When people think of sports in Brazil, soccer is the first thing that comes to mind.
However, there are many Brazilian sports that are played throughout the country, for pleasure and for competition. Both men and women compete in a variety of athletic competitions and win titles.
Brazil is a fun-loving culture and cheering for sports events is part of that culture. They love the competition and having a hero to cheer on. It is also a symbol of achievement for a country that has not always had something to celebrate.
Brazil is best known for its soccer and with good reason. Brazil has the team with the most World Cup titles and has trained many players that have gone on to win in other countries. When you think of soccer, you think of Brazil.
Volleyball is the second most popular of the sports in Brazil. The country is also the most successful in the sport. Both men and women's teams are ranked number one in the FIVB world rankings.
Brazil has done well in beach volleyball as well as the regular court kind of volleyball. It has won in the World Tour and taken medals in the Olympics. Brazil holds its own professional competitions for both men and women.
Like with anything else they are involved in, Brazil is a leader in many world martial arts tournaments. They participate in different styles, including some forms that originated in the country.
Capoeira is an old form of martial arts that began in Brazil. While Brazilian Jiu Jitsu did not originate as one of the sports in Brazil, it has had new styles and techniques added.
Footvolley originated in Brazil back in 1965 when there was a football ban in place. Players uses a football but played on the volleyball court when police came around. It began in Rio de Janeiro but spread to other cities.
Footvolley began with teams of five players but was reduced down to two and that is the current team today. Some professional Brazil soccer players have played footvolley for a celebrity match.
The rules are the same as for beach volleyball except you can't use your hands. A football is used instead of a volleyball. The sport has gained attention throughout Europe and the US and international competitions are held in various cities.
Skateboarding is a popular sport in Brazil with an estimated three million participants, according to a study done in 2003 by Datafolha. The majority of skateboarders live in the state of Sao Paulo and are male between the ages of fourteen and twenty-four.
Brazil has several top athletes in the international competitions for skateboarding. They are also competitive in inline skating and swimming. Sailing and equestrian competitions are growing, but not as accessible to everyone in the country.
Boxing is growing in popularity in the northeast area of the country. Brazil has produced world champions in what is considered the poor man's sport.
Surfing is one of the most popular water sports in Brazil due to the fact that the country has some excellent surfing beaches. Surfing competitions are held on some of these beaches. Brazil has produced some talented bodyboarders, too.
Brazil has created several sports and perfected others. One such sport is frescobol, which is similar to cricket and tennis. It began on Ipanema Beach where it is still popular. It is played with a wooden racket and a soft ball on the beach.
The goal in frescobol is to hit the ball back and forth between the players without letting it hit the ground. It has become popular in other countries, such as Australia.
Biribol is another sport born in Brazil, which resembles volleyball. It is played in a swimming pool and was created in the 1960s. It is a fast-paced game played in close quarters, which adds to the excitement of the sport. It is the only team sport created by Brazil.
Another national sport in Brazil is peteca. The word means hit and the object that is hit has the same name as the sport. The game is claimed to be as old as the country with the sport being brought to Brazil from the early indigenous peoples.
Peteca originally was played with music and songs as part of a celebration. It later became more of a sport. It has now developed as one of the fastest growing sports in Brazil, just behind soccer and volleyball.
The sport has been played for decades but the first rules came into place in 1973. The first championship was held in 1987. Other European countries have taken interest in the sport and in 2006, the first international competition was held in Paris.
Brazil still sees women in a different light than men in many aspects and they often do not get the acclaim in sports that male athletes enjoy. However, sports in Brazil is such a part of the nation's culture that fans cheer for the women's sports with as much vigor as they do for the men.
Women have excelled in tennis with Maria Esther Bueno winning seven single titles. Three of those were at Wimbledon. She also won twelve doubles titles.
Brazil women also compete in soccer, volleyball, skateboarding, swimming, surfing, and basketball. While they may not get the attention that their male counterparts get, they are celebrated as winners.
The women's volleyball teams have claimed titles, including winning one gold medal in the Olympics. The soccer team has finished second and third place in the World Cup, proving they are competitors even though they haven't taken the title yet.
Sports in Brazil gain the attention of almost all of the people. It is the common ground between regions, age ranges, genders, and class; they all unite to support their favorite players and teams. Sports are as much a part of the history and culture of the country as anything else. It defines the people of Brazil.