The increase of interest in sports is best illustrated by the appearance of ever new sports facilities. It is important to note that besides taking an active part in sports it is also possible just to watch sports events as a spectator or play the pools (= bet money on certain sports results).
Usually all sports and games are further differentiated into two groups according to where they can be practised. Indoor sports include for example gymnastics, table tennis, boxing, wrestling etc. On the other hand, among outdoor sports are skiing (down - hill, cross - county, slalom, ski jump), sledding, hiking, rock climbing, horse riding, golf, and some aquatic sports such as rowing or windsurfing. Non - professional cycling, or riding a (mountain) bike, which is one of the most popular activities, is also enjoyed out of doors (on roads or paths). But most sports and almost all games can be done both indoors and outdoors. Meeting in all the track and field events (sprints, middle and long distance runs, hurdling, high and long jump, pole vault, shot put, javelin and discus throw) take place in summer stadium as well as in athletic halls. Also one of the healthiest sports, swimming, and figure skating do not actually demand a roofed room. One can easily recognize that those sports which can be done only on ice or snow (skating, skiing etc.) are winter sports whereas all the rest we call summer or all - season sports.
The games are usually all - season activities, and they are practised both indoors and outdoors. The most numerous group of games are the ball games. Let me mention the individual game in the order in which they are popular in Great Britain, the United States, and the Czech Republic. The British are great lovers of competitive sports, and when they are neither playing nor watching games they like to talk about them. England was also the first home of many popular modern games. Some of them such as football, hockey, tennis are very well - known all over the world, but cricket has kept its English character and has never become popular outside the English - speaking countries. Other countries have adopted the games together with the sports English terminology. Among these, football is the most wide - spread. As is commonly known, in this collective game two teams of 11 members play with a ball on a grass playing field. The purpose is to kick the ball so as to get it into the opposite goal. There are national football teams in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They compete against one another every year. They take part in European competitions, the World Cup and other international matches. In Britain there are also a great number of clubs (some of them are Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Queens Park Rangers), and in London there is one of the world's biggest football stadium - the Wembley Arena, where also many concerts take place. Football is playing all over the world. In the United States, however, it is called soccer (derived from Association Football).
Rugby football is also very popular. This game was first played at Rugby (a town) School, England. In this game the ball is oval. Next to soccer the chief spectator sport is horse - racing. The best - known steeple - chase race is the Great National, run at Aintree near Liverpool. Another annual sporting event that the British look forward to eagerly is the famous university rowing race between Oxford and Cambridge, which is held on the river Thames. The lawn tennis season reaches its peak every year at the Wimbledon tournament which is played in London in nearly June. For relaxation squash is also played.
In the USA most sports and games have been to a great extent commercionalized. The four foremost professional games there are American football, baseball, basketball, and ice - hockey (it has its roots in Canada, though). These games are turned into big shows in which the sports stars make a lot of money. American football differs from European mainly in the shape of the ball (oval), the way in which it is carried by the players (in the hands), and the form scoring (touchdowns at field goals). Other sports such as the former Indian game lacrosse or field hockey are also popular.
In our country ball games are the most popular ones. They include especially football, volleyball, basketball, handball, and tennis. Besides this ice - hockey is played at a very high level here too. Our country has produced many sportsmen who have achieved success in top international competitions. In the first place athletics (recently javelin and decathlon), but also netgames (tennis and volleyball) players and shooters have excelled abroad.
Sport played an important part as early as ancient Greece with which the origins of the Olympics Games are connected. The Olympics Games enjoy a very long tradition. The ancient Games were held in the Greek town Olympia at four year's intervals. They were a festival of physical culture and a very important public events. They lasted from one to five days and their programme included running, pentathlon, wrestling, boxing, horse and chariot racing. The first stadium was built in Olympia. The olympic month used to be the time of peace among the Greek tribes and Olympia was the territory of peace. The tradition of the Olympic flame and of the Olympic oath to fight honestly were born there too.
Towards the end of the 19th century, a Frenchman, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founded the modern Olympics Games. He also took over the Greek ideal of physical and moral harmony - kalokagathia. He wished to develop young people's bodies and characters by fair sport competitions. He became the president of the International Olympic Committee, which decided to organize the first modern Games in Athens in 1896. They consisted of summer sports. Afterwards, each four years the Olympics took place (except the war years 1916, 1940, 1944) in different capitals and towns of the world. Coubertin was also the author of the Olympic flag. Each of its circles represents a continent and a human race.
"The important thing in the Olympic Games is not Winning, but taking part. The essential thing in life is not conquering, but fighting well." Pierre de Coubertin, the Olympic Creed