Rio 2016’s fever: the most popular Olympic sports in Italy
As is almost always the case with Olympic Games, even this year the interest of Italian people in sport has considerably increased, thanks to dissemination of information and the big numbers around the event. Some disciplines of 2016 Rio Olympics, indeed, are deeply appreciated by Italians.
2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics: a matter of big numbers.
Numbers of 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics are really astonishing.
10.700 athletes, 7.000 referees, 28 sports in a total of 42 sporting disciplines and, among these, 21 disciplines involve 297 italian olympic athletes, who have achieved great results since the very first days of competition, winning significant medals.
94 Parlympic athletes representing Italy will participate in the Brazilian competition from 7 to 18 September.
At Maracanà Stadium the Italian club competed against champions from 206 different countries on water, on the track, and this year in other new sporting disciplines like the 7 form Rugby team and the 72-hole Golf course, both introduced this year in the list of the official Olympic sports.
Actually Rugby has been already included in the list of Olympic Games between 1900 and 1924 in the 15 form team, while Golf was included in only two editions, in 1900, in Paris, and in 1904, in London.
Even the 2016 Rio Olympics opening on 5 August at 8 p.m. showed big numbers. The event, produced by Italian Marco Balich, took place in one of the largest sport facility in the world: Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, better known as Maracanà.
In the past the stadium, located in the Brazilian capital Rio De Janeiro, hosted football events like Confederation Cup (in 2013), World Cup (in 1950 and 2014) and, in the occasion of the 2016 Rio Olympic opening, hosted around 60.000 spectators. The opening, focused around the main theme “The History of Brazil”, was characterised by great scenic design, carioca music and national icons. All with a budget around 56 million dollars.
The most loved and played sports in Italy.
19.6 million Italians are regularly involved in sport. This figure has increased by 3% in the last two years (2013-2015) over all age groups, in particular the children 6 to 10 years of age.
Swimming remains the most watched sport by Italians during Olympic competition days, while fitness is the most played one in everyday life, particulary in the forms of running and marathon, which are increasingly appreciated by Italian people.
Data relating to football is really surprising. According to ASI (Italian Sports Associations), the most popular sport in Italy, also involved in Olympic Games, is only number 2 in the league of the most played Italian sporting disciplines.
Football is followed by water sports along with fencing, martial arts and artistic gymnastics.
Running, a lot more than a sport. A real mass movement.
In the last few years, running has become a real trend in Italy. It is very widespread throughout small and big cities thanks to a big organisation of non-competitive competitions, usually characterised by a main theme. They are ready to become social and entertaining events.
Along with fitness&wellness phenomenon, originated in America, running has become in no time a mass movement, with an increasing number of amateur runners, who are more and more enthusiastic and equipped.
Finally marathon is not just a difficult challenge for olympic athletes, but, with its shorter distances, has become a real trend for everybody, thanks to examples from famous people like those of Dj Linus, who has been involved in the sport for years.
Fencing: elegance and rigour are taught to young beginners.
Although fencing is less popular, is largely expanding its appel on Italians thanks to its refined instruments: foil, saber and épée.
The worldwide success of Italian athletes, who have competed at the highest levels for years (during Olympic Games), has certainly contributed to increase the number of membership and participants in competitions. The most famous Italian fencers are Valentina Vezzali, Giovanna Trillini, Salvatore Sanzo, Andrea Cassarà and Aldo Montano.
Particularly reccomended for young people, in the last few years FIS (Italian Fencing Federation) has launched a campaign to raise awarness about fencing values, promoting its characteristics of building youngsters’ character and of making them feel stronger, more confident and fearless.
Boxing and artistic gymnastics: sport as an education tool
Sport as an education tool combines two disciplines which are seemingly very different: boxing and artistic gymnastics.
They totally differ in practical rules, but both are based on attitude, concentration and millimetric precision.
Dealing with opposite characters and physical structures, both boxing and artistic gymnastics have so largely increased their popularity in the world of sports facilities that have become very widespread on sport clubs.
In the last year in particular, the two disciplines have gained so much notoriety that have become very popular in television programmes (on national channels), with a boomerang effect and an increasing number of curious and enthusiastic followers.