Swimming

Splash, Splash, Splash

  • Swimming has a long recorded history over thousands of years, with early cave drawings, written references, and mosaic and clay work depicting the sport.
  • Swimming events have been included in the Olympic Games since the first modern Olympics in 1896 in Athens.
  • Although swimming’s popularity grew in the 1800s, the first book about swimming was published in 1538, written by German Professor, Nicolas Wynman.
  • The Japanese have the earliest record of swimming competitions, dated 36 BC.
  • There are four typical styles of swimming called freestyle or front crawl which has its origins in Native America, Pacific Islands and West Africa; breaststroke, the style most used in early British competitions; butterfly, a variant of breaststroke which came about in 1933; and backstroke.

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Swimmer
Image courtesy of Franky/ Free Digital Photos
  • Special swimming clothes are used for swimming, and they can be called ‘swimsuits’, ‘bathers’, ‘togs’, ‘swimming costumes’, ‘cossies’ and other names, depending on where you live, and they can include one piece suits; two piece, which are generally called ‘bikinis’; board shorts; swim or racing briefs, often known as ‘speedos’; as well as others.
  • The 20th century has seen many significant developments in swimming styles, and has included underwater studies of the various strokes, and the official recognition of butterfly as its own style in 1952.
  • The International Swimming Federation (FINA) was founded in 1908, and began keeping records on world record swimming results.
  • Swimming can  be dangerous in certain environments, such as in the ocean when rips and currents are present, or without proper knowledge and skill, and can be fatal, resulting in drowning.
  • Basic swimming and water safety skills have been included as part of the school curriculum in some countries around the world, and many parents pay for their children to attend swimming lessons with recognised trainers outside of school hours.
Bibliography:
Swimming (Sport), 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swimming_(sport)>

Rock Climbing

Scale rocks like a lizard.

  • Rock climbing is when one climbs, up, over, or down large rock faces that can be real or fake, including especially designed indoor rock walls, to challenge one’s mind and body.
  • Rock climbing competitions usually involve trying to find the quickest way to scale a rock wall.
  • Rock climbing began as a recognised sport in the 1880s in England.
  • Rock climbing has its origins in mountaineering, and was and still is, a necessary skill for reaching some of the notable summits around the world.
  • Outdoor rock climbing is usually done when the weather is dry, as it is much more dangerous and difficult to rock climb when it is wet.

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Rock Climbing
Image courtesy of Iwona Erskine-Kellie/ Free Digital Photos
  • Many rock climbers wear special, tight, rubber soled, flexible shoes to easily grip and feel the rock beneath the climber’s feet.
  • Rock climbing usually requires special equipment, which can include gloves, a helmet, climbing ropes, harnesses, carabiners and belay devices.
  • Rock climbing can be very dangerous, however, with the right equipment and conditions, most injuries are generally minor and are related to the fingers, shoulders and elbows.
  • Rock climbers are often employed to fix or maintain wind turbines, as it is usually cheaper and more efficient than using machinery to reach the turbine.
  • Rock climbers often coat their hands in chalk (magnesium carbonate), to absorb the moisture on their hands, which is said to improve their grip on the rock.
Bibliography:
Rock climbing, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_climbing>

Boxing

Get in stance and time your punches.

  • Boxing is also known as ‘pugilism’, ‘prizefighting’ and ‘the sweet science’, and is a one on one sport, where the aim is to punch the opponent with boxing gloves, which can include knocking the opponent out, and to score the most points.
  • Boxing is divided into one to three minute rounds, with up to 12 rounds in a match, and one minute rests between rounds, although amateur boxing usually has only three rounds.
  • The first recorded history of boxing, with gloves, was in 2000 – 1000 BC in Sardinia, Europe, although carvings from Egypt and Iraq show that boxing has existed for at least 4500 – 5000 years.
  • Thousands of years ago, to most recently, a few hundred years ago, many boxers died due to lack of rules, or metal included in the opponent’s gloves, and even though the fatality rate has dropped significantly, there are still many deaths of boxers, with at least 200 since 1980.
  • Boxing became part of the Ancient Olympic Games, and was reintroduced into the modern Olympics in 1904, although it was not included in the programme in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, as the country prohibited boxing.

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Boxing
Image courtesy of Family MWR/Flickr
  • Boxing in the Olympics is deemed as ‘amateur boxing’, and this style of boxing is said to be a good stepping stone to becoming the more popular, ‘professional boxer’.
  • Amateur boxing has a slightly different scoring method to professional boxing, and does not aim for physical damage, but clean blows, and helmets and shirts are worn.
  • In boxing you are not allowed to punch below the belt, and can’t hold, trip, push, bite or spit on your opponent.
  • Since punching with bare fists can damage the puncher’s hands, boxing gloves and wrist wraps should always be worn.
  • Professional boxing is dangerous, and is banned in Norway, Iceland, North Korea, Cuba and Iran, and was previously prohibited in Sweden and Albania, while the medical profession in a number of other countries has also urged for a ban on the sport, due to brain damage and other long term injuries that many boxers receive.
Bibliography:
Boxing
, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing>

Pool Billards

Ready, Aim, Fire!

  • Pool is also known as pool billiards, pocket billiards and billiards, and is a sport that is played with 2 or more players, although it can be played by a single person to improve their skills.
  • Pool is played on a pool table; a cloth-covered rectangular table surrounded by rails, that has six pockets on the edge of the table.
  • There are many versions of the pool game, such as 9-ball pool, bank pool and 8-ball pool, 8 ball pool being the most popular.
  • Most pool games use special balls, made from phenolic resin plastic, that are shot into the pockets with a white cue ball and a stick, called a cue, which is at least 1.016 m (40 inches) long.
  • Pool tables are normally 1.07 to 1.37 metres (3.5 to 4.5 feet) wide by 2.13 to 2.74 metres (7-9 feet) long and pool balls are generally 57.1 to 60.3 cm (2.25 to 2.375 inches) in diameter, and weigh 156–170 g (5.5 to 6 oz).

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  • The World Pool Billiard Association (WPA), established in 1987, governs official pool, and is a member of the World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS).
  • Pool uses coloured balls that are either striped or full colour, depending on the number, and there are 15 in a set, plus the white cue ball.
  • Cue sports, including pool, have not yet been included in the Olympics, even though they were seriously considered for the 2004 Olympic Games, and there have been many attempts to have them included in the Olympic programme since the 1950s.
  • It is believed the best pool player of all time was Willie Hoppe, nicknamed ‘The King’, who lived from 1887 to 1959.
  • The game of pool has its origins in a lawn game, and was first played on a table in the 1400s, probably in France, although most of the modern style table and equipment was not produced until the 1800s.
Bibliography:
Pool (Cue sports), 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pool_(cue_sports)>

Badminton

Back and forth, back and forth.

  • Badminton is a sport that involves hitting a shuttlecock back and forth over a net using a racquet.
  • Badminton requires some special lightweight shoes with good grip; specially designed lightweight and stringed racquets; and a shuttlecock, made from cork, leather and feathers, or synthetic materials.
  • Badminton competitions are normally played indoors so that there is no wind interference, although for recreational purposes, it is usually played outdoors.
  • Badminton has been included in the Olympic games since 1992.
  • Badminton has its origins in the once popular battledore and shuttlecock game which probably originated in Ancient Greece, just prior to, or early in the first century.

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Badminton
Image courtesy of Skrobotic/Flickr
  • Badminton was established in the mid 1800s, when a net was added to the battledore and shuttlecock game, which only used a shuttlecock and a battledore – a small wooden racquet, and became popular in England, and then spread to Denmark, USA and Canada, and is now played in 169 countries.
  • The Badminton World Federation was founded in 1934, originally known as the International Badminton Federation, which now governs the sport of badminton throughout the world.
  • The badminton court is 13.4 meters (44 feet) in length and 5.18 to 6.1 meters (17 feet to 20 feet) in width, depending if the game is played singles or doubles.
  • Badminton can be played one versus one (singles), or a two versus two (doubles), and to win the game, a team will need to score two rounds of 21 points.
  • The name ‘badminton’ comes from the Duke of Beaufort’s residence, Badminton House, in Gloucestershire, England, where the game was played before the 1860s.
Bibliography:
Badminton, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badminton>

Rugby League

Remember, pass backwards and run fowards.

  • Rugby league is a ball contact sport, that involves passing and kicking an oval shaped ball.
  • Rugby league is a two team game; 13 players on each side.
  • In rugby league, players score by landing the ball on the goal line, and this is called a ‘try’.
  • Rugby league is most popular in Australia, New Zealand, England, Tonga, France and Papua New Guinea.
  • Rugby league’s proper name is ‘rugby league football’ although it is also known as ‘league’, ‘rugby’, ‘footy’, ‘The Greatest Game of All’ and ‘NRL’ (in Australia) which stands for ‘National Rugby League’.

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Rugby League
Image courtesy of Nottingham Trent University/Flickr
  • Rugby league is played on a grassy rectangular field 68 x 116 metres (223 x 380 ft), and requires a high level of fitness due to the amount of running needed to play the game, and strength, to tackle and pull down an opponent.
  • Rugby league is the national sport of Papua New Guinea.
  • Rugby league was first played in England in 1895, and was originally called Northern Rugby Football Union, after it broke away from the Rugby Football Union, and changed some of its rules.
  • Rugby league is often said to be the most rough team sport, and many injuries occur in rugby league, due to the tackling of opponents who are trying to run with, or pass the ball.
  • In rugby league it is common to have a ‘scrum’, a formation of up to six people from each team, arms interlocked and heads down, pushing against each other to get the ball (that is passed in from underneath), through to their own side.
Bibliography:
Rugby league, 2013, Wikipedia, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rugby_league>
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