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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 (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.

Selected article

The baseball diamond at Wrigley Field, Chicago
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a diamond.

Players on the batting team take turns hitting against the pitcher of the fielding team, which tries to stop them from scoring runs by getting hitters out in any of several ways. A player on the batting team can stop at any of the bases and later advance via a teammate's hit or other means. The teams switch between batting and fielding whenever the fielding team records three outs. One turn at bat for each team constitutes an inning and nine innings make up a professional game. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.

Evolving from older bat-and-ball games, an early form of baseball was being played in England by the mid-eighteenth century. This game was brought by immigrants to North America, where the modern version developed. By the late nineteenth century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. Baseball is now popular in North America, parts of Central and South America and the Caribbean, and parts of East Asia.

In the United States and Canada, professional Major League Baseball (MLB) teams are divided into the National League (NL) and American League (AL), each with three divisions: East, West, and Central. The major league champion is determined by playoffs that culminate in the World Series. Five teams make the playoffs from each league: the three regular season division winners, plus two wild card teams. Each top-level team has a farm system of one or more minor league teams.

Baseball is the leading team sport in both Japan and Cuba, where the top competitions are the Nippon Professional Baseball and Cuban National Series.

Selected image

A rider in a the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships mountain bike trial receives a one point penalty for touching his foot to the ground
Credit: Steve Bennett

A rider in a the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships mountain bike trial receives a one point penalty for touching his foot to the ground

Selected athlete

Jacques Plante in 1948 with the Citadelles Québec Hockey Team
Joseph Jacques Omer Plante (January 17, 1929 – February 27, 1986) was a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender. During a career lasting from 1947–1975, he was considered to be one of the most important innovators in hockey. He played for the Montreal Canadiens from 1953 to 1963; during his tenure, the team won the Stanley Cup six times, including five consecutive wins.

Plante retired in 1965 but was persuaded to return to the National Hockey League to play for the expansion St. Louis Blues in 1968. He was later traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1970 and to the Boston Bruins in 1973. He joined the World Hockey Association as coach and general manager for the Quebec Nordiques in 1973–74. He then played goal for the Edmonton Oilers in 1974–75, ending his professional career with that team. Plante also wrote extensively on hockey. He wrote hockey columns starting early in his career and was published in La Voix de Shawinigan, Le Samedi, and Sport Magazine. He alienated local reporters by writing a column for the local paper during his time as coach of the Quebec Nordiques. His seminal work, Goaltending, was published in 1972 in English, with the French edition (entitled Devant le filet) published in 1973. His reputation as a teacher spread, and he traveled to Sweden in 1972 at the invitation of the Swedish Hockey Federation, teaching the top goaltenders in the country and their coaches and trainers.

Plante was the first NHL goaltender to wear a goaltender mask in regulation play on a regular basis. He developed and tested many versions of the mask (including the forerunner of today's mask/helmet combination) with the assistance of other experts. Plante was the first NHL goaltender to regularly play the puck outside his crease in support of his team's defencemen, and he often instructed his teammates from behind the play.

Plante was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978, was chosen as the goaltender of the Canadiens' "dream team" in 1985, and was inducted into the Quebec Sports Pantheon in 1994. The Montreal Canadiens retired Plante's jersey, #1, the following year.

Selected team

West Virginia Mountaineers football's inaugural 1891 team
The West Virginia Mountaineers football team represents West Virginia University (also referred to as "WVU" or "West Virginia") in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of college football. West Virginia plays its home games on Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. The Mountaineers compete in the Big 12 Conference.

With a 708–463–45 record, West Virginia has the 14th most victories among NCAA FBS programs, as well as the most victories among those programs that never claimed nor won a National Championship. West Virginia was originally classified as a College Division school in the 1937 season, becoming a University Division school from 1939–72. WVU received Division I classification in 1973, becoming a Division I-A program from 1978–2006 and an FBS program from 2006 to the present. The Mountaineers have registered 79 winning seasons in their history, with 35 of those seasons resulting in eight victories or more, 17 seasons resulting in at least nine wins, and eight seasons with ten victories or more. Of those successful campaigns, West Virginia has produced one unbeaten season in its history, going 10–0–1 in 1922, as well as five 11-win seasons (1988, 1993, 2005, 2006, 2007). The Mountaineers have won a total of 15 conference championships in their history, including eight Southern Conference titles and seven Big East Conference titles.

From 2002–2011, the Mountaineer football program yielded its most prolific era to date, producing a 95–33 record. During that span the Mountaineers participated in ten bowl games, finished ranked in at least one of the AP or Coaches Polls on seven occasions, won six Big East Conference titles, and produced three BCS bowl game victories. As of the 2012 season, West Virginia was one of only three FBS programs to have won at least nine games in each of the past seven seasons, and its 95 victories between 2002–2011 rank 8th amongst FBS programs.

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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A championship tug of war match in 2009

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

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