Sport in South America
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There are a wide range of sports played in the continent of South America, with football being the most popular, while baseball is the most popular in Venezuela. Other popular sports include basketball, rugby union, tennis, golf, volleyball, hockey, beach volleyball, and motorsports. South America will hold its first Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. Prior to this, major cities Brazil will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
South America and Europe share the supremacy over the sport, as all national team winners in FIFA World Cup history and all winning teams at the FIFA Club World Cup have came from these two continents. Brazil detains the world record at the FIFA World Cup with five titles in total. Argentina and Uruguay have two titles each. So far four South American nations have hosted the tournament including its first edition in Uruguay (1930). The other three were Brazil (1950), Chile (1962), and Argentina (1978). Brazil was the host country for the second time in 2014.
South America is home to the longest running international Football tournament; Copa América, which has been regularly contested since 1916. Uruguay have won the Copa America a record 15 times, beating hosts Argentina in 2011 to reach 15 titles (they were previously equal on 14 titles each during the 2011 Copa America). The continent has produced many of the most famous and most talented players including Diego Maradona,Gabriel Batistuta, Pelé, Alfredo Di Stéfano, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaká, Teófilo Cubillas, César Cueto, Enzo Francescoli, Arsenio Erico, Alberto Spencer, Carlos Valderrama, Ivan Zamorano, Elias Figueroa, Alexis Sánchez, Antonio Valencia, Juan Arango, Neymar, Radamel Falcao, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.
Basketball is particularly popular in South America. One of the most important achievements was the Argentina gold medal in Men's Basketball at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Argentina won the World Championship in 1950. In Brazil, basketball became popular with the Brazilian national basketball team winning the World Championship two times. The women's basketball team is also one of the best teams in the world having won the World Championship of 1994 and with two players in the Hall of Fame, Hortencia and Magic Paula. In Venezuela and Uruguay, basketball is widely played.
Volleyball is very popular in Brazil, the male and female already won Olympic gold medals. The women's volleyball in Peru, already had a standout in the '80s, where they won a silver medal olympic. Today the sport is growing in Argentina and Venezuela.
South America have several drivers who won the Formula One championship multiple times, including five-time champion Juan Fangio of Argentina, and Brazilian drivers Emerson Fittipaldi (2 titles), Nelson Piquet (3 titles), and Ayrton Senna (3 titles). Brazil has hosted the Brazilian Grand Prix every year since 1973 and Argentina has hosted Formula One on 21 occasions. The Dakar Rally is also hosted by South America since 2009.
Baseball is the most popular sport in Venezuela. A wide list of players from Venezuela are in the major leagues in the United States. Venezuela is the only country in this region to participate in the World Baseball Classic and the Caribbean Series. In other countries, like Colombia, baseball has been gaining popularity recently.
Rugby union is becoming popular in South America, following the recent successes of Argentina in recent Rugby World Cup competitions. The popularity of the game has spread across the continent. Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, and Peru all have Rugby Federations.
South America has produced a number of talented tennis players such as four-time Grand Slam winner Guillermo Vilas, three-time French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten, US Open winner Gabriela Sabatini, French Open winners Gastón Gaudio and Andrés Gómez, 2009 US Open winner Juan Martín del Potro, and double Olympic Gold medalist Nicolás Massú. Marcelo Ríos was the first Latin American ranked No. 1 in the ATP rankings.
Jai Alai or Basque pelota is played in many parts of South America.Although this sport is mostly played in Spain and France, there are federations of Basque ball in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Due to the origin of the game, there are many good players who are Basques, either natives or from the Basque diaspora.
Cricket is mostly played in the Southern Cone, especially in areas settled by English people. Although a number of South American nations have teams, none of them are major, except for the Guyana national cricket team, which plays in inter-regional competitions in the Caribbean. Guyana is also an independent nation represented by the West Indies cricket team, the only team in the Americas with Test status.