Sport in Brazil

Sport in Brazil

Sports in Brazil which are widely practiced and popular in the country, as well as others which originated there or have some cultural significance. The Brazilian people are very involved in sports, and the most popular one is football by a wide margin, and can be considered a cultural phenomenon.

Brazil in the Olympics

Due to the tropical nature of the climate in Brazil, it has not traditionally competed in the Winter Olympic Games, although it made its first appearance in Albertville in 1992, and most recently participated in the 2006 games. However, Brazil has been competing in the Summer Olympics since 1920. Brazil is currently ranked 33rd in the overall ranking of medals in the summer Olympics. Here is the record of Brazilian medals in the games so far:

* [ Source]


Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art marked by deft, tricky movements often played on the ground or completely inverted. It also has a strong acrobatic component in some versions and is always played with music. It is a culturally significant sport, developed in colonial times by slaves. Nowadays Capoeira is practiced internationally and found its way into popular culture through many computer games and movies.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Vale tudo

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu originated in Brazil in the 1910s, and emphasizes ground fighting techniques and submission holds involving joint-locks and chokeholds. Gracie Jiu Jitsu became known internationally in the 1990s, due to the very skilled fighters in the Gracie family, namely Hélio Gracie, Royce Gracie and Rickson Gracie, which are also responsible for spreading the practice of Vale tudo, meaning "anything goes", seen today in tournaments such as PRIDE and Ultimate Fighting. Some notable Brazilian fighters in these tournaments include Anderson Silva, Wanderlei Silva and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.Helio Gracie had a rather small build and changed Jiu-Jitsu (that came from Japan) to be used by anyone in a real fight situation.The belt progression goes in the following order: White, Blue, Purple, Brown, Black, Red-black, Red. Helio and Rorion Gracie are the only red belts.

Brazilian snooker

"Sinuca Brasileira" is a Brazilian variant of snooker, a cue sport. "Sincua" differs from snooker primarily in having one instead of fifteen red balls, in addition to the "colour balls", but there are some unique rules as well.

Football (soccer)

The most popular sport in Brazil is Football. The National Team is immensely popular, not only in Brazil but also in the many parts of the world where football is appreciated, and there is also a renowned National League, boasting a nation-wide competition as well as several regional competitions. The Brazilian national team has been victorious in the FIFA World Cup tournament a record five times, in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002 [,4638,FWC-7,00.html] and is the only team to have never missed out on a World Cup participation. Pelé, one of the world's most recognized players, led Brazil to three of those championships and is the top scorer of all time in the sport. After the third win, Brazil kept the original World Cup trophy permanently. Brazil competed in the 2006 World Cup as one of the favorites to win the competition, however they only placed 5th. Some of the contemporary talents in the national team prominent in the footballing world include Ronaldinho, Romário, Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Kaká. Some of these players can be considered superstars, achieving celebrity status internationally and signing sports contracts, as well as advertisement and endorsement contracts, in the value of millions of dollars. The governing body for football in Brazil is the Brazilian Football Confederation.

Football has a major effect on Brazilian culture. It is often the favorite pastime of youngsters that can be found playing football on the streets. World Cup tournaments are a social phenomenon, and it is not unusual for people to skip work to watch the national team play, and in some cases the very workplace will set up apparatus for its employees to watch the event together. It should be noted that the General Elections are usually held in the same year as the World Cup, and this is often criticized for taking advantage of the nationalistic surge created by football and bringing it into politics. Also, former footballers are often elected to legislative positions.

Brazil has a well-known rivalry with fellow South American football powers Argentina. Both the youth and the senior teams have met numerous times on the international arena. In the recent olympics in Beijing, Brazil lost to Argentina 3-0 in a hard fought semifinal marred by many fouls and two red cards for the Brazilians. Despite the loss, they defeated Belgium in the third place match to clinch the bronze medal.

Brazil is also an emerging power in the women's game; the women's national team finished second to Germany in the 2007 World Cup and the USA at the 2004 Olympics. The country's best-known women's player is Marta, the winner of the Golden Ball (MVP) and Golden Boot (top scorer) at the 2007 World Cup, as well as the 2006 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year.

On 30 October 2007, FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced, as expected, that Brazil would host the 2014 FIFA World Cup.


Footvolley was created in Brazil in the 1960s. It is a mix of football and volleyball, where the players must use their feet and head to get the ball over the net and into the opponent's court, and is also played in sand.It is one of the most popular beach sports in Brazil.BT Mexico was able to defeat Brazil in 2002


Maria Esther Bueno is the most successful Brazilian tennis player in Grand Slam tournaments. She has seven single titles (4 wins at the US Open and 2 at Wimbledon) and 23 double titles (5 at Wimbledon, 4 at the US Open, and once at the Australian Open and Roland Garros). Gustavo Kuerten, or "Guga", is also one of the greatest Brazilian tennis players in history, having reached the number 1 ranking in the world at the top of his career and winning the French Open three times, in 1997, 2000 and 2001. Player Fernando Meligeni was also responsible for popularizing the sport in the country. However, bad administrations, lack of money and serious support, and the elitization of this sport resulted in an uncompetitive Brazilian tennis, fragile and with a doubtful future.


Basketball is somewhat popular in Brazil, but lost popularity after the increased attention volleyball has gained recently. The Brazilian national team has won the Basketball World Championship twice, in 1959 and 1963. Oscar Schmidt is the most renowned male Brazilian player, and Hortência Marcari the most renowned female. Three of the nation's top players are in the NBA: they are the Phoenix Suns' Leandro Barbosa, the Denver Nuggets' Nenê and the Cleveland Cavaliers's Anderson Varejao. Brazil has the most successful and popular basketball league outside USA and Europe.Fact|date=July 2008 Teams like Flamengo, Vasco, Minas Tenis, Universo Brasilia and Sírio are very popular, but basketball is still less popular than soccer, volleyball, auto-racing.Fact|date=July 2008


Brazil has produced three Formula One world champions: Emerson Fittipaldi (f1|1972 and f1|1974), Nelson Piquet (f1|1981, f1|1983 and f1|1987) and Ayrton Senna (f1|1988, f1|1990 and f1|1991). There are three Brazilian drivers in the f1|2008 lineup, Rubens Barrichello of Honda, Felipe Massa of Ferrari and Nelsinho Piquet of Renault. Also, there are rumors that Bruno Senna (nephew of the late Ayrton) and Lucas Di Grassi can become regular Formula One drivers in the near future.

Brazil has been in the Formula One calendar since 1972. Nowadays, it is the last race of the year, held in mid-October. Two circuits have been host to the race of Formula One : Jacarepagua and Interlagos. The first one, located in Rio de Janeiro, hosted the 1978 race and then between 1981 and 1989. From 1972 to 1977, in 1979 and 1980 and since 1990 the Brazilian Grand Prix takes place at the Interlagos circuit, in São Paulo.

In total, Brazil has 93 Formula One race wins (as of the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix, the last race of the f1|2007 season), distributed between Senna (41), Piquet (23), Fittipaldi (14), Barrichello (9), Massa (5) and José Carlos Pace (1).

The only Formula One constructor to ever be based in Brazil is Fittipaldi Automotive.

Brazil is also home to notable drivers in the Indy Racing League (also in the USAC and CART), such as 2004 champion Tony Kanaan, as well as winners of the Indy 500 race, Brazil has won that event five times: Emerson Fittipaldi (1989 and 1993), Hélio Castroneves (2001 and 2002) and Gil de Ferran (2003).

In the sports car racing scene, Raul Boesel won the 1987 World Sportscar Championship and got close to winning the 1991 Le Mans 24 Hours, when he was second, and Ricardo Zonta won tha 1998 FIA GT Championship. Also Mil Milhas Brasil, a racing sports car endurance race, has the longest history in the Brazilian racing events.

Auto racing popularity is rising, and recently Brazil has been promoting Stock Car championships and rally events.

On motorcycle racing, the most prominent Brazilian racer on Moto GP as of now is Alex Barros, who is the most experienced racer of all time in the category with 259 race starts and 7 wins.

; National championships
* Stock Car Brasil (Campeonato Brasileiro de Stock Car)
* Fórmula Truck


Currently Brazil is the most successful country when considering all categories of volleyball.

Brazil men's national volleyball team is currently the champion in the three major world competitions (Volleyball World Cup, World Championship and Olympic Games) and ranks number one in the FIVB World Ranking. [cite web
title=FIVB World Ranking - Men
date=December 5th, 2006
] Brazilian men team titles include:

* 2 Olympic Games golden medals (1992 and 2004) and one silver (2008)
* 2 World Championship golden medals (2002 and 2006)
* 7 Volleyball World League golden medals (1993, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007)

The women squad, which is ranked number one in FIVB World Ranking, has among others titles

* 1 Olympic Games gold medal (2008) and 2 bronze medals (1996 and 2000)
* 2 World Championship silver medals (1994 and 2006)
* 6 Volleyball Grand Prix golden medals (1994, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2005 and 2006)
* 1 Grand Champions Cup golden medal (2005)

Brazilian younger teams maintain the same success rate as the senior squads. As of now (March 25, 2007), in the FIVB men ranking for junior and youth, Brazil is placed number one for women while the men are placed second.

Beach volleyball has also given Brazilian athletes much success worldwide, today Brazil is the ruling country. The FIVB 2006 World Tour has finished with Brazilians on the top in both men and women rankings. Both, men and women, have won Olympic Games medals. Men have won golden in 2004 and silver 2000 and 2008; and women have won golden in 1996, silver in 1996, 2000 and 2004, and bronze in 1996 and 2000. Brazilian athletes have also collected many medals in the World Tour.

Brazil has professional volleyball team competitions: the Superliga Masculina de Vôlei and its female counterpart, Superliga Feminina de Vôlei. Among the most successful teams are: Minas, Banespa and Santo André for the male league and Rexona, Osasco and Clube de Regatas Flamengo for the female league.

Other sports

Athletics, swimming, judo and sailing are traditional sports in Brazil, which have earned Olympic medals for the country. In athletics, some highlights are Adhemar da Silva and João Carlos de Oliveira.

In swimming, athletes like Gustavo Borges and Fernando Scherer paved the road in their homeland for future adherents of the sport.

Sailing and Equestrians are considered elitist sports, not accessible for the general population. Some great athletes were produced, however, such as the rider Rodrigo Pessoa and sailors Robert Scheidt, Marcelo Ferreira and the brothers Lars and Torben Grael.

Judo was brought and developed by the large Japanese community. Some Brazilian Olympic medalists for the sport are Rogério Sampaio and Aurélio Miguel.

Boxing is a popular sport specially in the Northeast region. It is considered a poor people's sport. Some famous fighters are Eder Jofre and Acelino "Popó" Freitas.

Team Handball has been recently developing, being practiced specially in private schools, although it's also beginning to be practiced in public schools due being easy and cheap to use Futsal grounds, increasing the sports variety in Physical Education programs. Brazilian national team is regarded as the best in Americas. Handball is increasing in popularity and media cover. The national league is broadcasted on cable TV, and is sponsored by Petrobras.

Other team sports struggle for attention. Water Polo and Roller Hockey national teams had international appearances, despite being amateur sports in Brazil. Baseball is mostly linked with the Japanese and Korean communities.

Rugby union is still a rather unknown sport, but is growing inside the universities. The Brazil national rugby union team has so far never qualified for a Rugby World Cup. A domestic club competition, the Campeonato Brasileiro de Rugby, has been contested annually since 1964.
Cricket is another rather unknown sport. However, there have been domestic cricket tournaments contested since the 1800s. There is also a kid's game called "taco" or "bets". While it is not a proper sport, it is a simplified form of cricket played in the streets.

Golf is quickly becoming more practiced in Brazil, but is still an elitist sport.

Frescobol is a sport that is similar to tennis but is played with a wooden racket and a soft rubber ball in the beach, also does not have a score system. Was introduce in the 60's in Ipanema beach and is still very popular to this day.

Skateboarding is very popular among children and teenagers. Brazil has some famous skateboarders, such as Sandro Dias and Bob Burnquist. Fabiola da Silva is equally famous in the world of aggressive inline skating.

Surfing on the other hand is a very popular recreational sport among Brazilians of all ages. Several professional Brazilian surfers compete in the men's and women's ASP World Championship Tour. Brazil is also famous for having produced many talented longboard surfers (such as the former world champion Phil Razjman), many well-known big rider surfers (like Carlos Burle and two-time XXL award winner Maya Gabeira), and various prominent bodyboarders.

Biribol is a Brazilian born sport, created in the city of Birigüi, in São Paulo. It is a kind of volleyball played in a swimming pool.

Peteca (shuttlecock) is another Brazilian born sport, that is originated from indigenous games.

American Football is being played by young people in some states since the beginning of the 00's. The most popular modality played there are Flag Football (which is the strongest team in São Paulo), and Beach American Football (played in coastal cities, like Rio de Janeiro and João Pessoa.


See also

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