SportsMain article: Sport in Greece Panathenaic Stadium at the first day of the 1896 Summer Olympics (top) and the Olympic Stadium of Athens, during the 2004 games (bottom).
Greece is the birthplace of the Olympic Games, first recorded in 776 BC. The Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, a replica of an ancient Greek stadium, hosted the Olympic Games in 1896. It had also hosted Olympic Games in 1870 and 1875 (see Evangelis Zappas). The Panathenaic stadium also hosted the Games in 1906 and was used to host events at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
The Greek national football team, ranked 14th in the world in 2012, won the UEFA Euro 2004 in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport. The Greek Super League is the highest professional football league in the country comprising sixteen teams. The most successful are Olympiacos, Panathinaikos and AEK Athens.
The Greek national basketball team has a decades-long tradition of excellence in the sport. As of 2012, it ranked 4th in the world. They have won the European Championship twice in 1987 and 2005, and have reached the final four in three of the last four FIBA World Championships, taking second place in 2006. The domestic top basketball league, A1 Ethniki, is composed of fourteen teams. The most successful Greek teams are Panathinaikos, Olympiacos, Aris Thessaloniki and AEK Athens.
Water polo and volleyball are also practiced widely in Greece while cricket and handball are relatively popular in Corfu and Veroia respectively.
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Famous quotes containing the word sports:
“The whole idea of image is so confused. On the one hand, Madison Avenue is worried about the image of the players in a tennis tour. On the other hand, sports events are often sponsored by the makers of junk food, beer, and cigarettes. Whats the message when an athlete who works at keeping her body fit is sponsored by a sugar-filled snack that does more harm than good?”
—Martina Navratilova (b. 1956)
“In the end, I think you really only get as far as youre allowed to get.”
—Gayle Gardner, U.S. sports reporter. As quoted in Sports Illustrated, p. 87 (June 17, 1991)
“Falling in love is the right adventure for those who dislike sports and travel.”
—Mason Cooley (b. 1927)