Germany - Culture - Sports

Sports

Main article: Sport in Germany

Twenty-seven million Germans are members of a sports club and an additional twelve million pursue sports individually. Association football is the most popular sport. With more than 6.3 million official members, the German Football Association (Deutscher Fußball-Bund) is the largest sports organisation of its kind worldwide. The Bundesliga, the top league of German football, is the most popular sports league in Germany and attracts the second highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the world.

The German national football team won the FIFA World Cup in 1954, 1974 and 1990 and the UEFA European Football Championship in 1972, 1980 and 1996. Germany hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1974 and 2006 and the UEFA European Football Championship in 1988. Among the most well-known footballers are Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Jürgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthäus, and Oliver Kahn. Other popular spectator sports include handball, volleyball, basketball, ice hockey, and tennis.

Germany is one of the leading motor sports countries in the world. Constructors like BMW and Mercedes are prominent manufacturers in motor sport. Additionally, Porsche has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, an annual endurance race held in France, 16 times, and Audi has won it 9 times. Formula One driver Michael Schumacher has set many motor sport records during his career, having won more Formula One World Drivers' Championships and more Formula One races than any other driver; he is one of the highest paid sportsmen in history.

Historically, German sportsmen have been successful contenders in the Olympic Games, ranking third in an all-time Olympic Games medal count, combining East and West German medals. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, Germany finished fifth in the medal count, while in the 2006 Winter Olympics they finished first. Germany has hosted the Summer Olympic Games twice, in Berlin in 1936 and in Munich in 1972. The Winter Olympic Games took place in Germany once in 1936 in the twin towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen.

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Famous quotes containing the word sports:

    In the past, it seemed to make sense for a sportswriter on sabbatical from the playpen to attend the quadrennial hawgkilling when Presidential candidates are chosen, to observe and report upon politicians at play. After all, national conventions are games of a sort, and sports offers few spectacles richer in low comedy.
    Walter Wellesley (Red)

    It was so hard to pry this door open, and if I mess up I know the people behind me are going to have it that much harder. Because then there’s living proof. They can sit around and say, “See? It doesn’t work.” I don’t want to be their living proof.
    Gayle Gardner, U.S. sports reporter. As quoted in Sports Illustrated, p. 87 (June 17, 1991)

    Guys do not have a genetic blueprint that allows them to understand or love sports.
    Lesley Visser, U.S. sports reporter and announcer. As quoted in Sports Illustrated, p. 82 (June 17, 1991)