Sports in Great Britain, the USA and Russia
Sports in Great
Britain, the USA and Russia
The British like sport very much.
They are fond of all kinds of sports. Many sports were invented in Great
Britain and then spread throughout the world. Sports became popular long ago.
In the 19-th century sport was organised at public schools so that young people
could develop their physical abilities. But shortly afterwards the idea was
borrowed by businessmen who started to organise football and other sports for
their workers. From the 1960s commercial companies began to sponsor different
British sports and activities. The national British sports are: football, golf,
cricket, tennis, racing, darts. Like everyone else the British adore football.
Moreover, the Englishmen invented it.
Nobody can say for sure when people
started playing football on the British Isles. It is important however, that
current uniform rules of the game were settled only in the 19-th century. At
that time there was a great debate, whether one could use his hand to kick the
ball or not. Those who wanted to permit the players to carry the ball with
their hands united to form rugby. Rugby is played by teams of 15 men with an
oval ball. Those who insisted on playing with feet and head only had the
majority and that was the beginning of football as everybody knows it today. In
Great Britain and more often in the United States football is called soccer to
distinguish the game from American football, the game that has much in common
Soccer, played almost in all
countries, remains one of the most popular games in Great Britain. Each team
consists of field players and one goalkeeper. Only the goalkeeper is permitted
to take the ball into his hands. The game lasts for 90 minutes with a 15 minute
break between two halves 45 minutes each. Most British towns and cities have a
football team. Every year, each team in England plays in the Football
Association competition. The two best teams play in the Cup Final at Wembley
Stadium in London. It is one of the biggest sporting events of the year.
Another traditional British game is
cricket. Unlike football cricket is not widely spread outside the British
Isles. Cricket is a summer game, it is played in schools, colleges,
universities. Cricket is a very long and a very slow game. There are two teams.
Each team consists of eleven men. The "bowler" throws the ball, and a
"batsman" hits it with his bat.
Tennis is also very popular in
Britain. Two different games that do not have much in common bear the name of
tennis - lawn tennis and table tennis. Both games first appeared in England,
but today the British prefer lawn tennis to table tennis. Every summer, in
June, the biggest tournament in the world takes place at Wimbledon. This world
centre of lawn tennis is located in a suburb of London. Millions of people
watch the Wimbledon Championship on TV. Table tennis originated in England in
1880. But the British players are not lucky in table tennis international
Englishmen like all kinds of racing.
Horseracing, motorcar racing, boat racing, dog-racing, donkey racing are very
popular in England. The most famous boat racing in England is between Oxford
and Cambridge. It first started in 1820 and has been held almost every spring
since 1836. A lot of people come to watch this competition between England's
Americans are interested in
different sports and activities. The major American sports are ice hockey,
baseball, American football and basketball. The large choice of sports in
America can be explained by the variety and size of the country, its different
climates and the people's love of competitions of any type. The seasons of the
"four major sports" often overlap.
Baseball is the most popular summer
sport in America. But the first baseball games start in warm, sunny regions
like Florida and Arizona in winter. The first American baseball match was held
in 1839 in New York. There is an opinion that baseball comes from a much older
game, played in Europe for many years. To play baseball, two teams of nine
players are needed. The "pitcher" throws the ball, and the
"batter" hits it with a bat. Americans start playing baseball young.
There are "leagues" which children of eight can join. The top players
become big stars.
Americans play most international
sports, but they do not play football in the same way as the rest of the world.
American football is a game that does not have much in common with soccer. The
players can run with a ball, touch and push each other. The field is not
traditional, and even the shape of the ball is different. American football
players wear helmets on their heads, because the game is very dangerous.
American football teams have eleven players.
Basketball was invented in the
United States. A schoolteacher designed the rules for a game that his students
could play indoors. There are only five players in a basketball team. Usually
basketball players are very tall and they show that basketball can be exciting.
Ice hockey is America's favourite winter game. It is very fast. It can be
dangerous and its players wear helmets too. Other sports and activities attract
millions of participants and spectators in the USA. These are swimming, tennis,
marathons, bowling, crosscountry skiing, skating, and badminton. Now triathlon
is one of the most popular sports in the USA. Ч comprises swimming, bicycle racing and long-distance
Many sports are popular in Russia.
There are many stadiums and public sports facilities here. Numerous national
and international matches and competitions are regularly held in our country.
They attract large numbers of fans. Most of the important games are shown on
TV. Football is believed to be Russia's favourite sport in summer, while many
young people play ice hockey in winter. Our country has been successful in
different sports, especially in ice hockey. During the Olympic Games the Russian
athletes prove the reputation of Russia as world's leading nation in sports.
The national team of Russia has many times won the World Hockey Championships.
In Russia much attention is paid to
organised sports and this shouldn't overshadow the many sporting activities
which are part of daily Russian life. School children spend their free time
playing football, basketball and other sports. In winter many Russians go in
for skiing and skating. There are many skating rinks in the cities.
- Is sport popular in your country?
- Today there is widespread interest
in sport in Russia.
- What games do you play at school?
- -During PT classes pupils play
football, basketball, volleyball. Pupils also do many exercises that help them
to keep fit. In winter schools organise skiing competitions.
- What games are popular in Russia?
- Football, ice hockey and
volleyball are sure to be the most popular games in Russia. A lot of fans go to
the stadium to support their teams. When it is not possible to go to the
stadium to support the favourite team people can watch competitions on TV.
Television has made sports available to all. The emphasis on sports is evident
in evening news programmes.
- What football teams are popular in
- There are many good football teams
in Russia. Moscow "Spartak" is the strongest and the most popular
team in Russia. Thousands of "Spartak" supporters go to the stadium
to see their team play. As for me, I prefer another Moscow team,
"Locomotive." There are good players in "Loco" and this team
has a great potential. I am sure that soon "Loco" will take the place
of "Spartak" as the nation's champion.
- What British football teams do you
- In Great Britain there are four
football championships that are held separately: in England, Scotland, Wales
and Northern Ireland. The best players are in England. Many football players
from continental Europe come to play for English teams. I guess that today the
strongest football team on the British Isles is Manchester "United",
although London "Arsenal" and "Chelsea" as well as
Blackburn "Rovers" are fearful rivals. Scotland is noted for its
- Is football popular in the United
- Yes, it is. Football is extremely
popular in the United States, but they have different rules of the game. The
fact is that in the United States when they say football they mean American
football, while European football is usually referred to as soccer. In the
recent years soccer is gaining its popularity in the United States as well. In
1994 World Football Championship took place in the United States. Nevertheless
in the United States soccer is especially popular among girls, while boys
prefer sports that are more traditional for their country - American football,
baseball and basketball.
- Are you keen on sport?
- Although sport plays an important
role in my life, I do not go in for it professionally. My choice of the sports
depends upon the season. In summer I like to swim in the lakes and rivers and
in winter I like to skate. Skating is a widespread activity among my friends.
There are many skating rinks in our town. As for jogging I do it every morning
all year round.
- Is sport important for your
- Yes, it is. Our family is doing
sports on the amateur level. My father is an avid chess player. My mother likes
walking in the parks. My sister prefers to get fit at home. She has a lot of
books and video-cassettes with instructions how to do home exercise programmes.
Although I do not go in for sports, I am fond of such activities that allow me
to keep fit at home. I prefer jogging. We also like to watch football,
ice-hockey and tennis matches on TV.
- What do American school and
colleges use sports activities far?
- American schools and colleges use
sports activities as a way of teaching social values. Among these are teamwork
and sportsmanship. The average high school offers its students a great variety
of sports, including rowing, wrestling, tennis and golf. That is why Americans
have done well in many kinds of sports.
- What is regarded as an ideal in
- Being intelligent and being good
in sports are regarded as an ideal. There are many colleges that have excellent
academic reputation and are also good in sports.
- What worries professional American
- Today sport becomes more and more
professional. But it is possible to show high results only at a certain age.
Many sportsmen have to terminate their professional career in their thirties.
At present professional athletes are concerned with getting a good education
that will allow them to find good jobs when their playing days are over.
- Are there special
"universities" for sports in the USA?
- There are no separate
"universities" for sports in the USA. Everyone in America can
participate in sports activities. Public sports facilities have always been
available in great number for participants.
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