Yesterday, after a month of football across 12 European countries, the UEFA Euro 2020 came to an end. Millions of people tuned in to watch the game, originally due to take place in 2020 before coronavirus restrictions forced the tournament to be postponed.
Humans have enjoyed sports for millennia. The Ancient Egyptians held swimming contests in the Nile, and the Greeks formalised sporting competitions with the Olympics in 776 BC.
Now, sport is just as popular as ever. More than 100 million Americans watch the Super Bowl each February and a staggering 3.5 billion people tuned in for the 2018 Fifa World Cup Final. Meanwhile, the Olympic Games appear on screens across more than 150 countries.
As well as watching it, we also love to take part. Most popular is football, with an estimated 265 million amateur players around the world. Not far behind is badminton, played by around 220 million people.
Playing sport regularly can enhance your sense of well-being, reducing anxiety and combating negative emotions. Meanwhile, taking regular exercise leads to better physical health, preventing illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease.
Do you prefer watching sports or taking part?
Read Our Stories
Germany reboots football behind closed doors
Could English football lose its top spot? The Bundesliga is the first European league to resume matches under strict social distancing rules – stealing the Premier League’s global audience.
Sumo wrestler’s tears make waves in shock win
Are tears good for sport? A sumo wrestler has thrown tradition out of the ring. His tears of joy delighted his fans, but raised doubts about whether it is ever acceptable for athletes to cry.
Stunning England become World Cup favourites
Do you agree that these six points make rugby better than football? England may win glory on Saturday, but many are saying the real winners are the ethos and excitement of the game itself.
On 10 May 1994, Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa. It was the start of a new chapter in the country’s history after decades of apartheid. The following year, the South African rugby team, the Springboks, won the World Cup. Chester Williams, the only black member of the team, describes his experience of the day.
- Imagine you are setting up a new sports club. Choose the sport and design a kit for your team to wear.
- Research the life of a famous sporting hero. Create a presentation about them and their achievements.
- Use the internet to find out about a sport you have never watched or played. Draw a diagram of the pitch, field or court where it is played, and make a rule sheet.