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
eam 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 Italy in the final. While the national team reached the
final again in Basketball World Cup 2006.
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 Province, 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.
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