One of the main problems which mankind faces nowadays is the lack of movement and physical exercise. The development of science and technology, the growing amount of information, the use of computers, different machines and cars lead to the way of life which may result in many diseases.
Sport can help us to solve this problem. It has become a common knowledge that sport makes people healthy, helps them to keep fit and to become more organized and better disciplined.
We can hardly overestimate the meaning of sport in our day-to-day activities because its main purpose is to bring up a harmoniously developed generation. Sport makes our bodies strong and quickens our reaction. It prevents us from getting fat. It moulds our character, teaches us to win as well as to lose. It develops the spirit of competition and comradeship. To cut a long story short, sport helps us to have a healthy mind in à healthy body.
Sport is manifold; it is a world of its own. There are sports and games, outdoor and indoor kings of sports. There is amateur and professional sport. Professional sport is a kind of business and brings big profits. Some sports are too violent, for example, boxing or professional football. Sportsmen are often injured and have to wear special clothes, helmets for example. Many people disapprove of kinds of sport which are dangerous.
There are some sports which you can’t go in for if you are not healthy enough. If you have à heart disease, weight-lifting will bring you nothing but harm. Going in for sport is always connected with great risk because of injuries. We know many examples when an athlete got a trauma at the beginning of his sport career and had to leave professional sport. The important thing here is to build up slowly and not to overdo it.
Sport cannot mean the same to different people, everyone seeks in it answers to his own problems. For same people it is hard work, taking part in competitions and setting records. For others it is entertainment and a pleasant pastime, an opportunity to make friends. A lot of sport fans don’t go in for sports, they prefer to watch them. For them sport is a source of exciting emotions and different feelings, from joy to sorrow. Sometimes fans of opposing teams become too aggressive and their confrontation may end in fighting.
Girl: I should say that I am not a sporty girl and I don’t attend any sport clubs or sections. But I understand that a certain amount of exercise is necessary to keep myself fit.
I try to do morning exercises at least several times a week. It is difficult for me to get up early in the morning, so I do them in daytime or in the evening. I have a video cassette with exercises in shaping, I often watch it and it helps me to make my efforts more effective.
We have our lessons of physical training at school 3 times a week. Sometimes they leave much to be desired but on the whole I like them. We practice running, jumping, playing basketball and volleyball. We have Health Days regularly and I take part in running races or play a game or two of tennis. Last year I went to a swimming pool and enjoyed it greatly.
As a fan I have my favourite sport, which is figure skating. I have never done it myself, but I like watching world and European championships; I am always fascinated by the grace, speed and skill of the skaters and it gives me great pleasure to watch them dance on the ice.
Boy: I can’t say that sport is my only hobby, but it is fairly important for me. From time to time I attended different sport sections and clubs. When I was a junior former, I went in for rowing. But later I gave it up because I had not enough free time for it. I never miss the opportunity of playing a game of basketball or of taking part in a football match at school or in the yard of my house. In summer I used to ride a bicycle a lot.
It is important for a boy to be strong and well-built, that’s why every day after school I do some exercises with dumb-bells. Push-ups are also of great help for me in building up muscles.
I am a football fan and always watch football matches of European and World Cup Championships on TV. I like to read articles in newspapers about sportsmen and listen to sport news on the radio and watch sport programs on TV. Sometimes I go to the town stadium where matches in motoball take place. This game is very popular in Pinsk.
SPORT IN BELARUS
Many sports are popular in Belarus. They are: football, volleyball, tennis, track and field, swimming, hockey, figure skating. A lot of people do these kinds of sport. For them sport is a means of building up health and a way of spending leisure time. All necessary facilities are provided for them. Stadiums, gyms, water-pools, skating-rinks and sport grounds are used for daily sport activities. There are a lot of amateur clubs and keep-fit centres where people go in for shaping, yoga, body-building, jogging, horse-riding.
Great attention is paid to sport in our schools, colleges and universities. Physical culture is a compulsory subject. At our gymnasium we have physical culture lessons three times a week. We have two gyms and a stadium.
Professional sport is also paid much attention to in Belarus. The most famous are the Olympic complexes “Raubichi”, “Staiki” not far from Minsk, “Dynamo” stadium in Minsk. Numerous national and international matches and competitions are regularly held in Belarus. They attract many fans and journalists. In our native town of Pinsk we have several stadiums, children’s sport schools and sport clubs. The largest among them is the so called DOSAAF stadium. Competitions in motoball are held there regularly.
Belarusian sportsmen take an active part in the world sports movement and in the Olympic Games. They first took in the Olympics in 1952. The first Belarusian Olympic medalist was Mikhail Krivonosov, a hammer-thrower in 1956 in Melbourne.
Belarusian gymnasts have been traditionally, successful at Olympic Games in the 60ies and the 70ies. They were Larisa Petrilc, Tamara Lazakovich and Olga Korbut. The greatest success was achieved by Olga.Òhe papers called her “child of the planet “. She got thousands upon thousands of letters from all parts of the world. People were sending her their best wishes, words of love and asked her to send a photo or an autograph. What made Olga so popular? She performed in a new manner and showed exercises which hardly any other woman gymnast could do. One of the American newspapers suggested that gymnastics should be divided into two periods – “Before Olga” and “After Olga”.
Three-time Olympic champion is the heavy-weight wrestler Alexander Medved. Today competitions in honour of Medved are held every year.
Vitaly Shcherba won six gold medals in gymnastics at Summer Olympics in Barcelona in 1992.
Other prominent names of Belarusian sportsmen are: N.Zvereva, B.Gelfandt, V.Parfenovich, Y.Belova, M.Mirny and others. Our hockey-players and tennis-players have been especially successful lately.
THE OLYMPIC GAMES
The greatest international sport event is the Olympic Games. They first began in 776 B.C. in Greece. These games were originally the part of the festival in honour of the god Zeus in Olympia near mount Olympus, the mythical home of the gods. They were held every four years in summer; the main condition of the festival was that there should be peace throughout Greece. The games included different sports: running, javelin throwing, long jump and wrestling. The festival also had contests in poetry art and music. Only men were allowed to compete or to watch the games. The victors were crowned with olive branches. After nearly 300 Olympiads the Roman emperor stopped the Games in 394 A.D.
Pierre de Coubertin, a French nobleman, had an idea to bring the Olympic Games back to life.
The first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896 in Greece. 311 athletes competed in nine sports. They represented 13 countries.
SPORTS IN GREAT BRITAIN
Britain is the home of many sports. Many words naming sports are of English origin: football, basketball, volleyball and boxing. The British are great lovers of sports. When they do not play or watch games they like to talk about them, and when they cannot do that they think about them. There is a proverb: “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” The British do not think that play is more important than work; they think that Jack will do this work better if he plays as well, so he is encouraged to do both.
What is a sportsman? He is one who is interested in sport. But that is only one meaning of the word. Even if a person is not interested in any sport, he may be called a sportsman if he has something called the “sporting spirit.” This “sporting spirit” is something that the playing of games develops in people. It is the ability to smile in times of danger and hardship, the ability to win without boasting and to lose without complaining. A sportsman goes on fighting when the battle seems already lost. He refuses to be disheartened and accepts disappointments cheerfully.
The most popular outdoor sports are football, cricket and tennis. Indoor games include billiards, card games, chess and draughts. Popular outdoor sports are hunting, shooting, fishing and horse-racing. Athletic sports include running, boxing, rowing, jumping and swimming. Football (or soccer) is the most popular game. It is played by two teams each consisting of eleven players: a goal-keeper, two backs, three half-backs and five forwards. The aim is to kick the ball with feet into the goal of the opposite team. There are plenty of amateur and professional soccer clubs. Professional football is big business. The Cup Final, played in London, is the greatest event.
Rugby football (or rugger) is played with an oval shaped ball, which may be carried. Players may be attacked and made to fall down. Each team has fifteen players, who spend much time lying in the mud and on the top of each other and become very dirty.
The game that is especially connected with England is cricket. Cricket is a typically British sport which is rarely played in other countries. Golf was a privileged kind of sport some time ago, but now it is played by great numbers of people. What concerns tennis, the greatest event is the Wimbledon international championship held near London. Horse racing is also extremely popular in Great Britain. The annual race for the Derby Cup attracts many people. The annual Oxford-Cambridge boat-race on the river Thames is also an important sporting event.
At schools boys normally play rugger or soccer in winter and cricket in summer. Grass hockey is played by boys and girls. School-girls like to play tennis.