Lithuania - Culture - Sports

Sports

  • Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the country. The Lithuania national basketball team has had significant success in international basketball events. Having won a total of 9 medals in the EuroBasket, the World Championships and the Olympic Games, it is ranked 5th worldwide in FIBA Rankings.
  • Lithuania has produced a number of NBA players: Arvydas Sabonis, Žydrūnas Ilgauskas, Šarūnas Marčiulionis, Darius Songaila, Šarūnas Jasikevičius, Linas Kleiza and others. The current 19-year-old Lithuanian star Jonas Valančiūnas was picked 5th by Toronto Raptors in the 2011 NBA Draft.
  • Arvydas Sabonis was the first Lithuanian to be inducted into the prestigious Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on August 2011.
  • In 2011, Lithuania hosted the men's European Basketball Championship EuroBasket 2011. The final took place in the newly built Žalgiris Arena which is the largest arena in Baltics.
  • In 2011, the Lithuanian U19 men's basketball team won the FIBA Under-19 World Championship.
  • In 2012, Lithuania hosts FIBA Under-17 World Championship in Kaunas.
  • The historic Lithuanian basketball team Kauno Žalgiris won the European basketball league Euroleague in 1999. It competes in Euroleague 2011/12 as of today. Vilniaus Lietuvos Rytas and Rūdupis compete in the second-tier European competition Eurocup Basketball.
  • Football, athletics and cycling are also popular in Lithuania. The popularity of ice hockey, rugby and tennis is also growing.
  • Lithuania national football team stars are Deividas Šemberas playing for CSKA Moscow and Marius Stankevičius playing for Lazio.
  • Virgilijus Alekna is one of world top discus throwers. He has won two consecutive Olympic gold medals in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics. In the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics Alekna received the Bronze medal.
  • Austra Skujytė (Silver in heptathlon, 2004 Athens Olympics) and Edvinas Krungolcas (Silver in pentathlon, 2008 Beijing Olympics) are also world-class athletes.
  • Simona Krupeckaitė is currently the country's most famous professional track cyclist. She holds two world records in 500m time trial and flying 200m time trial. Krupeckaitė has been named the Lithuanian Sportsman of the Year twice in 2009 and 2010.
  • Lithuania has a stellar NHL player Dainius Zubrus playing for New Jersey Devils.
  • Ričardas Berankis is the top ranked Lithuanian tennis player.
  • Jurgis Kairys, the most renowned Lithuanian aviator, has won the bronze in unlimited freestyle aviation in the 2011 FAI World Aerobatic Championship.
  • Viktorija Čmilytė, the chess player, has grown to fame owing to her Grandmaster and Woman Grandmaster titles. In 2011, Čmilytė has become the champion of the European Woman Chess Championship.
  • The other famous Lithuanian sportsman abroad is one of the world's foremost strongmen Žydrūnas Savickas. He is currently nominated as the Strongest Man in the World.
  • Another notable Lithuanian athlete in mixed martial arts is Marius Žaromskis.
  • With the launch of the first indoor ski slope in Baltics Snow Arena the rise of popularity in winter sports is widely expected.
  • In swimming Rūta Meilutytė won the gold medal in the women's 100 metre breaststroke at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, at the age of just 15. She is the youngest Lithuanian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal.
  • The Lithuanian national rugby union team holds the record for the most consecutive wins for an international test side, 18.


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Famous quotes containing the word sports:

    Short of a wholesale reform of college athletics—a complete breakdown of the whole system that is now focused on money and power—the women’s programs are just as doomed as the men’s are to move further and further away from the academic mission of their colleges.... We have to decide if that’s the kind of success for women’s sports that we want.
    Christine H. B. Grant, U.S. university athletic director. As quoted in the Chronicle of Higher Education, p. A42 (May 12, 1993)

    Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
    Thy sports are fled and all thy charms withdrawn;
    Amidst thy bowers the tyrant’s hand is seen,
    And desolation saddens all thy green;
    One only master grasps the whole domain,
    And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain;
    Oliver Goldsmith (1730?–1774)

    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)