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Do you speak Eng.UNIT XII (SPORT).docx
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What makes all people kin

People all over the world are very found of sports and games. That is one thing in which people of every nationality and class are united.

The most popular outdoor winter sports are shooting, hunting, hockey and , in the countries where the weather is frosty and there is much snow – skating, skiing and tobogganing. Some people greatly enjoy figure-skating and ski-jumping.

Summer affords excellent opportunities for swimming, boating, yachting, cycling, gliding and many other sports. Among outdoor games football takes the first place in public interest; this game is played in all the countries of the world. The other games that have firmly established themselves in favor in different countries are golf, lawn-tennis, cricket, volley-ball, basketball, and so on. Badminton is also very popular.

All the year round many people include in boxing, wrestling, athletics, gymnastics and track and field events. Scores of young girls and women go in for callisthenics.

Among indoor games the most popular are billiards, table tennis, draughts and some others, but the great international game is chess, of course. The results of chess tournaments are studied and discussed by thousands of enthusiasts in different countries.

So we can say that sport is one of the things that makes all people kin.

The foot-race

It is the oldest contest that took place in Olympia. Until the 13th Olympiad (728 B.C.) when the games lasted for only one day, it was the only event at the sanctuary. The athletes were running nude, in an area whose length was determined at 600 feet (192.27m), that is one Stade. It was this distance that gave its name to the area used for the performance of the event. These areas, the stadiums, were situated on hillsides or in small valleys, thus enabling the spectators to follow the events. Later and as the crowd of spectators grew, artificial slopes were built and the spectators sat on the ground.

The stadium at Olympia had a capacity of 45,000 spectators. Only men were allowed to watch the games with the exception of the high priestess of Demeter Chamyne. The start and duration of the stadium race were specified by clear rules and there were set penalties for athletes who broke them. The rules were clear for all the events and for the duration of the games there were specific bodies, the Alytai, who kept the order in all the areas of performance. The judges and those in charge of the games were the Hellondikai, who at first were life members but then appointed by lot from the Elean citizens.

There are no records of the achievements of the athletes during archaic times as there were no means of the keeping of time. What was important was to be the first amongst the other athletes of the event, and receive the honour and the glory that followed such a distinction.

Also taking place in Olympia there were the Heraia, athletic games for women in which young girls from Elis partook. These games were held every four years independently of the Olympic games. The women ran wearing their hair loose, dressed in short tunics.

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