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Sporting Events

As it is in America, sports are high on the list of entertainment and participation for Europeans. Professional sports, like golf and tennis can be identical to those in the states. However, NASCAR style auto racing is not, as Europeans enjoy Formula 1 racing more. Then there is American football versus, well the rest of the world calls Football, our soccer. In addition there are sports more unique to Europe as listed below.

Football…

(Soccer)

The world sport by far is Fütbol (Soccer) and if you were ask its home , is Europe. To Europeans, football is a religion, it is followed by hoards of devotee’s, as it is in most of the world. Fanatical fans have sometimes given the sport a bad name because matches become so intense between rival teams and countries. Recently racism has been a problem with neo-racist groups stirring trouble with a message of nationalism against non-white players. If you’re into sports why not try to take in a match and watch the greatest players from all over the world compete.

FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) is the worlds governing body locate in Zurich, Switzerland. Every four years FIFA sponsors and runs the World Cup which is the largest watched sporting event on the face on the earth. It pits 32 national teams against each other. Germany won the 2014 World Cup Tournament in Brazil and the next tournament will be 2018 in Russia. They also over see six football associations across the globe including Europe’s association. ➾ The UEFA (The Union of European Football Associations) governs leagues in nine European countries. Based on coefficients the 1-4 finishers in each league could go on to compete in the Champions League for the title. The winner of that title is like the winner of the Super Bowl or World Series. Every four years between the World Cup Tournament UEFA holds the Euro Cup which pits national country teams against each other just like the World Cup but, only European countries. The next Euro Cup is 2016 and will be held in France. The UEFA also manages the Women’s leagues and the Europa league which is like our minor league baseball league. In addition they over see competitive clubs from youth on up all over Europe. Most Europeans play football and other sports in clubs, not in schools like in the US.

The Professional Leagues…

Every country has their own association, or federation, that runs professional and amateur leagues that are within the ➾ UEFA confederation. These are the top ➾ UEFA rate countries in Europe with the top talent and fan following. Current rankings for 2020 are displayed after the country’s name. Each country has different tiers of leagues that reflect the better teams in division I or A class l and then lower tier leagues beneath it. The winning team of a division B tier league can be promoted the following season to the division A tier league. The last place finisher in division A can be relocated to the division B for the next season.

The Olympic Games…

Europe is also the home of the Olympics, ancient and modern. Europe has hosted more modern Olympic games than any other continent and the ICO (International Olympic Committee) is located in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is a non-govermental body that stages the modern Olympics.

Ancient Olympic Games…

A series of competitive athletic  events between city-states were held in ancient Greece, starting 900-700 BC. They continued till about 390 AD when Rome imposed Christianity.

Modern Olympic Games…

After Greece gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821, they revived the games in 1870,1875 and 1890. Inspired by the revival of the olympic games, Pierre de Coubertin created International Olympic Committee (IOC) to make it an international event. The games quickly gained popularity and a version of winter competitive sports was added in 1924.  The modern games have not been without controversy, suffering from boycotts, politics, use of enhancement drugs, sex discrimination and the terrorism of 1972. It has been highly commercial success and has amassed a huge following amongst fans. This additional growth has led to the creation of youth and paralympic games.

If you are a Olympic sports fan, while in Europe you may visit the site of past Olympics and the remaining venues. Click on locations below for an overview of the games that year. Click on Opening Ceremony site to find information about visiting the stadium sites.

For information on visiting the ancient site in ➾ Olympia, Greece
For additional detailed information about the modern day Olympics go to the International Olympic Committee web Site. ➾  Olympic.org

Summer Olympic Games
YearLocationOpening Ceremony
1896Athens, GreecePanathenaic Stadium
1900Paris, FranceVélodrome de Vincennes
1908London, United KingdomWhite City Stadium (Demolished)
1912Stockholm, SwedenStockholms Olympiastadion
1920Antwerp, BelgiumOlympisch Stadion
1924Paris, FranceStade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir
1928Amsterdam, NetherlandsOlympisch Stadion
1936Berlin, GermanyOlympiastadion
1948London, United KingdomWembley Stadium (rebuilt)
1952Helsinki, FinlandOlympiastadion
1960Rome, ItalyStadio Olimpico
1972Munich, West GermanyOlympiastadion
1980Moscow, Soviet UnionGrand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium
1992Barcelona, SpainEstadi Olímpic Lluís Companys
2004Athens, GreeceOlympic Stadium
2012London, United KingdomOlympic Stadium
2016Rio de Janeiro, BrazilMaracanã Stadium
2021Tokyo, Japan
Winter Olympic Games
YearLocationOpening Ceremony
1924Chamonix, FranceStade Olympique de Chamonix
1928St. Moritz, SwitzerlandSt. Moritz Olympic Ice Rink
1936Garmisch-Partrenkirchen, GermanyGroße Olympiaschanze
1948St. Moritz, SwitzerlandSt. Moritz Olympic Ice Rink
1952Oslo, NorwayBislett Stadion
1956Cortina d’Ampezzo, ItalyStadio Olimpico del Ghiaccio
1964Innsbruck, AustriaBergiselschanze
1968Grenoble, FranceStade Olympique
1976Innsbruck, AustriaBergiselschanze
1984Sarajevo, YugoslaviaOlimpijski stadion 
1992Albertville, FranceThéâtre des Cérémonies
1994Lillehammer, NorwayLysgårdsbakkene hoppanlegg
2006Turin, ItalyStadio Olimpico di Torino
2014Sochi, RussiaFisht Olympic Stadium
2018Pyeongchang, South KoreaPyeongchang Olympic Stadium 
Golf

Originating in Scotland, you will find some of the world’s most revered courses in Scotland. Every year golfers from all over the world compete in “The Open”. It is played every summer at one of Scotland or England’s legendary courses.
Golf courses and resorts are throughout Europe with the United Kingdom having about 2,770. Golf is also popular in France, Ireland, Sweden and Spain, all have a good selection of courses.

 You will find a directory of golf course listings at;
 ➾ 1Golf.eu  ➾ Golf Europe.com   ➾ Golf Today.co.uk   ➾ World Golf.com

Tennis

Tennis which oriented in Northern France, has it’s most prestigious tournament in Wimbledon. Both the French Open & Wimbledon are part of tennis’s grand slam.

Cycling…

Hugely popular in many European countries, cycling events are held all over the continent. It features the greatest race of them all, “The Tour de France”. Professional cyclist and teams race in events all across the European landscape each season. It has a huge fan base that supports the sport.

Snow Skiing…

Originating in Europe there are two classifications of skiing. Alpine & Nordic. Alpine consist primarily of downhill skiing, whether racing for the fastest speed or through a shalom course. Nordic is cross-country skiing, ski jumping and biathlon skiing, which is cross-country and marksmanship shooting.

Auto Racing…

Europe is home to some of the best car racing courses. LeMans, Monza, Monte Carlo, all host some of the greatest grand prix races in the world. Unlike NASCAR these are formula racing cars which race on an irregular configured courses, using a combination of hair pins turns, straightaways &  hills.

Thoroughbred Racing…

Horse racing has been considered the sport of Kings. You will find not only horse racing like in the US both also steeple chase as well as competitive equestrian events.

As well, some sports Americans are very familiar with have become popular in some countries.
  • Basketball in southern Europe. Spain, Italy & Croatia have highly talented pro teams which have contributed players to the NBA.
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Professional Hockey is big northern and eastern Europe. Many of todays players in the NHL come from European countries.

In addition to the big sports Europe has some sports that are are regional to certain areas or countries.

  • Bandy – Is played like field hockey but, on ice with the players wearing skates. Forms of the game where first played in Russia but, the current form of the game was created in England. It’s governing body is the ➾ Federation of International Bandy
  • Cricket – Early forms of this bat and ball game where played in England as early as the 1300’s. The game is believed to be of Flemish origin. Over the centuries the English have embraced the sport exporting it to many of the old British Empire colonies during the Victorian era. Today many of those countries, like India, Pakistan and South Africa have adopted Cricket as one of their primary sports.  It is governed by the ➾ International Cricket Council
  • Curling – Invented in Scotland, Curling is like playing shuffleboard only with a stone you slide on ice towards a bullseye. Sweepers with brooms help guide the speed of the stone towards its target. Is is very popular in cold weather countries and has been an official Olympic sport since 1998. It is governed by the  ➾ World Curling Federation
  • Hurling – Thought to be played in Ireland before any written history. It is played like field hockey on a rectangle field with an “H” shaped goal post but, a net extends down from the cross bar. Players use sticks to scoop up a ball and throw it towards the goal post. If the ball goes between the posts over the crossbar they get a point. If the ball goes below the crossbar and into the net they score three points.  It has long been played and followed in Ireland. It is governed by the ➾ Gaelic Athletic Association
  • Rugby – Created in England there are two types of Rugby. Rugby Union and Rugby League.  They are governed by the ➾ International Rugby Board  and the ➾ Rugby League International Federation The rules and forms vary from each association, almost like the difference from American football to Canadian.
  • Skiing (Alpine & Nordic) -Archeological sites in Scandinavia have unearth ski like items over 2,000 years old. Up until an couple of centuries ago skis where use for just for transportation. It has been an official Olympic sport since the first winter games in 1924. ➾ International Ski Federation oversees competition of skiing and snowboarding and there are plenty of competitive events held every winter in European ski areas.