This sporting life: The hosts of the Olympics are old hands at games
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London is the only city to have hosted the Olympic Games three times in the modern era -- 1908, 1948 and 2012 -- and as any TV viewer can see, the games are a great source of pride. That's not surprising because the nation's sporting roots go back centuries,
To honor the games, the Daily Telegraph newspaper in London, in an email report sent to "expats" -- the legion of expatriate Britons who live around the world -- did a photo feature on the sports that can be traced to Blighty, their affectionate word for the old country.
Remarkably, the report claims the British invented 15. They are badminton, baseball (yes, baseball; they point out that the novelist Jane Austen mentioned baseball as one of her heroine's pleasures in "Northanger Abbey"), cricket (we'll give them that one), rugby, snooker, tennis, darts, football (soccer to us), table tennis, netball (a variant of basketball), golf, lawn bowling, curling, squash and rounders (a child's game resembling baseball).
By our count, the United States can claim to have invented lacrosse (played first by Native Americans), basketball, American football (although a close cousin of rugby) and Ultimate Frisbee. Something may be missing from this list, but it's still way short of 15. It's a wonder the British ever had time to create an empire.
First Published August 5, 2012 12:00 am