sport and leisure

sport and leisure
   Sports activities are administered centrally by the Sports Council (Consejo Superior de Deportes—CSD), which forms part of the Ministry of Education and Culture, and is headed by a Secretary of State, equal in status to the Secretary of State for Education and the Secretary of State for Universities and Research. One of its major functions is to promote the "sports for everybody" initiative, principally through its support of school and university sports programmes. Within the framework of the 1990 Sports Law which pledges state support for sporting bodies, and regulates professional competition and international representation, the CSD has invested large sums in the Physical Education Extension Plan for primary and second schools, and in conjunction with the autonomous communities has provided sports grounds in schools for use by students by day and the general public by night. Elsewhere, too, there has been significant investment both in general facilities for sports, and in High Performance Centres such as those in the Sierra Nevada (Granada), Madrid, Seville and Pontevedra. In Barcelona, sports facilities are provided by venues such as the Estadi Olímpic, reopened in 1989 for the 5th World Cup of Athletics; the Palau dels Sports, modernized for the 1992 Olympic Games; the Velódrom d'Horta, opened for the World Cycling Championship in 1984, and the home of the Catalan School of Track Cycling; and the Palau Sant Jordi, a high-tec "smart" building inaugurated in 1990. The range of participation and spectator sports catered for include basketball, handball and volleyball matches, championships in gymnastics, windsurf-ing, American football, indoor trials, ice and indoor skating, martial arts (judo, karate, taekwondo) and newer sports such as skateboarding, and indoor climbing. In collaboration with large businesses and the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) the CSD also supports the programme of the Association for Olympic Sports (Asociación de Deportes Olímpi-cos—ADO) by which grants are given to leading senior and junior sportsmen and women to train for the Games. The ADO programme undoubtedly contributed to Spanish successes in Barcelona and Atlanta, and also had the effect of greatly increasing the participation and success of women in Olympic events. Whereas eleven women participated in the Games in Rome in 1960, ten in 1976 in Montreal, and fifteen in 1984 in Los Angeles, there were 138 women competitors in the Barcelona Games in 1992 and ninety-seven in Atlanta in 1996. The individual sports are administered by national federations, which receive grants from the CSD, though it is being suggested that they should be made to rely on private sponsorship, leaving the CSD with a purely promotional and co-ordinating function. Certainly many sporting responsibilities have already devolved onto the autonomous regions, which have their own sports advisory boards and general directors. Sports clubs are linked to the national federations, and for professional sports such as football and basketball they operate as private sports companies, and are members of the Professional Football and Professional Basketball Leagues.
   Spectator and participation sports of all kinds (football, basketball, pelota, athletics, golf, tennis, swimming, cycling, sailing, chess, etc.) are only some, and not the most widely practised, of the leisure activities engaged in by Spaniards generally. Figures produced in 1995 by the National Statistical Institute suggest that the most popular activity was listening to music at 70 percent (though playing an instrument ranked last at a mere 10 percent). Going shopping, at just over 60 percent, and reading, at over 50 percent, were also popular pastimes. Minority pursuits, from 20 to 40 percent, are listed as DIY, going to concerts, going to sporting events, discoteques, open-air excursions, sport, playing cards, going to the theatre and cinema, and going for a drink. Even this list, however, is by no means a full one. Increased leisure-time resulting from largescale unemployment and the progressive ageing of the population, with a rising proportion of retired people, has produced a significant rise in attendance at museums and art exhibitions from the 1980s onwards. The leisure section of the annual El País digest regularly contains articles on holiday travel (see also holidays), fishing, hunting, animals (principally dogs and dog shows), gardens, food and drink, stamp collecting, coin collecting, antique collecting, and gambling (the national lottery, football pools, casinos, bingo, fruit machines). Much leisure-time activity, how-ever, is unstructured, and consists of socializing with friends in cafés and bars, usually in the late evening.
   See also: consumerism; social attitudes

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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