|Did you know?
That Argentina won both Basket and football gold medal in Athens 2004.
Argentina's national game is fútbol (soccer), which
was introduced in the 1860s by British soldiers. The Argentinian national
team has become one of the best in the world and won World Cup titles in
1978 and 1986. In the streets, you may hear "Boca or River?" on the day
of a fútbol game between the Boca Juniors and the River Plate team.
Some Porteños ask this to strangers because they assume everybody
is interested in fútbol.
Since an Argentinian team won the first Olympic gold medal in polo
in 1924, Argentinians have dominated the sport. Polo is played by teams
of four on horseback. Players use long wooden mallets to hit a wooden ball
the size of a tennis ball towards a goal at the end of the field. Polo
ponies are small thoroughbreds that are specially trained for the sport.
Both Argentinian ponies and Argentinian polo players are sought by polo
teams in other countries. The polo player Gonzalo Pieres is one of the
best in the world.
Pato is a special Argentinian sport, first played by the Gauchos. Pato
means "duck." Pato was originally played by two teams on horseback using
a duck in a leather pouch with handles. Two players would grab the handles
and pull until one let go. The winning team would ride away, while the
opposing team tried to stop them and grab the pato. The sport became dangerous
and it was banned in 1882. In the late 1930s, the sport was revived with
new rules. Now two teams of four men on horseback attempt to throw the
modern pato, a leather ball with six handles, into one of two baskets at
either end of a large field.
Basketball, Volleyball and rugby are very important sports as well. The country
got the 2ND place in the last basketball world cup and the 1st place in the last Olympic Games in Athens, aften beating
the Dream Team in semifinals and
Italia in the final. Another sport that has become
quite important is the Field hockey where the Argentinean Women Team won the last world cup in Perth - Australia.
Horse racing is another popular spectator sport. Races are held throughout
the year. The two most important events are the Argentine Republic Prize,
held in April, and the Grand National in November.
Tennis was once a sport reserved for the wealthy until the Argentinian
Guillermo Vilas did well in international competitions. Now it is played
by young people throughout the country. Gabriela Sabatini was ranked as
one of the top women tennis players during her teenage years.
Families often go to the Atlantic coast in summer. Mar del Plata, southeast
of Buenos Aires, is a popular destination for summer holidays. In winter,
many Argentinians enjoy Andinismo, which means hiking, mountain-climbing
or alpine or cross-country skiing in the Andes Mountains.