In Venezuela, baseball, and in Colombia and Argentina, soccer, are not the most successful sports
In 2015, the National Basketball Team of Venezuela was crowned South American champion and months later, pre-Olympic champion, achieving its classification to the Olympic Games of Rio 2016. At that time, he was talking with a Venezuelan colleague and countryman who immediately pointed out "until finally a sport different from baseball gives us achievements", and that's when the journalistic curiosity attacked me to investigate. My suspicion took form. The truth is that no, baseball has given Venezuela joys, but based on individual non-group group performances with the exception of the Amateur World Series of 1941 in Havana and two world titles of the 'Little League' in 1994 and 2000 .
The truth is that basketball, as a team sport, has been a bit more successful than baseball with three Olympic Games qualifications, a pre-Olympic title, a sub-championship in the same tournament, and three South American titles. If we review all the sports disciplines, the combat specialties have been even more fruitful for the country 'Vinotinto' with two of the three gold medals in its history in the maximum appointment, in the people of boxer Francisco 'Morochito' Rodríguez in 1968 and the taekwondo player Arlindo Gouveia in 1992. But this phenomenon, -that a sport is more traditional in a country, although it does not generate great collective achievements- does not only happen in Venezuela, because Colombia and Argentina offer us two good examples.
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You do not have to be very knowledgeable about sports to understand that the country 'coffee' has a passion and special predilection for football. We believe that it is an identification, like most countries on the planet, for this popular sport. But, the certain thing is that the skating (that today we will obviate for not being Olympic) and the cycling, are disciplines in which Colombia is really a power. In the case of pedals, this country occupies the top positions of the International Cycling Union (UCI) ranking in a traditional way several years ago, being the best by far from South America and counting on elite riders, candidates always to succeed in the 'Big Three'.
Currently, six can be mentioned: Nairo Quintana (champion of the Giro d'Italia in 2014 and the Vuelta a España in 2016), Rigoberto Urán, Fernando Gaviria, Egan Bernal, Miguel Ángel López and Esteban Chaves. In soccer, Colombia has traditionally had a colorful style of play and in each era has had worthy representatives of that style, such as Carlos Valderrama, Faustino Asprilla or James Rodriguez, but also individually, because at the level of selections its only great triumph was in the Copa de América in 2001. Even so, the Colombians, on average, keep the football, even if it pays badly.
Yes, it is true that Argentina has two world football titles of majors and six in the sub-20 region. It is possible that the passion for this sport, is justified from these conquests. However, few know that the national sport there is the Pato, a game that also has its respective federation and is made with a ball with handles, - initially played with a duck and hence its name, which must be taken from the floor or passing between players to convert a goal into the opposing fence. In 1953 the duck was declared as a national sport, because it was invented by the gauchos that inhabited the pampas.
The southern nation has excelled in various sports disciplines both collective and individual, and in the last 30 years, much more than football has done tennis (Davis Cup champions in 2016), Basketball (Gold medal in Athens 2004) , and hockey (gold medal in men in Rio 2016) without counting names that have been world figures in such sports as Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, David Nalbandian, Juan Martin Del Potro, Delfina Merino or Gonzalo Pelliat. The football, it is true that has counted on Lionel Messi, but won nothing important since the 1993 Copa América, with the exception of the gold medal in Athens 2004. To have so much passion when the sport does not respond in the same way with results as its fans after so many years is a phenomenon of the sports world.
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
Translated from "Aunque usted no lo crea, los países latinoamericanos con frecuencia no apoyan sus mejores deportes"