the longest of any team in American professional sports. Sixteen Hall of Famers have played for Los Angeles, while four have coached the team.

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.     

Did you know...

Teigan Van Roosmalen in 2012

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Volleyball match between the Russian and Italian national teams

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