Nothing can bring people together quite like sports. It doesn’t matter whether people are watching from the sidelines, playing professionally, or supporting their favorite teams, there is an innate sense of togetherness and community that’s cultivated when people gather under the umbrella of sports.
In South America, sports are not only a beloved pastime for a lot of people but sports is deeply ingrained in the culture. Regardless of whether there’s a huge international tournament being held or a community competition, everyone shows up with zeal and passion- that’s what makes the South American sporting community truly stand out.
Over the past couple of years, South America has continued to produce an array of elite sportsmen ranging from Pelé to Diego Maradona and Ronaldo to Ronaldinho; the list of which goes on and on.
Although a lot of countries in the continent do their best to organize multisport games along with a variety of other mega-events such as the FIFA World Cup, no other country in the continent has invested in training elite athletes as Brazil has.
Brazil has also managed to organize more sporting events than any other in the region, the long list of which contains noteworthy events such as the Pan American Games in 2007 and 1963, as well as the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and 1950; not forgetting the Summer Olympics in 2016.
Another noteworthy mention is Argentina, which is its own force to reckon with having won 7 south American Games (Brazil has only managed 2). Other countries known for their sporting prowess include Venezuela and Colombia.
Football is by far the most beloved of all sporting events. Football and South America are practically synonymous. The beautiful game is loved everywhere in Latin America from the buzzing streets of Brazil to the quiet hills and remote outposts of Peru. But what about other sporting tournaments?
If you are looking to educate yourself about the sporting culture in South America, here are 5 sports becoming more and more popular in the region:
Although South America is primarily a football continent, ping pong or table tennis as it is sometimes commonly referred to is slowly burgeoning. Ping pong captures what the continent is all about- togetherness.
With the experience of witnessing opponents go back and forth in stellar fashion, the tradition of playing tournaments at home with the family and rivalries between countries are all some of the reasons why this game is growing so much. If you would like to learn more about ping pong, here is a great article to read.
If you search around the globe for cricket playing nations from around the world, you will not come across many South American nations. In fact, Argentina is by far the most popular nation thus far that has excelled in cricket. This may be an uncomfortable truth for some people, but the good news is that the sport is slowly gaining traction in this part of the continent.
For instance, in Brazil, the region has experienced a noticeable advancement in the past couple of years in terms of both the cricket standards as well as the expansion of the game. This is evident with the formation of the Under 13 squad in Curitiba and an Under 17 squad in Brasilia. And with women’s cricket starting to take hold, the future of cricket has never shined brighter.
Following Argentina’s victory in the Rugby World cup, rugby has been growing steadily in popularity in South America. Several countries in South America already have rugby federations in place that are working to regulate and uplift the sport in the continent.
Some would say that it’s been a long time coming (and they’re correct) but South America has been enjoying a fully functional professional league starting from 2020. Aptly titled the Súper Liga, the league kicked off in February, bringing teams from all around the world to vie for supremacy in the region.
So far, Uruguay and Argentina stand as the strongest teams in the South American side. However, other countries set to join in the rivalry include Colombia, Paraguay, Chile, Brazil, and Peru.
Tennis is played popularly in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. Although it has always stood in the shadow of other popular sports such as football and basketball, tennis is widely followed in many south American regions and is slowly gaining traction with time.
The game is governed by the South America Tennis Confederation, which as you would expect, is closely allied with the International Tennis Federation. Some of the members of the league include Venezuela, Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Paraguay.
For those looking for a less boisterous, more sophisticated spectator sport, polo offers the ultimate thrill in South America. Polo may be an old sport in many parts of Europe, but it hasn’t quite matured as one would expect in many parts of South America.
So far, Argentina is the only South American country where polo is played professionally. Having won 3 world championship titles, Argentina is one of the best teams in the world. In fact, the country attracts some of the most highly paid players and some of the most expensive horses in the world.
Getting actively involved in sports is one of the best things an individual can do for their wellbeing. Sports help one to escape from the monotony of a hectic modern routine but it also allows one to indulge in some real physical action.
There is a lot to love about the continent of South America particularly the diversity it offers in terms of sporting activities, as well as the facilities and amenities available. You will find many different leagues and federations that have been established purely to elevate an array of sports.
Not only has this been instrumental in raising the status of the continent internationally, but it has also played a crucial role in helping to develop bussing talent. The continent’s unity and diversity are evident in its people who never shy away from combining their different cultures to create a strong sporting bond.