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 2016, Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Prior to this, major cities Brazil will host the 20th edition of the Football Championship in 2014.

Fútbol South America shares with Europe 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 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 hosted the tournament including its first edition in Uruguay (1930). The other three were Brazil (1950), Chile (1962), and Argentina (1978). Brazil is also set to be a 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, 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, and Lionel Messi.


Basketball is particularly popular in South America, one of the most important achievements was Argentina gold medal in the Men's Basketball at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Also they won the World Championship in 1950.

In Brazil, basketball used to be very 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, it won the World Championship of 1994 and with two players at the Hall of Fame, Hortencia and Magic Paula. In Venezuela and Uruguay, basketball is widely played too.


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[edit]

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.[1]


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 No. 1 in the ATP rankings.

Jai Alai[edit]

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 also 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.[2]


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.

See also: Argentina national cricket team, Brazil national cricket team, Falkland Islands cricket team, Uruguay national 1-7 team and Chile national cricket team.


Polo is popular in some parts of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay