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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

Program cover from the game between the Jets and Raiders
The Heidi Game or Heidi Bowl was an American football game played on November 17, 1968. The home team, the Oakland Raiders, defeated the New York Jets, 43–32. The game is remembered for its exciting finish, as Oakland scored two touchdowns in the final minute to overcome a 32–29 New York lead. The Heidi Game obtained its name because the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) controversially broke away from the game with the Jets still winning to air the television film Heidi at 7 p.m. in the Eastern Time Zone.

In the late 1960s, few professional football games took longer than two and a half hours to play, and the Jets–Raiders three-hour television time slot was thought to be adequate. A high-scoring contest, together with a number of injuries and penalties for the two bitter American Football League rivals, caused the game to run long. NBC executives had ordered that Heidi must begin on time, but given the exciting game, they decided to postpone the start of the film and continue football coverage. As 7 p.m. approached, many members of the public called NBC to inquire about the schedule, to complain or opine, jamming NBC's switchboards. As NBC executives were trying to call the same switchboards to implement their decision, the change could not be communicated, and Heidi began as scheduled. The movie preempted the final moments of the game in the eastern half of the country, to the outrage of viewers who missed two Oakland touchdowns that turned the game around.

The Heidi Game led to a change in the way professional football is shown on network television; games are shown to their conclusion before evening programming begins. Special telephones were also installed, with a connection to a different telephone exchange from other network phones. In 1997, the Heidi Game was voted the most memorable regular season game in pro football history.

Selected image

A player slides foot first into a baseball base, kicking up dirt with his leg and with an arm he has on the ground
Credit: National Photo Company

Ty Cobb sliding into third base for a triple in a baseball game

Selected athlete

Zersenay at the 2009 World Championships
Zersenay Tadese (born 8 February 1982) is an Eritrean long-distance track, and road running athlete. He currently holds the men's half marathon world record. His bronze medal in the 10,000 metres at the 2004 Athens Olympics made him the first ever Eritrean Olympic medallist, and his 20 km title at the 2006 IAAF World Road Running Championships also made him the country's first athlete to win at a world championship event. He does not use a sprint finish to win races: his strategy relies upon a combination of efficient running and fast pace setting.

He became interested in cycling in his teenage years and, after winning a number of races, he set his sights upon becoming a professional cyclist in Europe. He was a relative late-comer to competitive running: in his late teens, scouts from a local athletics club suggested that his cycling stamina might translate to running and invited him to compete. He won the race and was spurred on by the victory to start taking the sport seriously and focus on running.

Zersenay has found most of his success over the half marathon distance, with four consecutive victories in the World Half Marathon Championships from 2006 to 2009 & in 2012, and a world record at the Lisbon Half Marathon in 2010. He has also excelled in cross country running, winning a gold, one silver, and two bronze medals in the long distance race over the last five IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

In 2009 Zersenay became only the second man (after Paul Tergat) to win three World Championship medals over three different surfaces in the same year: winning World Cross Country bronze, 10,000 metres World Championship silver on the track, and gold in road running at the World Half Marathon Championships. He is a popular public figure in his home country; 2500 guests attended his wedding to Merhawit Solomon, which was broadcast live on Eritrean television. His brother, Kidane Tadese, is also a professional distance runner.

Selected team

The German women's national team in 2012
The Germany women's national football team represents Germany in international women's association football and is directed by the German Football Association (DFB). Initially called "West Germany" in informal English, the team played its first international match in 1982. After German reunification in 1990, the DFB squad remained the national team of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The German national team is one of the most successful in women's football. They are two-time world champions, having won the 2003 and 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. Germany is the only nation to have won both the men's and the women's World Cup. The team has won seven of the ten UEFA Women's Championships, claiming five titles in a row. Germany has won three bronze medals at the Women's Olympic Football Tournament, finishing third in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Birgit Prinz holds the record for most appearances and is the team's all-time leading goalscorer. Prinz has also set international records; she has received the FIFA World Player of the Year award three times and is the joint overall top goalscorer at the Women's World Cup.

Women's football was long met with scepticism in Germany, and official matches were banned by the DFB until 1970. But the women's national team has grown in popularity since winning the World Cup in 2003, when it was also chosen as Germany's Sports Team of the Year. Silvia Neid has been the team's head coach since 2005, succeeding Tina Theune after nine years as her assistant. As of December 2012, Germany is ranked No. 2 in the FIFA Women's World Rankings, behind only the United States.

Selected quote

1919 painting of George Harris
That cricket is going to stay in India there cannot be a shadow of a doubt; it has taken hold all over the country, and chokras can be seen playing in every village with any sort of old bat and ball that they can lay hands on. I should hope that it will do something to get over any racial antipathy; for instance, it must, I think, bring the several races together more and more, in a spirit of harmony that should be the spirit in which cricket is played. Unquestionably, it arouses excitement and enthusiasm, and extreme ambition that one's own side should succeed, but it also ought to lead to friendliness, and that is what is needed in India. East will always be East, and West, West, but the crease is not a very broad line of demarcation – so narrow, indeed, that it ought to help bring about friendly relations.     

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Bobby Pearce in 1928

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Athletes march during the opening ceremony of the 2011 Southeast Asian Games

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