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.

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Four time winner Věra Čáslavská, center, in 1967
Sportsperson of the Year was a prize awarded annually to the best athletes of Czechoslovakia from 1959 to 1992 by the Club of Czechoslovak Sports Journalists. The first winner was white-water canoer Vladimír Jirásek. From 1961 the prize was also given to the best sports team; the first team recipient was the Czechoslovakia national ice hockey team. Since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the prize has continued in both successor countries as the Sportsperson of the Year of the Czech Republic and the Sportsperson of the Year of Slovakia.

The individual prize was usually awarded to a single sportsperson, but on two occasions, two people received it – Eva Romanová and Pavel Roman (ice dancers) in 1962, and the Pospíšil brothers (cycle-ball players) in 1979. The prize was given to 28 different athletes, 22 men and 6 women, in 23 sports disciplines. Gymnast Věra Čáslavská won the prize four times, the most of any sportsperson. She was also the only one to have received it in three consecutive years (from 1966 to 1968). Six people were awarded the prize more than once.

The team prize was won by teams in 12 sport disciplines; all winners but one were national teams. The only time members of a sports club team were awarded the Sportsperson of the Year was the Dukla Prague handball team, in 1963. Ice hockey teams were given the award six times – most of all disciplines. Ice hockey goaltender Josef Mikoláš was the only person who won both the individual and the team prize (as a member of the Czechoslovakia national ice hockey team in 1961). Men's teams received the prize 20 times, and women's teams won it 3 times. From 1970 to 1977, and in 1979, the team prize was not awarded. The team award was won back to back twice, by the men's national ice hockey team in 1968 and 1869, and by the men's national ski-relay team in 1988 and 1989.

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Selected athlete

Terry Fox during his marathon in 1980
Terrance Stanley "Terry" Fox CC OD, (July 28, 1958 – June 28, 1981) was a Canadian humanitarian, athlete, and cancer research activist. In 1980, with one leg having been amputated, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Although the spread of his cancer eventually forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his efforts resulted in a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, is now the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research.

Fox was a distance runner and basketball player for his Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, high school and Simon Fraser University. His right leg was amputated in 1977 after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, though he continued to run using an artificial leg. He also played wheelchair basketball in Vancouver, winning three national championships. In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research. Fox hoped to raise one dollar for each of Canada's 24 million people. He began with little fanfare from St. John's, Newfoundland, in April and ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day. Fox had become a national star by the time he reached Ontario. He was forced to end his run outside of Thunder Bay when the cancer spread to his lungs. His hopes of overcoming the disease and completing his marathon ended when he died nine months later.

Fox was the youngest person ever named a Companion of the Order of Canada. He won the 1980 Lou Marsh Award as the nation's top sportsman and was named Canada's Newsmaker of the Year in both 1980 and 1981. Considered a national hero, he has had many buildings, roads and parks named in his honour across the country.

Selected team

Toronto Raptors players in 2006
The Toronto Raptors are a professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The team was established in 1995, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada. When the Grizzlies relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, to become the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001, the Raptors became the only Canadian team in the NBA. They originally played their home games at the SkyDome, before moving to the Air Canada Centre in 1999.

Like most expansion teams, the Raptors struggled in their early years, but after the acquisition of Vince Carter through a draft day trade in 1998, the team set league attendance records and made the NBA Playoffs in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Carter was instrumental in leading the team to a franchise high 47 wins and their first playoff series win in 2001, where they advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. During the 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons, they failed to make significant progress and he was traded in 2004 to the New Jersey Nets. After Carter left, Chris Bosh emerged as the team leader, but they continued to struggle. However, with the appointment of Bryan Colangelo as Raptors President and General Manager, the first overall NBA draft selection of Andrea Bargnani, and a revamp of the roster for the 2006–07 season, they qualified for their first playoff berth in five years and captured the Atlantic Division title with 47 wins. In the 2007–08 season, they advanced to the playoffs again but failed to make the playoffs in the following season. Although Colangelo overhauled the team in an effort to keep Bosh after the end of his contract, Bosh signed with the Miami Heat in July 2010, ushering in a new era for the Raptors with Bargnani becoming the new face of the franchise.

Selected quote

Nelson Mandela in 2000
Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.     

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