Roland Garros, Paris-Dakar, Tour de France: world-famous sporting events that have been associated with France for decades . The country has a nice list of world and European championships, world records and Olympic medals to his name. Well-known athletes such as Zinedine Zidane , Thierry Henry (football), Amélie Mauresmo , Sébastien Grosjean (tennis) and Laure Manaudou (swimming) determine France’s international reputation as a sports nation. In 2007, France organized the rugby world championships.
The most in a club popular sports in France are football and tennis , followed by judo, horse riding, basketball, bocce, golf, handball, sailing, canoeing / kayaking, swimming, gymnastics, rugby and karate. All this is of course strongly culturally determined and is closely related to the performance of French top athletes in these branches of sport. France, for example, has a much-loved and multiple world judo champion, David Douillet, which has made judo sport very popular. Figure skating is very popular, long-distance skating, on the other hand, hardly exists.
France has around 7,000 top athletes . The largest number of sports complexes and practitioners can be found in the Paris area, in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea regions and in the mountainous areas (Alps and Pyrenees).
Source: Sport and innovation in France: Allez les Bleus! J. Polo-Leemreis and C. van Hemel (2007)
Typical French sports
In addition to the sports mentioned above, which are often practiced as a club in France, there are also sports that can be regarded as typically French .
You can call it a sport or not, jeu de boules is in any case very popular in France and is taken very seriously by the French themselves. Jeu de Boules is a collective name for related ball games , based on dexterity and strength . In France, the pétanque variant usually plays .
According to tradition, the sport started in ancient Greece, where the athletes trained as a practice for shot-and-shot with stones of about 10 centimeters in diameter. The game ended up in Western Europe via the Romans, where it really grew into a sport.
is of course a sport that, certainly also because of the Tour de France , is strongly associated with France. The reason that this is not mentioned in the above article is probably because it is practiced by the French individually or with friends , rather than in a club context.
Pelota Vasca, or simply Pelota , is a typical Basque sport. The Basque Country is a region that lies partly in Spain and partly in France.
Pelota is played with two players, or two teams of two players each, who pass each other a ball of about 5 centimeters in diameter through a wall. One plays with the bare hand, with a racket ( pala or paleta ) or with a cesta , a small curved basket. The ball may only make one bounce on the ground before being played back.
France is also home to parkour and horseball , two new sports with increasing popularity:
Parkour, also known as le parkour or PK , is a discipline that originated in France, in which the participants (called tracers ) try to overcome obstacles in the smoothest and fastest possible way. Parkour can be practiced almost anywhere, but it is mainly done outdoors.
Parkour comes from an escape technique from the Vietnam War. It was a method by Georges Hébert to train his recruits so that they were prepared for any situation. One of Hébert’s recruits was the French gymnast Raymond Belle . Even after the war, he focused on moving himself from one place to another as quickly as possible. Together with his friends, David founded a group: Yamakasi .
Parkour has now become an internationally accepted discipline. It is also practiced in the Netherlands and Flanders. In Lisses (France) there is a special wall to park on and a game has been made about this sport: Free running .
Horseball is a relatively new horse / ball sport that is a combination of many different sports. In addition to equestrian sports, sports such as handball, basketball and korfball have been important for the development of horseball.
Horseball originated in France in the late 1970s. The French Equestrian Federation (FFE) was looking for a new discipline within the equestrian sport. It had to be a sport that wasn’t expensive to practice, and easy to organize for riding schools. The principle of horseball, which is based on the Afghan national sport buzkashi , fell exactly into that.
Horseball is a team sport in which two teams of six people (including two reserves) are on their horses in the field. At the ends of the field, just like in most other ball sports, the goals are. These goals look like big hoops. With a football equipped with leather straps that promote grip, one must try to score in the goals of the opponents.