Sport (British English) or sports (American English) includes all forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organised participation, 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 game; 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.
, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact
team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes
of rugby football
, it is based on running with the ball in hand. It is played with an oval-shaped ball
with a maximum width and length of 30 centimetres (12 in) and 62 centimetres (24 in) respectively, and is played on a field up to 100 metres (330 ft) long and 70 metres (230 ft) wide with H-shaped goal posts on each goal line. Historically an amateur sport, in 1995 the International Rugby Board
(IRB) removed restrictions on payments to players, making the game openly professional at the highest level for the first time.
The IRB has been the governing body for rugby union since its formation in 1886. Rugby union spread from the Home Nations of Great Britain and Ireland, and was absorbed by many of the countries associated with the British Empire. Early exponents of the sport included Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Countries that have adopted rugby union as their de facto national sport include Fiji, Georgia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga and Wales. Rugby union is played in over 100 countries across six continents and as of November 2010 118 unions were members of the IRB.
The Rugby World Cup, first held in 1987, takes place every four years, with the winner of the tournament receiving the Webb Ellis Cup. The Six Nations Championship in Europe and The Rugby Championship in the Southern Hemisphere (the latter replacing the Tri Nations) are major international competitions held annually. Major domestic competitions include the Top 14 in France, the English Premiership in England, the Currie Cup in South Africa, and the ITM Cup in New Zealand. Other transnational competitions include the Pro14, involving Irish, Italian, Scottish, South African and Welsh teams; The Rugby Championship, involving Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa; and the Heineken Cup, involving the top European teams from their respective domestic competitions.
[[File:|center|x300px|Laura Vihervä participating in an aerobic gymnastics competition]]
Laura Vihervä participating in an aerobic gymnastics competition
Anastasia Valeryevna "Nastia" Liukin
(born October 30, 1989) is a retired American artistic gymnast
. She is the 2008 Olympic individual all-around
Champion, the 2005 and 2007 World Champion
on the balance beam
, and the 2005 World Champion on the uneven bars
. With nine World Championships medals, seven of them individual, as of 2012 Liukin is tied with for the having the second-highest tally of World Championship medals. Liukin has also tied the record as the American gymnast having won the most medals in a single non-boycotted Olympic Games.
The daughter of two former Soviet champion gymnasts, Olympic gold medalist Valeri Liukin - the first man to do a triple backflip - and World Champion rhythmic gymnast Anna Kotchneva, Nastia Liukin was born in Moscow and moved to the United States as a young child. She began gymnastics after spending time in the gym while her parents coached. Liukin is coached by her father at the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy, her family's gymnastics club in Frisco, Texas.
Liukin became a member of the U.S. junior national team when she was 12 years old and won the National all-around title at the age of 13. She was the all-around silver medalist at the 2003 Pan American Games. Since 2005, Liukin has been a key member of the U.S. senior team. She is a four-time all-around U.S. National Champion, winning twice as a junior and twice as a senior. She has been the U.S. senior National Champion on the uneven bars since 2005. Liukin has represented the United States at three World Championships, the 2003 and 2007 Pan American Games, and the 2006 and 2008 Pacific Rim Championships. In October 2011, Liukin announced that she was returning to the sport of gymnastics with the hopes of making the 2012 Olympic team. She did not make the team, and instead went to London as the athlete representative for the Federation of International Gymnasts (FIG).
Did you know...
In this month
- November 3, 1978 – The inaugural Southern Cross Games, now known as the South American Games, begins in La Paz, Bolivia
- November 16, 1991 – The first game is played in the inaugural FIFA Women's World Cup (2011 match pictured), between Norway and Cup hosts China PR
- November 20, 1965 – The inaugural Vanier Cup Canadian Interuniversity Sport football championship game is played
- November 24, 1973 – The first Central American Games opens in Guatemala City, Guatemala
- November 29, 1913 – Fédération Internationale d'Escrime, the governing body for Olympic fencing, is founded
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