History of Baseball Baseball is one of the popular sports played all over America. It is the national sports of the United States of America. This sport involves two teams of nine members each. The game is played basically with the help of bat and ball. The pitcher hauls a hard leather covered ball towards the batter, an opponent, who hits it with a wooden cylindrical bat. While the opponent team tries to catch the ball, the batter has to run in counter clockwise direction covering four markers called bases. The match is divided into nine parts called innings. Both the teams ball and score runs in each inning. If a team gets three outs, it's half-inning. There are three versions of baseball, including the modern version, which was developed in the eighteenth century. There are arguments on how and where the game originated. According to some reports, the game is an extension of an older game rounders and it originated in Great Britain. British people who came to America during the late 1700s brought the sport. The professional Major League Baseball is sub-categorized into the American League and the National League with east, west and central divisions in each. In the American League, the tenth player, also known as a designated hitter, is expected to bat for the pitcher where as in the National League, the pitcher bats. Cincinnati Red Stockings was the first established professional baseball club. The fever began catching the citizens of United States in the 1860s and newspapers were referring to it as the National Game or National Pastime. The National League was formed in 1876 and after several trials; American League was founded in 1901. At that time the game was played very aggressively than when compared to the game that is being played today. It was more like a war and the era was named as the dead-ball era. After the 1920s the sport became more civilized by introduction of many rules. It was also during this time that the famous Baseball player Babe Ruth entered the sport. Before, the scoring was very low but Babe Ruth proved that power hitting is obviously the way of the game. The structure of the ball was also worked upon so as to make it travel farther than before. Baseball has also influenced Canada and there are many local minor league teams. After America and Canada, baseball league was formed in Cuba in 1878. Their national team consists of one of the strongest international players. After the World War I, baseball leagues began forming in Australia, Puerto Rico, Netherland, and Japan. After the World War II, more countries followed suit like Mexico, Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Now many of the European and Asian countries have pro and professional leagues. Tournaments, which include baseball in their curriculum or are based on it, are Olympic games, Baseball World Cup, World Baseball Classic, etc. These are held by the International Baseball Federation, which was formed in 1938. The IOC has voted that baseball and softball tournaments won't be a part of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games preceding. This is because there is a lack of good participation because of the seasonal restriction. These sports are only played during the summer and the Major League Baseball does not give a break to the players in order to participate. Because of the seasonal obstruction and high demand by fans, this kind of break is difficult to fit in. Basketball and its Rules Basketball was invented in a pursuit for an indoor game, which would provide complete fitness. Dr James Naismith, a Canadian physical instructor, wrote down the basic rule for the game after initial rejection of many ideas, at a YMCA Training School. This game was officially played for the first time on January 20, 1892, in the YMCA Gymnasium, at Springfield College. Women began playing basketball in 1892, at Smith College, and different sets of rules were laid down for them. This is a team sport where two teams, consisting of nine members each, throw ball into a ten-foot high basket of the opponent in order to get a score. While one team member aims for the basket, member of the other team prevents him from doing so. The team that has the highest score wins the game. The ball is dribbled and carried forward. In competitive basketball variation there are lot of regulations and the handling of the ball is restricted. Less regulated versions have been developed for recreational purposes and in some countries, this game is considered as a spectator sport. Initially a soccer ball was used in basketball after which a brown colored ball was introduced. But to increase the visibility of the ball to the players and spectators alike the color was changed to orange, in 1950s by Tony Hinkle. Initially dribbling wasn't a part of the game. It was included in the game in the 1950s. Different versions have different rules and time limits. According to NBA, some of the rules have been discussed here. The basketball court should be 94 X 50 feet. There should be baskets on two opposite ends of the court. The court is either made out of wood or cement. The ten feet high basket is made out of steel rim with a net attached. One score, also called shot, is counted as two points or three points when aimed from a distance of 7.24 meter. The game is divided into four quarters which each of them with a time limit of twelve minutes. A break of fifteen minutes is allowed after the first two quarter and in between each quarter, there is a break of two minutes. In the third quarter, both the teams exchange their baskets. At a time five members of each team are present on the court. Permission is given to have up to seven substitutes. Other than the coach assistant coaches, statisticians, managers, trainers and doctors assists a team. Other equipments, other than the ball, required during the game are scoreboard, score sheets, clocks, stop clocks, whistles, and alternating possession arrows. The male and the female player require to wear a pair of shorts and a jersey with clear number printed on the front and the back. High-top sneakers can be worn to provide extra ankle support. Sometimes the coach can request clock stoppages in between the game, if he wants to discuss something important with his team members. Usually three referees watch over the game. Other things like timekeeping, fouls by an individual or a team, score, team possession arrow, shot clock and player substitutions are taken care of by the table officials. Over the period of time, various positions have been developed in basketball. Initially there were one guard, two forwards, and two centers or two guards, two forwards, and one center. Later on point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward and center positions were added. Actions, which lead to violations are double dribbling, traveling, and carrying the ball and shot clock. Foul is illegal physical contact with the opponent team members, which would hinder them. The other variations of the professional basketball are wheelchair basketball for the physically handicapped, water basketball to be played in a swimming pool, beach basketball which has very few or no regulations, half court game which has only one basket, and street ball and one-on-one which has two players and smaller court. Winter Sports -- Skiing Skiing is a sport wherein the skiers glide over snow with the help of skis made out of wood planks or fiberglass strapped on the feet. Over the period of years have been many alterations to the original sports like the cross-country variant and downhill variant. The alterations are Alpine Skiing, Telemark Skiing, and Nordic Skiing. Skiing is also used by the military as a means of transportation and training in ski warfare. Originally skiing was used as a means of transportation in an ice packed area. Sondre Norheim, from Norway was the father of modern skiing as he developed slalom form of skiing in the 19th century. His ideas were later worked on and Telemark Skiing was developed in 1970s. Mathias Zdarsky from Austria invented the Alpine or downhill skiing. He developed the firmer bindings to help skiers to better anchor their feet. Some time after that, Hannes Schneider of Austria invented the Arlberg technique, according to which the body is rotated to steer the skis. Not only there are different versions of skiing, but also there are many competitions, which are held every year for the fans of skiing. Skiing is a big part of the Winter Olympic games, too. The regions, which are ideal for skiing, are some parts of Scandinavia and Alaska. Many of the ski resorts have been constructed in these areas and some of them are specifically meant for Alpine Skiing. The visitors have to buy warm clothing, ski, ski poles, and ski boots. After getting all dressed up, the skiers can take the gondola lift or the chair lift to reach the summit. From there the skiers ski downwards along a marked path called piste or trail or slope. If the skier is interested in off-piste skiing, he can take the unmarked area and ski in between trees, which is also known as glade skiing. Skiing outside the boundaries of the resort is called out of bounds skiing and is not allowed in some resorts. This can be very dangerous as there can be a possibility of falling avalanches, which can be a threat to life. Its advisable to take avalanche training, carry necessary equipments and to hang out with experienced skiers. In case of emergency, insurance is a must otherwise the cost of search and the skier himself should bare rescue service. It is highly recommended that the skiers inform the ski patrol before going out to ski and check out for bad weather. It takes a long while to master the art of skiing and the help of ski schools can be taken to overcome this. Initially trained instructors ask the leaner to keep the skiing speed low. The terrains and steep slopes are better avoided. Advanced skiers are made to ski on steep terrains and the risks taken are much more dangerous than the beginners. Two basic types of downhill skiing are alpine skiing and telemark skiing. Telemark skiing involves flexible ski boots and the heels aren't locked to the skis. Alpine skiing involves harder ski boots. Even people with disabilities with the help of outriggers have practiced downhill skiing; sit skis, ski tip retention devices, ski guides, colored guide bibs and audible clues. The dangers that can be faced in these sports are avalanches, collisions, hypothermia, and other illnesses and sometimes even death. Water Sports -- Surfing Surfing is a kind of water sports where the surfer is carried along by a breaking wave towards the shore. Apart from surfboards body boards, kneeboards, surf skis and kayaks can be also used to surf. Various sports involving surfing are sea kayaking, paddle boarding, kite surfing and windsurfing. The first two do not require waves and winds, while the other two does. Surfing has become more of a profession by turning into a multi-billion dollar industry. Initially the sport began when people used to lie down on hard wood boards and surf in Hawaii. Lieutenant James King who wrote journals on Captain Cook and completed them after his death set the first record. The surfboards were made out of huge and heavy wood, which were difficult to maneuver. They were substituted by lighter balsa wood surfboards in 1940s and were relatively easy to maneuver by the surfer. The boards were later made out of polyurethane foam, polyester resin and fiberglass cloth with multiple layers of wooden strips. The latest technology in surfboards now is the epoxy or carbon fiber surfboard. To surf in colder regions, its advisable to wear wetsuits, boots, gloves and hood to protect from cold-water temperatures, which can sometimes lead to hypothermia. There are different styles of boards like egg or the long board style short board, fish or short and wide board with a split tail and gun with a long pointed board meant for big waves. Swell is important for surfing. When the wind blows over a huge area of water, called the wind's fetch, the water wave rises, called the swell. The stronger the wind is the more the swell. Surfers can find the perfect spot where there is a low pressure system being experienced by a large coastline. A moderate strength offshore wind can form a perfect wave without small breaks. The topography of the seabed beneath the wave also affects the wave formed. The sign of a good surfer is that he is able to catch the wave before other surfers can. Beginners find it difficult to catch the wave at all. Once the wave is caught, the surfer can stand on the surfboard and stay in front of the curl of the wave, also known as the white water. The wave carries the surfer and takes him in a forward direction. A skilled surfer is able to take total charge of a challenging situation and at the same time maneuver like curving or turning. Some tricks practiced by experienced surfers are floater, cutback, air and off the lip. The most difficult trick is the surf inside the tube formed by the closed curl of the wave. Surfing has dangers like any other water sport, the major being drowning. The surfer must at all times keep his feet strapped to the surfboard to avoid any mishap during a wipeout. In some cases, the surfers can loose their consciousness and the surfboard can be entangles in a rip current, so it is advisable to not to surf alone. The nose or fins of the surfboard cause nearly sixty six percent of injuries to surfers. The water can infect the cuts caused by them. There can be possibility of colliding with objects under water like corals and rocks, which can sometimes even lead to death. Sea animals, like shark, jellyfish and stingrays, should be watched out for. Surf forecasting is done to aid surfers and help them enjoy their experience. It involves information technology involving mathematical modeling to represent the wave in a graphical manner. This gives an idea about the direction and size of the swells in the oceans around the world. There are many surf forecasting websites where a surfer can get all the necessary information before going out to surf where artificial reefs are constructed with all the factors under control. Wave pools also have been built to attract tourist, but the count is less because of the huge cost involved. Science and Swimming Swimming is as old as the Stone Age. Writing references can be dated back to 2000 BC and drawings were found in the cave of swimmers near Sura, Egypt. Competitions in swimming started somewhere around 1800, in Europe. Until then the breaststroke was very famous and John Arthur Trudgen started the front crawl or the trudgen in 1873. It was added as a sport in the 1896 Athens Summer Olympics, which were the first modern Olympics. Butterfly stroke was recognized in 1952, before which it was known as a variation of breaststroke. The water within the human body has a little less density compared to that of the water outside, which forces the body to the surface. To move forward, the water around should be pushed backward and to float, the water should be pushed downward. The pushing is done by using hands as paddles and kicking with the legs. It takes less effort to swim and float in the ocean than in a swimming pool because salty water has more density than fresh water because of the salts. The basic principle involved in all swimming styles is that the body should be kept parallel to the surface of the water and the hands should be positioned in outward direction, inline with the head, so as to cut though the water and reduce the friction. The more the body is slanted, the more the drag. Also, by extending the hands, the average length at the water line is increased which is directly proportional to the increase in the speed. Swimmers who have a good acceleration of hips have a good hand force. The force of the hand is related to the rotation of the hips and not the muscles in the arms. The stronger the hip muscles, the more the torque generated. The body should be in an incline position so as to reduce the frontal cross-section and drag. By doing so the shoulders do not generate bow waves and the water line is not broken. According to hydrodynamics, the movement of the hands and legs, from back to front, should be as much in air as in water, during the recovery stroke. The shoulder rotation is necessary for the forward motion and it requires strong abdominal muscles. Some of the swimmers flatten their palms to move the water backward and some spread their fingers slightly. Breathing is another important factor to be worked on while swimming. Correct way of breathing can increase performance and decrease fatigue. The body should be trained to work on less amount of oxygen because professional swimmers take breath in one stroke and let it out slowly till the fourth stroke. Taking a deep breath and submerging in the water, while kicking in the water, can control breath. Children can be made to join summer camps that give swimming lessons. Swimmers need to wear body skin kind of swimsuits so as to reduce the drag and beginners can use aids such as Styrofoam Board until they learn swimming properly. Beginners should concentrated on increasing the strength along with the other techniques. Swimming is a great exercise as there is less impact on the joints and bones because the density of water is similar to the density of the human body and the water supports the body. It is usually used to treat people with certain disabilities and injuries. Swimming is an aerobic exercise and is a good way to beat stress. The problems and hazards related to swimming are drowning and water inhalation in a contaminated environment. Extreme exhaustion can lead to unconsciousness. Weaker people should avoid it because it can be a cause to heart attacks, stroke, shallow water blackout and carotid sinus syncope. Excess water intake in salty water can form foam in the lungs, which effects breathing badly. Regular swimmers get exostosis or swimmers' ear, which is abnormal growth in the ear canal and athlete's foot, which is bacterial infection in between the toes. Chemicals in the swimming pools can cause skin and eye irritation and can even discolor the hair. Asthmatics should avoid excess swimming in swimming pool, as the chlorine inhalation will affect their lungs badly. While swimming in ocean, precautions should be taken, as there is an increased risk of getting jellyfish sting or harm from any other aquatic animal. Art Sports: Wrestling Wrestling is a sport involving two competitors competing to show their physical strength. This form of martial arts is as old as the mountains. Military are given training in wrestling as a part of self-defense systems. Folk people, who used lethal weapons as part of ritual fighting, also practiced it. Professional wrestling uses techniques like holding, clinching, leverage and locking. The act of wrestling has been mentioned in many religious scriptures such as Old Testament Book of Genesis, where Jacob wrestles with the angel, The Mahabharata, where Bhima and Jarasandha wrestle. In recorded history, Chinese wrestling or Shuai Jiao is the oldest form of wrestling continuing since four thousand years, which the Yellow Emperor deployed to defeat rebel Chih Yui and his army. Both the armies wore horned helmet to aim with at the opponent. This early form was called Jiao Ti. Hands replaced the horns later. According to documented evidence on the tomb of the Old Kingdom philosopher Ptahhotep, Egyptians and Nubian wrestlers used to engage in wrestling for competitive purpose, around 2300 BC. Later during the Greek era, 1100 BC -- 146 BC, Greek wrestling was practiced in competition where one wrestler would force his competitor to the ground and made him accept defeat or used to push him out of the boundary. When the Romans conquered Greece, they inherited the martial art and gave it their name, Roman wrestling. Wrestling can be broadly divided into two categories, International wrestling and folk wrestling. International wrestling includes freestyle wrestling, sambo, Greco-roman wrestling, beach wrestling, judo and grappling. Freestyle wrestling is a part of the Olympics sports. It is a form of amateur wrestling where two wrestlers of the same weight class compete with each other. A wrestler is declared a winner when he defeats his opponent by five methods. They are winning by fall, winning by superiority, winning by decision, winning by injury and winning by disqualification. The basic rule is that a wrestler can hold the legs of his opponent and trip him. A good wrestler is quick and has good maneuvering skills. It is the only form of international wrestling meant for women. In Greco-Roman style, a wrestler cannot hold his opponents leg and trip him and nor can he hold the opponent below his waist. It is also a type of amateur wrestling which is part of the Olympics. Grappling or submission wrestling involves no strikes, Gripping, handling and controlling defeats the opponent. There are many grappling techniques involved. Grappling can be practiced while standing or when on the ground. They are known as stand-up grappling and ground grappling respectively. The types of grappling are catch wrestling, luta livre, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, jujutsu, pankration and shoot wrestling. Japanese martial art or Judo originated in the late nineteenth century, in Japan. The opponent is thrown to the ground and is forced to accept defeat by choking or joint locking. The unique characteristic of beach wrestling is that the wrestlers wrestle inside a ring filled with sand. Heavy and light are the only two weight class categories. Wrestlers wearing swimsuits throw the opponent to the ground, to get on their backs. Women are also practicing this game. Sambo is the modern martial art that developed in Soviet Union and is one of the amateur wrestling. There are many versions of folk wrestling depending on the location of origin and culture in the specified area. Folk wrestling is yet to receive the status of International wrestling. Art Sports: Sumo Wrestling Sumo wrestlers, who are also known as "Rikishi", compete with each other in wrestling in a circular area. This martial art originated in Japan centuries ago and has a great religious importance in the country. It has some traditional rituals involved such as using salt to purify, which is part of the Shinto religion. Sumo wrestling of Japan even has influence on martial arts of its neighboring countries like Korean Ssireum, Chinese Shuai jiao, and Mongolian wrestling. Sumo was known as Sumai in the 8th century. Back then the rules involved were less in number and men used to fight till death. That is the reason why the wrestler who looses in a match is referred to as Shini-tai or dead body. Even today some of the shrines conduct ritual dance where a man wrestles with a Kami or a Shinto God. This contest was known as Sumai no Sechie or Sumai party. This ritual was also held in the imperial court and it was a must for the representatives of every province to attend this ceremony. Sumo was also a part of the training for the warriors and that's the reason that originally sumo wrestlers were samurai. In the initial years, to win, one Rikishi had to throw the other. Later on, the concept of pushing the opponent outside the ring was introduced. The size of the ring or Dohyo was defined in the sixteenth century. When both the wrestlers touch the ground at the same time, the one in the superior position is declared as the winner. Other way of determining the winner is that whoever uses Kinjite or illegal methods and whoever's belts get undone are declared looser immediately. The Dohyo is usually filled with clay and sand. After each tournament, the sand is cleared and given as souvenirs to fans. It is the responsibility of the Yobidashi to prepare the ring for each match and even for training stables. The clothing worn by Rikishi of old times also was also different from those worn by today's Rikishi. Wrestlers used to wear loose loincloths unlike present day wrestlers who wear firm clothing called Mawashi. The rules and regulations of the games were developed completely in the Edo period and is pretty much the same till now. Sumo matches lasts for just few minutes because it will be very easy for the stronger wrestler to either throw down or push his opponent out of the ring. Apart from having wrestling skill, a huge body mass is a great advantage. Oyakata or retired sumo wrestlers have formed the Japan Sumo Association. This association is responsible for holding tournaments and training wrestlers. Wrestlers are given ranks and their promotion or demotion entirely depends on their performances in the previous grand sumo tournaments. The six divisions in descending order are Makuuchi, Juryo, Makushita, Sandanme, Jonidan and Jonokuchi. Every year six Grand Sumo tournaments or Honbasho are held. Three of these are conducted at The Sumo Hall or Ryogoku Kokugikan, one in Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka each. Foreigners are also a part of these tournaments. The first foreigner to participate was Takamiyama from Hawaii. Sumo wrestlers maintain long hairs which are tied in a topknot, like the samurais of the Edo Period. Depending on the rank of the Rikishi, dresses differ. They also wear geta or wooden sandals. Beginners are expected to help with the chores in the Sekitori and are made to get up early than senior wrestlers. Rikishis skips their breakfast and have a large lunch called Chakonabe. It consists of different kinds of meat, fish, rice and vegetables. They take excessive amount of food along with beer to increase their weights. But this practice has ill-effects on the health, which was discovered recently. A sumo lives ten years shorter than ordinary Japanese. They often complain of high blood pressure, heart diseases and diabetes. Considering this the weight standards have been decreased tremendously in recent times. Adventure Sports: Rock Climbing Rock climbing is a sport, which involves climbing steep rocks. This sport originated in the nineteenth century in Saxony, Lake District of England. After Walter Parry Haskett Smith climbed Napes Needle alone for the first time, many people were attracted and it later converted to sports in England, in 1880s and by 1930s some two hundred climbing resorts opened in the Elbsandstein region. As the sport evolved grading system was introduced to analyze different levels of difficulties while climbing. Both the safety equipments and climbing techniques have been evolved with the passage of time. A climber should be mentally and physically be strong to overcome difficulties and having extensive knowledge can make the task easier. Initially the climbers can learn in pairs, while one learns to climb the other can belay or feed the rope from either end of the rock structure. Incase the climber falls, the belayer can lock off the rope. When multiple climbers climb, the leader can connect a rope with carabiners or quickdraws as a protection measure. A more risky method, simul-climbing, involves the leader and the team members to move at the same time, giving less time to belay the rope. There are many variations to the traditional rock climbing. They can be broadly classified into free climbing and aid climbing. Climbers do not use any kind of equipment in free climbing and in aid climbing; equipments are used to support the weight of the body against the rocks, which have less natural formation. In lead climbing, the leader of the group of climber ties the rope to his body and starts to climb the rock structure first, followed by his other team members who have the same rope tied to their individual bodies. In traditional lead climbing, the leader places bolts into the rock to ascend and the followers use the same bolts. The cleaner is responsible to remove the bolts so that no trace is left of the path taken. If any of the climbers' slips or falls, they will lower themselves on to the ground to start over again, instead on resting on the rope. In sport lead climbing, bolts are already laid into the rocks so the leader doesn't have to carry extra equipment with him. But in this case, there is a risk of bolts rusting as they are laid before hand, and if precaution isn't taken it can be dangerous. If any of the climbers falls, he will rest on the rope and will try to climb again. When a rope is suspended from an anchor, which is placed on the top of the rock structure, this technique of climbing is known as top rope climbing. This involves a solo climber who is belayed from either the top or the bottom of the hill. Short climbs on tough boulders is known as bouldering. Some climbers use safety ropes, which are dropped above them and some, find bouldering mat more useful. In case a climber falls, spotting from the ground level by other climbers can break his fall. Solo climbing involves a single climber who uses rope and protection devices to get to the top of the stone structure. Free solo climbing involves a single climber who uses nothing but natural features of the rock formation to ascend. Since rock climbing has become more of a lifestyle now, indoor climbing has been on the rise. It is also a good way to get started. An environment is created indoor with the help of wood, plastic and fiberglass. Rock climbing can be hazardous from environment point of view. Because bolts are driven into the rocks, this can be really harmful if done on a large scale. Other than this, soil erosion, garbage, human excretion, damage to native plants by introduction of foreign plant which grow from the seeds brought by clothing and shoes, etc. are other possible harmful effects. To reduce these effects, it is recommended to practice clean climbing. Adventure Sports: Bungee Jumping Bungee jumping is an adventurous sport where the participant jumps from a great height while he is connected to a large rubber rope. The jump can be made from the top of a tall building, bridge or crane. To bring in more adrenalin rush, jump can be made from a moving object like helicopter or a hot air balloon. Bungee word was developed in 1930, which meant rubber eraser. The idea originated from dwellers of the Pentecost Island, who used to tie vines to their ankles and jumped from tall wooden platforms. The vine was substituted by elastic cord. Members of the Dangerous Sports club made the first official bungee jumping on April 1, 1979 from the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. Initially they were arrested, but later on they appeared on television and jumped from many places including hot air balloon and mobile cranes, in 1982. A J Hackett of New Zealand did the first commercial bungee jumping in 1986, from Auckland's Greenhithe Bridge. After that he made numerous jumps from famous monuments like the Eiffel Tower. The first bungee jumping site was laid in Queenstown, New Zealand, on the Kawarau Bridge. The rubber rope absorbs the complete energy of the fall and when the rope snaps back, the jumper flies in the upward direction. The process of oscillation continues until all energy is utilized. The rubber rope is covered with cloth and has hooks on both the end. It is a specially designed braided shock cord. A tough outer cover encloses many latex strands. The function of the tough outer cover is to provide durability. Some consider using unbraided cords without the tough outer cover, which delivers a longer and softer bounce. Commercial operators are forced to use body harness to ensure safety in case of accidents. Variations to traditionally bungee jumping are catapult, twin tower, bungee running and bungee trampoline. In catapult, the jumper is placed on the ground and the cord is stretched, usually with the help of a crane, and then the jumper is released and he goes shooting up in the air. Twin towers employs two oblique cords. Bungee running, as the name suggests involves running and not jumping. The rope is attached to the participant and he runs as far as possible on an inflatable surface. The point maximum reached is marked with the help of a Velcro-backed marker, after which the runner gets pulled back to his initial position. Two or more people are involved in this and it is more like a running competition. Bungee Trampoline has a mix of bungee and trampolining. The body is fitted into a harness attached to a trampoline, which in turn is attached to a bungee. When the participant begins to jump he goes higher than a normal trampoline would. Bungee jumping has been incorporated in many movies and video albums. The most famous of all is the James Bond movie, Golden Eye, which was released in 1995. The movie opens with Bond jumping from a dam in Russia. The jump was no special effect and was genuine. Like other sports, bungee jumping has its share of possible injuries. The reason for most of them is human error, along with failure of safety harness, miscalculation of elasticity of the rope and improper connection of the cord. Possible injuries are body entangling with the rope, rope burn, dislocations, eye trauma, uterine prolapsed, back injury, pinched fingers and bruises. Jumper's age, weight, experience, and location should be reviewed before the jump, as a safety measure. Sports in Modern Olympics The Summer and Winter Olympic games includes a total of thirty five sports with fifty three disciplines. The Summer Olympics comprise of twenty sports with thirty-eight disciplines and the Winter Olympics consists of seven sports with fifteen disciplines. On a whole four hundred events are conducted. Each of the sport has an International Governing Body. More athletes and nations participate in the Summer Olympics. The IOC or International Olympic Committee arranges the sports, disciplines and events in a hierarchical manner. Sports are subdivided into disciplines and disciplines are subdivided into events. The IOC after analyzing the popularity of a sport around the globe and decides whether it should be a part of the Olympics or not. To be a part of the Olympics, an event should be participated by men from fifty countries from three continents and women from thirty-five countries from three continents, at least. Sports, which are no longer a part of today's Olympics, are polo, golf, rugby union, tug of war, cricket, water skiing, etc. The reason for their discontinuation is lack of adequate participation, lack of interest and lack of a governing body. Tennis and archery are also some of the dropped sports, which were again a part of the Olympics in the year 1988 and 1972, respectively. Sports, which are included in the Olympics to promote the local sports of a particular region, are known as demonstration sports. Some of the demonstration sports, which are a part of the Olympics sports, are curling and baseball. In the first modern Summer Olympic games, held in 1896, there were a total of nine sports. Now the count is twenty-eight and it has been decided that in the 2012 Summer Olympics, the count will be reduced to twenty six, with the withdrawal of softball and baseball. For a sport or discipline to be a part of the Summer Olympics, men from seventy-five nations from four continents and women from forty nations from three continents, should be participating at the least. The aquatics discipline includes sports swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming. The canoeing discipline consists of flatwater, BMX, slalom, track, road and mountain biking. The Gymnastics discipline consists of trampoline, artistic, and rhythmic. The volleyball discipline consists of indoor and beach. The other sports are archery, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, equestrian, fencing, field hockey, soccer, handball, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, softball, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, weightlifting and wrestling. The Summer Olympic sports, which are discontinued, are Basque Pelota, Cricket, Croquet, Figure Skating, Golf, Ice Hockey, Ieu de Paume, Lacrosse, Polo, Rackets, Roque, Rugby Union, Tug of War, and Water Motor sports. The demonstration sports which weren't selected to be a part of the official Summer Olympics are American football, Australian rules football, ballooning, boules, budo, field handball, Finnish baseball, glima, gliding, kaatsen, korfball, la canne, lifesaving, longue paume, motor sport, roller hockey, sambo, savate, Swedish gymnastics, weight training with dumbbells, and water skiing. Winter Olympic games started in 1924. Ice hockey and figure skating were a part of the Summer Olympics, before Winter Olympics started. In the beginning, there were nine sports in the Winter Olympic games, which have now been decreased to seven. There are a total of fifteen disciplines. For a sport or discipline to be a part of the Winter Olympics, men from at least twenty-five countries from three continents should participate. The Bobsleigh discipline consists of bobsleigh and skeleton. The skating discipline consists of figure skating, speed skating and short track speed skating. The skiing discipline consists of alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, freestyle skiing and Nordic combined. The other sports are biathlon, curling, ice hockey, and luge. The demonstration sports, which were never included in the official list of Winter Olympics, are bandy, disabled alpine skiing, disabled cross-country skiing, ice stock sport, military patrol, ski ballet, skijoring, sled-dog racing, speed skiing, and winter pentathlon. The games which were recognized by the IOC, but weren't a part of the Olympics are air sports, bandy, billiard sports, boules, bowling, bridge, chess, dance sport, golf, karate, korfball, lifesaving, motorcycle sport, mountain climbing, netball, orienteering, pelote basque, polo, powerboating, racquetball, roller sports, rugby, squash, sumo, surfing, tug of war, underwater sports, water skiing, and wushu. Games in the Ancient Olympics The Olympics were initially a one-day event until 684 BC, after which it became a three-day event. Again, after the fifth century BC, it became a five-day event. During the Ancient Olympics, any type of game related to running was given importance. The very first game in the Olympiad was the "Stade race", a sprint of about 190 meters. The "Pentathlon", unlike the modern pentathlon, was an event consisting of five competitions, namely "Stadion" or short foot race, Long Jump, Wrestling, Javelin Throw and Discus Throw. All five of them were considered beneficial for wars also and the training for them was part of the military practice. The athletes who used to compete in the pentathlon were considered to be very skillful. Except Wrestling, the rest four were held at the Stadion or the stadium. The Stade or Stadion race was an old foot race about 180 meters to 200 meter long. The place it was conducted was known as Stadion; from which the English word stadium was derived. It was very big and at a time about twenty athletes could run. On the blow of the trumpet, the runner stood in the standing position with their arms stretched out, unlike today's runners who take the crouch position when about to start. Officials used to stand at the start and at the end to see to it that there were no false starts or any kind of cheating. In the case of a tie, there used to be a re-run. Any runner who broke the rules was punished. The winner of the Stadion race was the champion of the whole Olympic games. The Diaulos race consisted of two Stades and was four hundred meter long. The Dolichos race consisted of seven to twenty four Stades. The other running events were Hippios and Hoplitodromos. Athletes of Javelin Throw, instead of holding the shaft of the Javelin itself, used leather strap called Amentum. Javelin was a spear like rod usually made out of metal and wood. In Discus Throw, the Discus was made of stone, iron, bronze or lead. This game is like the modern freestyle Discus Throw. Five throws were allowed to the Discus and Javelin Throw athletes and the longest one was counted. In the Long Jump, the participant to launch him or her and to increase the range of jump used weights called halters. The weights were held till the end of the jump and at the end they were ejected backwards. The jumps consisted of five different leaps, which is more similar to the modern triple jump. Here, too, the participants were given five attempts and the longest jump was considered. The Wrestling Ring was a sand pit and was held outside the Temple of Zeus. It was a game of great military importance as it was combated without weapons. The winner was declared when the opponent admits defeat. The boxers initially wrapped Himantes or soft straps, made out of Ox Hide, around their fingers, knuckles, and wrists to be able to give a firm punch. Later on the straps became hard which caused major injuries. The Sphairai were similar to Himantes and had pads inside to protect the knuckles, but on the outside they were really hard. After that Oxys were used which had many thick leather bands wrapped around the hand and forearms. The leather braces covered the complete hand so as to give a stronger punch. The old form of martial arts was known as Pankration and was started in the Olympics of 648 BC. The word Pankration was derived from two other words, pan and kratos. Pan meant all and kratos meant strength. It was a combination of boxing and wrestling. At that time, this was one of the hardest sports. Philosopher Plato had won this game twice. The Equestrian events consisted of chariot and horse races and were conducted in a flat and large open space, called Hippodrome. In both of them, there was great danger to both the driver and the horse, because there was a big probability of getting injured, which might even lead to death. The winner of these events was rewarded with a slave woman and a Cauldron (a big vessel). Problems faced by Olympic Games The Olympics have seen both its good and bad days during its journey from early B.C. to this day. Some of the major issues, which caused problems, were political involvement, doping, boycotting and violence. The most famous political involvement was by the German Nazis, in the 1936 Berlin's Summer Olympics. They used it as a platform to spread their ideas. Until the 1952 Helsinki's Summer Olympics, The Soviet Union didn't participate in the Olympics and had conducted international games event of their own named Spartakiads, since 1928. Many associations made by communists didn't participated in the Olympics and instead opted for the Spartakiads and some of the athletes belonging to these associations, who wished to participate were barred from the Olympics. In the 1968 Summer Olympics, which was held in Mexico City, another political controversy took place involving two African Americans, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, winners of the two hundred track and field races. They performed the black power salute on the victory stand. This angered the IOC's autocratic president Avery Brundage and he ordered the USOC to either send the two athletes back home or to withdraw the whole team of track and field. And because of this the athletes were send back home. Iran had ordered their athletes not to participate in any Olympic heat, semi finals or finals, which had participants from Israel. An Iranian judo wrestler didn't participate in the Olympic hear because there was an Israeli wrestler participating in it, in the 2004 Olympics. Performance enhancing drugs and doping are other major threats to the smooth running of the Olympic games. It was at the start of the twentieth century that the Olympics participants started using drugs to better their performance. The first recorded incident was that of Thomas J. Hicks who was given brandy and strychnine during the race, which helped him to get the winning position of the marathon, in the year 1904. When the drug abuse began to rise to a considerable level, a ban was levied in the mid 1960s. After that IOC, too, implemented the ban in 1967. Drugs abuse by athletes took its own toll. Enemark Jensen was believed to have died of heavy doping, when he collapsed in a cycling race in Rome. Over a period of thirty-eight years, seventy-four athletes were tested positive to doping and they were deprived of their medals. The very first athlete to have tested positive for drugs was Hans Gunnar Liljenwall at the 1968 Summer Olympics, after which his bronze medal was taken away from him. In spite of the tests, many athletes have taken the risk of taking drugs and were not caught in the process. Some of the East German females participants were given anabolic steroids by their coaches, as part of a government policy. The World Anti-doping Agency was formed in 1999 to fight doping. Many of the cross-county skiing and weightlifting medallists who were found guilty were stripped of their medals in the 2000 Summer Olympic games. Switzerland, Spain, and Netherlands boycotted the 1956 Melbourne Olympics due to the restriction set by the Hungarian Uprising by the Soviet Union. Because of the Suez Crisis, Egypt, Lebanon, Cambodia and Iraq also boycotted the Olympics. The number of nations that participated in the 1980 Moscow Olympics was merely eighty, which is the lowest after the 1956 Olympics. This was because United States and sixty-four other nations rebelled against Soviet invasion on Afghanistan. As revenge, the Soviet Union and fourteen other nations didn't participate in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, giving the reason that they fear the safety of their athletes. Violence was seen in the Olympics since its inception, although in ancient Greece, wars were brought to a halt during the games for the safety of the spectators and the athletes. The 1916 Olympics was cancelled due to the World War I and the 1940 Summer Olympics and the 1944 Winter Olympics were cancelled due to the World War II. A bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta killed two and injured one hundred and eleven people. The International Olympic Committee has been trying to make the Olympic events more friendly and peaceful. They to stop doping and to ensure a healthy competition also introduced Blood testing. The security has been tightened to combat any terrorist attacks. The efforts have been taken to retain the true sprit of the game.
Olympic Games in Ancient Greece The very first Olympic games were held in Olympia, Greece, in the year 776 BC and they were stopped in 393 AD. In the beginning, the games were conducted for participants from various cities of Ancient Greece. It was one of the important ceremonial rituals that were held at that time. The games where held in the sanctuary of Olympia and not on Mount Olympus, where Greek gods were assumed to dwell, and hence, the name Olympic was derived. Otherwise it would have been Olympian games. There are many stories about how the Olympic games originated. One of the stories is that Heracles, the well-known hero of that time had won a race in Olympia, after which he declared that the race would be held every four years. According to another myth, the king of Olympia, Pelops defeated Oenomaus to marry his daughter, Hippodamia. For this his former lover, Poseidon, helped him. In the beginning funeral sacrifices were offered to Pelops, but now there is no sacrifice, only offerings, at every Olympic games. While another story claims that king of Elis, Iphitos sought the help of Pythis, who was the Oracle at Delphi, to protect his kingdom from war and foreign invasion. Pythis ordered him to please the gods by holding games in honor of them. Others say that Zeus started it after he defeated Titans Cronus, the leader of a very powerful race of deities. The sanctuary of Zeus where the first Olympic games were staged has a twelve-meter tall gold and ivory statue of Zeus, the father of all the Greek Gods. This status was one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. The only game that was held in the beginning was Stadion or Stade race. It was an ancient two hundred yard foot race, which was considered to be of great supremacy, and the winner was given great respect and large amount of money. Participants had to pass five stakes, divisions in the racetrack, and there was no time limit for the race. Who ever reached the end line first was declared as the winner. Two stade, four hundred meter long, race was started in 724 BC, in the fourteen Olympic games, and was known as the Diaulos. The racetrack was made out of clay and sand. Hoplitodromos was the last running game added to the Olympics. In that, the athletes were made to wear Armour, carry shied and wear helmet. This was to demonstrate the military capacities and the Armour made it vulnerable to trip and fall. Other games that were added later on were wrestling, boxing, mixed martial arts, chariot racing, long jump, discus thro and javelin throw. The Spartans or the Megarian Orsippus started the tradition of athelitic nudity in 720 BC. As many people fought for the authority of the sanctuary hence it was considered a matter of prestige to conduct the games. At first, slaves and women were not allowed as spectators or participants. Only free men were allowed to participate in the Olympics. They came from all the states of Greece and when the word started spreading, people started coming from as far as the Mediterranean and the Black sea. Participants had to file their name in the list and had to meet certain standards to qualify for the games. Only youth were allowed to participate and every participant had to take an oath that he had been in training for the past ten months, before the statue of Zeus. The Heraea Games were started for women and featured foot games like races, just like for men. It was started in the Olympic stadium, was administrated by a group of sixteen women gathered by Hippodameia. All the games, including Olympic Games, which was the most famous, were a subordinate of Panhellenic games. The interval between each game was two to four years, but at least one game was held once in four years. Historian, Ephorus, named the time period between two Olympic games as Olympiad. Theodosius I or his grandson, Theodosius II ended the tradition of the Olympic games in 435 AD, when they wanted to establish Christianity as a state religion. An earthquake also destroyed the sanctuary of Olympia in the sixth century AD. Heroes of the Ancient Olympic Games The ancient Olympics were an event where participants from all over Greece and as far as the Mediterranean participated. It started in 776 BC. Married women and slaves were banned from participating and watching the Olympics in ancient Greece. Only free young males had the right to be a part of the Olympic games, despite their social status. Many famous personalities participated and supported the games. This was a very prestigious event and the winner was awarded with an Olive Wreath, also known as Kotinos and big celebrations in their home place. They were awarded by large sum of money and poets used to write poems to signify their talents. The king of Macedonia and son of Amyndas, Alexander I; the general from Megara, Orsippos; philosopher Plato; philosopher Socrates; philosopher Pythagoras; philosopher Aristotle; philosopher Democritus; the member of the royal family from Rhodes, Diagoras; the father of medicine, Hippocrates; shepherd Polymnistor, are some of the well-known athletes of ancient Greece. Goddess of fertility and Priestess of Demeter were honored during the games and was given a seating position just next to the stadium altar. Only married women were not allowed to be spectators or participants at the Olympic games. But unwed women were allowed to watch the events. Whoever dared to break the rules was thrown from the top of the cliff. Women were finally given a chance to participate in the Herean Games, which was conducted to honor the wife of Zeus, Hera. It started with foot races initially. Hippodameia made an administrators' committee consisting of sixteen women. The sixteen females were considered to be peacemakers from Elis and Pisa. Among the well-known athletes, Milon was a very versatile athlete. He was the pupil of philosopher and mathematician, Pythagoras. He was from Kroton, South Italy. He had won six Wreaths in Olympic Wrestling, which still remains one of a kind victory till this date. His first victory was in the youth wrestling event and the rest five were in the men-wrestling event. He won ten championships in the Isthmian games, nine championships in the Nemean games and seven championships in the Pythain games. He even won in many of the other events. Also born in Kroton, South Italy, Astylos had won six victory Olive Wreaths in a total of three Olympic games. He was very good at the Stade race and Diaulos race. He represented Kroton in the first Olympic and he won in that, for which the residents of Kroton honored him. After that, he took part in two of the Olympics as a citizen of Syracuse. The Krotons disgraced him by tearing down his statue and replacing his house with a prison. Leonidas won four times consecutively at the Olympiads. He was from Phodes and was the most well known runner. He was a champion in Stade race, Armour race and Dialous race. In all, he won twelve Olympics Wreaths. He was a great hero for the people. The first woman known to be a winner at the Olympics was Kyniska of Sparta. She was the daughter of King Archidamos. In the 96th and the 97th Olympic games, she also won the horse chariot race. Melankomas was from Karia and was a winner in the Olympic boxing championship. He was a very hard working athlete. He used to do vigorous training by fighting for two days continuously with out lowering his hands. He was known for his swift moves and he used to win without even getting a single blow from his opponent. Discontinued Sports in Olympics The Olympics had lots of games, which are no longer included in today's Olympics. The games, which were once a part of the Olympics, are golf, polo, rugby, tug-of-war, cricket, croquet, jeu de paume, power boating, rackets, rink-hockey, lacrosse, basque pelote, roque, and water skiing. Golf is one of the finest games in the world and is played in almost hundred countries of the world. It has been considered as an international game from the mid-19th century. Golf was held in the 1900 and 1904 Olympics. In the 1900 Olympics, there were separate games for men and women. Polo is the oldest mounted sport, dating back to many centuries. It is believed to have originated in Asia especially in India, China and ancient Persia. Polo was part of the Olympic games in 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924 and 1936. Two teams who use netted sticks to pass and catch the rubber ball in order to score play lacrosse. Cricket is the second popular game in the world and it is supposed to have originated in the thirteenth century. Two teams consisting of eleven members who play it using a bat, ball and wicket play this game. The match is played on a flat and open grass long strip of field named as pitch. Stumps are three vertical wooden sticks placed parallel to each other, at both the ends of the pitch and two small wooden pieces are placed on top the three sticks. This structure is known as the wicket. The bowler, from the fielding team, aims a leather ball at one of the wickets. The batsman, from the opposing team, tries to hit the ball away from the wicket, with the help of a wooden bat. The other team members of the fielding team spread themselves on the field in order to catch the ball, which was hit by the batsman. If they are successful in catching the ball before it hits the ground, the batsman is out. In the meanwhile, after hitting the ball with the bat, the batsman runs from one wicket to another and the numbers of runs made are counted. The winning teams scores the maximum number of runs. Croquet is a game of French origin. It utilizes a mallet and balls and is played in a grass arena. The mallet through hoops, which are planted in the field, hits the balls. It was part of the 1900 Summer Olympics. Roque is the American version of croquet. It was included in the 1904 United States Summer Olympics. Initially tug-of-war was considered as a product of the track and field athletics program, but later it was given the status of a separate sport. Tug-of-war was included in the Olympic games of 1900, 1904, 1906, 1908, 1912, and 1920. Jue de paume means game of palm and is the French version of lawn tennis. It is played without racquets, as the player hits the ball with his hands. Jue de paume was added in the 1908 Summer Olympics. In Basque pelote, two opponents team face each other and there is a net between the two. Both the team exchange ball and if one player drops the ball, the other team scores. It is also similar to lawn tennis. It was supposed to have originated in the Greek era. In the 1900 Paris Olympic games, Basque pelote was a part of it. Rugby is the earlier versions of football; here the ball is not carried but kicked. It originated in mid-19th century in Britain. The rugby union was considered to be beginner version where as rugby league was considered to be the professional version. In 1995, rugby union was made an open sport by the International Rugby Board. Rugby union was a part of the 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924 Olympics games. Water skiing started in 1922. The athletes straps boards on their feet and get pulled by a powerboat around a set of course. Cycling Great -- Lance Armstrong Lance Armstrong, born on September 18, 1971 is a professional road-racing cyclist. He started his career by winning in an adult competition at the age of twelve. He was initially a tri-athlete and was ranked #1 in 1987-88 Tri-Fred. He attained the status of professional tri-athlete and in 1989 and 1990; he became the sprint course triathlon champion. He finished the race at fourteenth position in the 1992 Summer Olympics. He became the youngest rider to get the World Road Race championship. He won the most prestigious race, Tour de France, seven times consecutively, from 1999-2005. By this, he broke the previous record set by Miguel Indurian, who won the race five times consecutively. ABC titled him as the Wide World Sports Athlete of the Year in 1999. Sports Illustrated magazine honored him by naming him as the Sportsman of the year in 2002. For four consecutively years, from 2002-2005 he was named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year. BBC, in 2003, gave him the Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award. He underwent brain and testicular surgery for getting treatment for testicular cancer, in 1996. The nonseminomatous testicular cancer was detected at the third stage and the cancer had spread to his brain, lungs and abdomen. His chances of living were only three percent and he opted for a dangerous chemotherapy so as to resume his career. His tremendous recovery and his success inspired him to lay the foundation of his charity, Lance Armstrong Foundation, in 1997. He went back to cycling after three years to win for the first time in Tour de France title by beating Alex Zulle by seven minutes and thirty-seven seconds. He was yet to win over Marco Pantani and Jan Ullrich who were big personalities in cycling and didn't attend due to some health issues. Armstrong faced both of them in 2000, and Armstrong defeated both of them by six minutes and two seconds. He continued to do so in the next four consecutive years. Some people doubt his achievements and say that Armstrong took performance-enhancing drugs to win in some cases. But none of them could be verified with good evidence. He supported his victories by stating that he had trained for months together in Spain. He aimed only for the Tour de France and didn't participate in any other competition, which gave him the chance to train for one hundred and eighty days at a stretch. During that period former cyclist Chris Carmichael, who was also his coach, trained him. Armstrong was able to retain higher cadence in a lower gear when compared to past champions who utilized a high gear and brute strength. High cadence leads to less leg muscles fatigue when compared to lower cadence, which leads to severe leg muscle contractions. He also had a high aerobic threshold. His high pedaling cadence was attributed to his low lactate level, which was his most unusual quality. Although his team wasn't that strong initially in the Tour de France, his later victories brought up the team level. Armstrong is part of the US Postal Service cycling team. But his team member weren't a match to his caliber and often he was isolated. He strengthened the team by making sponsors and equipment suppliers to work in harmony. Instead of getting his bicycle parts being designed by different companies who hardly interact with each other, he made the sponsors and suppliers to work closely so as get complete advantage of all the resources. Many in the cycling circuit later adapted this approach. Born as Lance Edward Gunderson, appeared in the movies Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, in 2004, and You, Me and Dupree, in 2006. Armstrong took his retirement at the closing of the 2005 Tour de France racing event, on July 24, 2005. After retirement he concentrated on his charity foundation and has taken part in many marathons. Babe Ruth: A Short Bio George Herman Ruth, Jr. is the legendary baseball player of the United States. He had many nicknames like Babe, The Sultan of Swat, The Colossus of Clout and The Great Bambino. An American Major League baseball player, Ruth was one of the famous baseball players of all times and according to many he is the no.1 player in history. Born to Kate Schamberger Ruth and George Herman Ruth, Babe Ruth was a native of Maryland. He was admitted in St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, where he met Brother Matthias who cultivated his interest in the game of baseball. He taught him to hit, field and even pitch. Ruth started his career as a starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, he spent most of his an outfielder with the New York Yankees, starting form 1920. With the Red Sox he won eighty-nine games and lost forty-six. He played as an outfielder in one hundred and eleven games and he broke the record of Ned Williamson by hitting twenty-nine runs, which is the maximum number of runs in a single season, in 1919. Red Sox owner sold Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1920. He turned out to be the golden duck for the team as in the next fifteen season, he not only lead the league by walks, runs, home runs, and RBI but also placed it in the top ten in slugging percentage, batting average, and total bases. The team even won seven American League Pennants and four World Series titles. In 1921, he made a record by hitting fifty nine home runs in a single season which he broke himself by hitting sixty in 1927. Nobody else could break this record for the next thirty-four years. Ruth also appeared in many movies and he became a very popular media figure. He featured in the silent era films like Speedy and Pride of the Yankees. Ruth's health began deteriorating in 1946 when he developed a malignant tumor that spread over his neck and his left carotid artery. He received many treatments during which he lost eighty pounds. At that time Dr. Brian Hutchings had developed a new drug named teropterin, which showed improvement in leukemia patients. Ruth was induced with this experimental drug, which gave him headaches, hoarseness and swallowing problems. From June 1947, he was given injections, which proved to bring improvements in his health. His case was also discussed at the fourth Annual internal research congress, but now his conditions is being recognized as nasopharyngeal carcinoma, which is a very rare tumor located near the Eustachian tube for which the patient should be given radiation therapy and concurrent chemotherapy. During his marriage to Helen Woodford, Ruth adopted a daughter. But after his separation with his first wife, whom he married in 1914, in early 1920s, she died in a house fire. He married actress Claire Hodgson on April 17, 1929, with whom he stayed till death. Ruth liked to spend his winters in Florida playing golf. After his retirement from the game he settled in a winter beachfront home in Florida. Babe Ruth expired at the age of fifty-three, on August 16, 1948. He was elected as the baseball's Greatest Player Ever in 1969, on professional Baseball's hundredth anniversary. The Sporting News in 1998 ranked babe Ruth No.1 in the list of Baseball's 100 Greatest Players. In 1999, his fans named him to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. The legend called Tiger Woods Born on December 30, 1975, Eldrick Tiger Woods is the world's #1 golfer from America. He was born to Earl and Kultida Woods. He is of Cablinasian ethnicity because of his multiracial background as his ancestors belong to Thailand, China and Dutch. He is a follower of Buddhism. Woods was very smart from his childhood. He started to play golf from the age of two. Other than that, he anchored with Comedian Bob Hope on a television show "The Mike Douglas Show". When he was five, he appeared on ABC's "That's Incredible" and also on "Golf Digest". When he was nine, he won the Junior World Golf Championships for the first time in the youngest category and following that, he won the title nine more times consecutively from 1988-1991. At fifteen, he was the youngest to win US Junior Amateur Champion. He won the same title for the second time the following year along with the Golf Digest Amateur Player of the Year. His first encounter with PGA Tour major was in 1995. He won a silver medal in The Open Championship. He became the youngest to win The Masters, in April 1997. Tiger won twenty Masters in total. On June 15, 1997, he was honored with number 1 rank in the official World Golf Ranking. His victory in the Memorial Tournament in June 1999, proved Tiger as one of the greatest golf personalities in the history. For the second time he was named the PGA Tour Player of the Year. In 2000 US Open, with fifteen shot win, Woods broke the record by winning nine US Open records. After Lee Trevino, he was the second man to win Triple Crown of Golf in a single year. His career graph declined a bit in 2003-04. He fell to second position in the PGA Tour money list and nor did he win a major. He was the number one golfer for two hundred consecutive weeks, which ended in September 2005. Some said that misunderstanding with his coach Butch Harmon was the reason to his slump and others blamed the stress on his left knee which received a surgery. In 2005, he returned to his old form by winning the Buick Invitational and Ford Championship. He was once again given the top rank in Official World Golf Rankings. Tiger's father's death due to longtime illness affected him a lot. He took a break for nine weeks and made a comeback in the 2006 US Open. He got a two stroke victory at the Buick Invitational in 2007. Woods was known for wearing his signature red t-shirt in the final match of his tournaments. His thinking was that it brought assertiveness and aggression. His individual achievements include official money PGA Tour for fifty seven times, World Golf Championships for thirteen times and Major Championship for twelve times. Looking back, he turned into a professional golfer in August 1996. The same year he earned $60 million from endorsements of products like Nike and Titleist. The next year he was named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated and PGA Rookie of the Year. Tiger won his eleventh and twelfth professional golf championship at the age of thirty. Among the list of top 10 in career PGA Tour wins and career major wins, he is the only player who is active. He received the PGA Tour Player of the year award eight times and was on the money list for seven times. Four times he was named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year. He was only one golfer who held the world number 1 title for the longest time period and for most number of weeks. In 2006, Woods was the highest paid athlete with an income of $ 100 million from matches and advertisements. Tiger Woods married Elin Nordegren who is a Swedish model, on October 5, 2004. They bought a $ 39 million property in Jupiter Island, Florida. The have a daughter named Sam Alexis Woods. Tennis Legends: Steffi Graf Stefanie Maria Graf is a former World number 1 player in women's tennis. Her performance depended mostly in her powerful forehand because of which she was nicknamed Fraulein Forehand. She even cultivated an impressive slice backhand and consistent volley. Her serve was so accurate and powerful that it travelled at the speed of 180 km per hr, which was one of the fastest serve. She not only had an amazing footwork but also her strokes were very powerful. Graf's first tournament as a professional was played in October 1982, Germany. In that match, she lost to Tracy Austin, who she defeated twelve years later. Although she didn't win any titles for the next three years, her rank was steadily increasing and her skills improved rapidly. Defeating Chris Evert won her first tour title in April 1986. When tennis was re-introduced in 1988 Olympic games after forty years, Steffi Graf took full advantage of it by winning the Olympic gold medal in the singles. The same year she won all the four Grand Slam singles titles, making her the only women tennis player to do so. This feat of hers' was declared as the Golden Slam. She is also the only female to win all the four Grand Slams, Wimbledon Open, French Open, Australian Open and US Open, for four times each. During this period the US Open and Australian Open were played on grass unlike now where all the venues have clay court. So Graf has the credit of playing on all kinds of tennis courts. From French Open in 1987 to US Open in 1996, she played a total of thirty-six Grand Slam singles tournaments, in which she made it to the finals of twenty-nine tournaments and won twenty-one of them. For three hundred and seventy seven weeks Graf was ranked the Women's Tennis Association's Number 1 player. Any male or female tennis player could never set this record. She won a total of seven Wimbledon singles titles and six French Open singles titles. From the 1987 French Open to 1990 French Open, Graf made it to the finals of thirteen Grand Slams consecutively and won nine of the thirteen. A panel of judges of the Associated Press declared her as the greatest female tennis player of the twentieth century, in December 1999. Graf's twenty-second Grand Slam title was her final one in the 1999 French Open. She retired in the same year and became the highest ranked player to retire at third position in the world. Her father Peter Graf, who was an aspiring tennis coach, was responsible for introducing her to the world of tennis. Although her training started at the age of three, she began playing on the court from the age of four. Her father kept a close watch on her routine and lifestyle. She was always expected to practice and that was the reason why she didn't socialize much. But this narrow focus drastically improved her performance. But later on in life, she was involved in a controversy of Graf tax scandal as she had some issues with her father. After retiring from the tennis circuit in 1999, she began dating Andre Agassi, who himself is an ex-World number 1 male tennis player. They both got married in October 2001 and Steffi gave birth to their son Jaden Gil, four days after their marriage. Their second child, a daughter, Jaz Elle, was born in October 2003. Tennis Legends: Martina Navratilova Martina Navratilova is an ex-World number 1 female Tennis Player. Born on October 18, 1956 in Czechoslovakia, she became the citizen of America in 1981.Her stepfather Miroslav Navratil was her first coach. Martina won the Czech republic national tennis championship at the age of fifteen. At the age of seventeen, she got her very first professional singles title when she played the match in Orlando, Florida. She became a professional tennis player in 1975. In 1975's Grand Slam singles tournaments, she was one of the finalist in both the Australian Open and French Open, but she lost in both the finals to Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Chris Evert, respectively. The same year, she even lost in the semi finals of the US Open the same year after which she made her mind to get the green card of United States. In 1978, Navratilova got her first victory in the Grand Slam singles at Wimbledon and at the same she acquired the world number 1 rank after defeating Chris Evert. Navratilova was a women of great power and aggression because of which she raised the level of competition. Initially she was on the heavier side and she had to struggle a lot to get into shape for tennis. In this regard Nancy Lieberman, a basketball player, helped her. She underwent severe levels of fitness and exercising which finally got her into shape. She even learned the technique to use graphite racquets, which made her one of the most dominant tennis player. She again beat Evert in the 1981 Grand Slam singles, in Australia Open. The next year she won the French and Wimbledon Open. In 1983, she won in three out of four Grand Slam events. She had scored the best ever-professional winning percentage as a tennis player. She retaliated back by winning the French Open Grand Slam of the year 1984, which she had lost in 1983. This superb victory was called the Grand Slam by the president of the International Tennis Federation, Philippe Chatrier. From 1982-1984, she lost only six of the singles matches. Navratilova won women's doubles titles in all the four Grand Slams of 1984. From 1985-1987, she won six out of eleven women's singles final Grand Slam tournaments. Steffi Graff started to play in 1987 and from the beginning she gave a tough competition to Martina Navratilova. Graff defeated her in her first Grand slam in the finals of French Open. Navratilova gained back her title by defeating Graff in the 1987 Wimbledon Open. Navratilova's won her final Grand Slam singles in 1990. Her name was included in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in the year 2000. The left-handed athlete was known to be the greatest tennis player, be it singles, doubles or mixed doubles. She was the second best female athlete of the twentieth century according to Steve Flink. From 1965 to 2005, she was named as the greatest female tennis player by Tennis magazine. In her career, she won a total of thirty one Grand Slam women's doubles titles, which is also a world record, eighteen Grand Slam singles titles, ten Grand Slam mixed doubles titles and nine Wimbledon women's singles titles. She has won one hundred and sixty seven single tournaments and one hundred and seventy seven doubles tournaments, which is an open era record. Navratilova won seventy-four matches consecutively, which is the third longest winning streak in women's tennis history. Along with Margaret Smith Court and Maureen Connolly Brinker, Navratilova holds the record for the maximum consecutive Grand Slam singles tournament championships. Soccer Legends -- David Beckham Born on May 2, 1975, David Robert Joseph Beckham is an English soccer player who plays for Real Madrid and the England National Soccer Team. He made his debut at he age of seventeen. He signed up with Manchester United and played a vital role in dominating the FA Premier League in the 1990s and 200s. He left them and signed up for Real Madrid in 2003. He was the captain of the English national team for six years, from November 2000 to July 2006. David Beckham was born in London, England. His father, David Edward Alan Ted Beckham was a kitchen fitter and a hairdresser. Beckham's maternal grandfather was a Jew and was greatly influenced by him, but he admitted that he doesn't follow any faith in particular. His father was a great fan of Manchester United and his son inherited this passion. David Beckham's talent surfaced when he won a talent search competition held by the FC Barcelona. He was a team member of the Ridgeway Rovers, a team that was coached by his father. He played for the club Tottenham Hotspur, which was also his first club. He took training from the Bradenton Preparatory Academy and Manchester United's Youth Training Scheme. In 1992, he played for the Manchester United's team as a substitute. After that, he signed his very first professional contract. Beckham became a household name when he scored a marvelous goal in August 1996, against Wimbledon. His debut in World Cup was on September 1, 1996 in the England vs. Moldova match. PPA Young voted him as the Player of the Year in that year. In the 1998 FIFA World Cup, he played all the matches and in the finals his team played with France. Due to his bad performance in it, the media and supporters, who blamed him for England's elimination, accused him. He even received death threats and the whole incident was the story line of his Adidas advertisement. England won the FA Cup and Champions League in the 1998-99 seasons and David Beckham was a part of that United Team. Although he was criticized from time to time, about his World Cup performance, he didn't give up and provided significant performance and goals afterwards. United forgave him when he was the reason behind the victory at the league championship. In 1999, he won the European Footballer of the Year award and FIFA World Player of the Year title. But England's defeat in Euro 2000 brought back the criticism from the supporters. Union team's manager Kevin Keegan resigned on November 15, 2000, following which David Beckham was made the captain of the team. Under his captaincy, England qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals. His superb performance in the finals inspired many of the poor performing team member. He again won the FIFA World Player of the Year award and BBC presented him the Sports Personality of the Year, in 2001. Beckham broke his second metatarsal bone in his left foot on April 10, 2002. The media speculated that the injury was done on purpose as it involved Aldo Duscher of Argentina who was in the opponents team and both the teams were going to face each other in the World Cup. He became the highest paid player in the world in 2002, when he signed a 3-year contract with Manchester United in May. He was given extra money to buy rights for his images. Advertisements, endorsement deals were meant huge money for Beckham. After the recovery from the injury, David Beckham returned to play at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He got a winning goal, which knocked out Argentina. Later England was knocked out by Brazil. He was a victim to another injury in 2002-03 seasons and he was unable to play in the Manchester Team. His terms worsened with the manager Sir Alex Ferguson when he threw a boot at Beckham which injured his eye, following a lost match. Beckham's performance was again criticized in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. England lost in the quarterfinals and Beckham step down from captaincy. His final match was with Real Madrid on June 17th, 2007. In his career of eleven years, he made a total of two hundred and sixty six appearances and got sixty-one goals. He has six Premiership titles, one UEFA Champions League, two FA Cups, and one FA Youth Cup to his credit. Boxing Legend -- Muhammad Ali Born on January 17, 1942, Muhammad Ali was one of the fearful boxers of his time. He has won the World Heavyweight Championship thrice and also a gold metal at the Olympics. BBC and the Sports Illustrated gave him the title of Sportsman of the Century. His birth name was Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., named after his father who was a billboard painter by profession, and his birthplace is Louisville, Kentucky. Muhammad Ali changed his name after converting to Islam in 1975, after which he joined Nation of Islam. Joe E. Martin, a Louisville police officer, was his first encouragement when he caught Ali fighting over his stolen bicycle. He used to do a show named Tomorrow's Champions, with Martin and at the same time went to Stoner's Gym, as Stoner was a better coach. Stoner was Ali's coach for his amateur career. Under the coaching of Stone, Ali won six Kentucky Golden Gloves titles, two national Golden Gloves titles, one Amateur Athletic Union national title and 1960 Olympic gold medal in light heavyweight. In his amateur career, he had hundred wins and five losses. After the victory at the Olympics, Muhammad Ali went back to Louisville to start his professional career. His first victory in the professional career was a six-round decision over Tunney Hunsaker. Some of boxers who were defeated by Ali are Jim Robinson, Tony Esperti, Donnie Fleeman, George Logan, Alonzo Johnson, Lamar Clark, Willi Besmanoff, Henry Cooper and Doug Jones. When Ali converted to Islam, he refused to respond to his surname as he was told that that was the name given by white men to his slave ancestors. His refusal to react to his name and to join the American military, created a controversy and he was banned to fight in United States of America in the year 1966. After which he defended his title 9 times in England. He defeated Brian London, Karl Mildenberger and Henry Cooper. In 1967, Ali was deprived of his title by the professional boxing commission and wasn't given the permission for three years to fight professionally. He was sentenced to jail for five years for refusing to serve the army. He began fighting in 1970 and in 1971; the Supreme Court reversed his conviction. In 1970, a feature film was released based on a boxing match between Rocky Marciano and Ali. And in 2005, the super fight and a documentary were also released on a two disc DVD. The Fight of the Century was named after the fight between Muhammad Ali and Jon Frazier. They fought on March 8, 1971 and were one of the most famous matches and most eagerly anticipated. Both the fighters were undefeated and extremely skillful. Frazier won by defeating Ali with a hard left hook in the fifteenth round. Due to this defeat Ali saw his first professional loss. He won the title back again by defeating George Foreman on October 30, 1974. This fight is popularly known as The Rumble in the Jungle. This match was considered as a political symbol and Ali was made representative of the Black who was fighting against the white power. This fight was also the main theme of the documentary "When We Were Kings", which won the Academy Award in 1996. It was given the seventh rank in a television program named The 100 Greatest Sporting Moments. Ali's fight with Chuck Wepner, on March 24, 1975, inspired the movie Rocky that won the Academy award. Ali announced his retirement on June 27, 1979, but it was for a very short period of time. He made a comeback on October 2, 1980 and fought with Larry Holmes for the World Heavyweight title. After the match he was diagnosed for a hole in the brain membrane. A few matches after that, Ali finally retired in 1981. In his career, he had won fifty-six matches and lost five. He won the title of world Heavyweight Boxing Champion three times. During his career, he had defeated almost all the top Heavyweight champions and this period was named as the Golden Age of Heavyweight boxing. Ali was diagnosed with Parkinsonism in October 1983 and finally diagnosed for Pugilistic Parkinson's syndrome. Doctors do not accept that boxing was responsible for his conditions. Mohammed Ali now lives with his wife, Yolanda Lonnie Ali, in Scottsdale, Arizona. In 1998, the Ring magazine honored Ali by giving him the title of the Greatest Heavyweight of All time. His daughter, Laila Ali, has won championship titles of IBA, IWBF and WIBA. Ali has always contested in the heavyweight category and his height is 6' 3''. He was an active and quick boxer and he applied this strategy to avoid punches instead of shielding the face with high raised hands. Michael Jordan: A Short Bio Michael Jeffery Jordan is the most respected name in the world of basketball. Born on February 17, 1963, in New York City, Jordan was responsible for making National Basketball Association or the NBA famous, during the 1980s and 1990s. He is the fourth child of his parents, James R. Jordan, Sr. and Deloris Jordan. He developed his interest for basketball and baseball in Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington. Initially he was rejected because of his inadequate height. Jordan grew from 5' 11'' to 6' 3'' in just few months with the help of intensive training to get into the basketball team. He got a basketball scholarship in 1981 from the University of North Carolina because of his impressive records in schools. In the 1982 NCAA Championship game he made the game winning jump shot, which he describes as the major turning point in his career as a basketball sportsman. He started his professional career in 1984 by joining NBA's Chicago Bulls. He immediately became a public image by his well-known scoring and leaping skills. Just after a month after his joining, Jordan was featured on the cover page of Sports Illustrated with the title 'A Star is Born'. He was nicknamed Air Jordan after his airiness when he performed the famous slam-dunk from the foul line. He got his first NBA championship in the year 1991 and became a well-known defensive player after that. He made a hat trick by winning the NBA championship consecutively three times from 1991-1993. In October 1993, he took a temporarily retired from basketball, to pursue his interest in baseball and also because he lost interest in basketball due to his father's murder the same year, to join back in 1995 again. He made a hat trick again by winning the NBA championships from 1196-1998. He took a break again in 1999 to returned back again in 2001, but this time he joined the Washington Wizards. He played with the team till 2003. A day before a match against the New York Knicks, Michael Jordan was seen gambling in the Atlantic City. A year before, he said to have lost $ 57,000 in gambling. When asked about this on a television channel, he said that he would never risk his family and career to gambling. Jordan was part of two Olympic gold medal winning American basketball teams. His team won the first gold medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics and the second one was in the 1992 Summer Olympic games. He set a record in NBA by making the highest career regular season scoring average of 30.1 points per game. On a lighter note, Michael Jordan was a hot name in the world of advertisement. Some of the brands, which used his name, are Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Chevrolet, Gatorade, Hanes, Ball Park Franks, etc. Nike made a signature for Jordan named the Air Jordan. He was shown in the Looney Tones Cartoon, which also made him appear in the feature film "Space Jam" in 1996. The name Air Jordan itself became a great marketing tool. The television ratings increased rapidly when his match was aired and every time he left the team, it would automatically lower. His third retirement was the final retirement after which he played golf in various charity tournaments. He even started his line of clothing named after him. He was made the managing member of Basketball operations of the Charlotte Bobcats in June 2005 and is still working with them till the current date. He has two sons, Jeffery Michael and Marcus James, and one daughter, Jasmine, from his marriage to Juanita Vanoy. His individual achievements are fourteen NBA All-Star Game appearances, ten All-NBA First Team Designations, ten scoring titles, nine All-Defensive First Team Honors, five NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, three stealing titles, and the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1988. ESPN named him the Greatest North America Athlete of the 20th century in 1999. Jordan is one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Summer Sports Camps for Kids After a long school year the kids wait and are excited about the much needed summer vacation. But often times the excitement proves to be short-lived as many are left wondering about what to do actually. The answer is Summer Sports Camps which are provides lot of fun and excitement to the kids and makes their summer memorable. Summer camps for kids usually include activities such as swimming, hiking, hockey, soccer, tennis, volleyball and what not. The list usually consists of sports that can be played in summer season. Kids can also join beach camps that summer fun to kids near the beachside. The favorite beach sports like volleyball and soccer are enjoyed to its full. Some kids love playing Frisbee on the beach sands and of course the most favorite summer past time for kids, swimming. Some organizations also have competitions to increase the enthusiasm of the kids. At the same time the camps also gives the training to kids on health, fitness and sports. Summer sports camps are organized by some big sports universities who hire high profile state coaches and even Olympic stars for guest coaching. These camps are a great place to learn professional sports from experience personalities. The training provides kids with a right mental attitude and good health. At the same time these camps also improves the interpersonal skills of the kids as they interact with kids from various ethnic backgrounds and cultures. For some these camps fine-tune their skills. Overnight camps are usually arranged for kids above the age of ten years. The camps are set up near water body. The activities include mostly water sports. The camps provide meals and lodging on shared basis. But in day camps the food has to be bought at an additional cost or have to be brought from home. The activities also include night time fire near the beach with special dinners. The camps last from a week to up to the duration of the summer sometimes. But as they provide 24 hour care to the public, they are little more expensive compared to other camps. Given a choice most kids prefer overnight camps as they offer complete experience and are full of fun. The day camps on the other hand offer day time programs only. The duration of the camp can be as little as a week to as long as the complete summer. The longer camps are usually expensive but the good thing about this camp is that the kids are able to return to home every night and tell their tales of adventure and fun. There is variety of summer camps which caters to special needs of different type of kids. A wilderness camp is designed to help kids get back to the nature with fun and adventure along the path. These camps are one of the most fun filled camps. One of the other kinds of camps is a band camp which aims at improving the musical abilities of the kids. The camp combines focused learning on different instruments but at the same time also provides the fun that is provided by other camps like wilderness camps. Art camps offer learning visual and performing arts along with outdoor activities. Church and Community Camps which are hosted in the hometowns have both overnight and daytime programs. The activities include sports, field trips, swimming and religious lessons and much more. Depending on one's taste there is no dearth of summer camps for kids, they have a huge choice to select from. Summer Activities for Kids Often parents are left wondering how to make their kids busy in summer time. Some kids end up spending boring summers and some kids take full advantage of it mainly due to their parents smart planning. There are plenty of choices available to make your kid's summer full of fun and excitement and a memorable one. One of the best ways to make the summer fun filled is to buy swing and slide for your kids. But make sure you buy a range that allows you to add different accessories to the frame to serve the needs of growing children. One can add spice by having a choice of wing seats, and then add a slide, a goal net. One can also go for tarpaulin shelf which makes a perfect roof for a kid's den. The choice is up to the parents as to how kids would like to swing, single or in groups. Another good summer pastime is to let kids enjoy some domestic activities like making cookies of their names. They can also make numeric cookies like their age to invoke interest in them. The advantage of this is, the kids have both fun and they also learn at the same time. The enamel tin that stores these cutters can be found at any cooking shop. One of the better ideas for summer is the paddling pool. The pools are big enough to hold several children. The pool comes with ground sheet, filter and cover. One can also purchase a ladder to help kids who are too small to climb. Another marvelous idea is kite flying. Buy your kids a kite making kit. This not only keeps the kids busy and happy but it also increases their creativity. Kids love flying kids. So once the weather is ideal for flying kids, take your kids out for flying kites. Nobody can beat swimming when it comes to summer sports. It's the best way to beat the heat in summer along with unlimited fun it offers. It is also a good form of exercise which tones up the body muscles. For those kids who don't know swimming, summers are best time to learn it when many schools and camps offer swimming classes. If your kids know swimming, you can enroll them in swimming competitions held by community and schools. Apart from that sending your kids for regular swimming practice in summer also helps them fine tune their swimming skills. Another idea is to install giant snakes and ladders in your lawn. The players can themselves act as the counter and move up ladders and down snakes. The game would need at least two layers. The game is a lot of fun for kids of any age as they will enjoy running around. Kids can also be enrolled in basketball camps. Some prestigious schools also invite state level coaches and Olympic players as special guests to train kids. This is the best time to learn basketball from a professional perspective. Tennis is another summer time sport which can keep kids busy in summer. The game is packed with excitement, requires and builds a lot of stamina. Many popular international players started playing tennis since they were kids and earned a name for them in the sport. The kids learn things easily, so this is the right age to tap their talent and make a future out of the summer sports.
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