sport Tag

ancient olympia, greece, where were original olympic games, ancient olympics site (4)
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Visiting the origin of the Olympics

The first olympics The Olympic Games have not changed all that much since ancient days. Thousands of years ago, the games were designed to please the Greek gods of Mount Olympus. These days, they're designed to please the gods of modern capitalism - sponsors, television networks and tourism boards. It has, and always will be, about worshipping what humans believe makes the world what it is. At about this time every four years, we hear a lot about Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympics. In 776 BC, the first games were held here and - as a tribute - the Olympic flame is still lit on the site before every torch relay. What is Olympia like, though? And how much of a sense can you get of how the ancient games would have been? I decided to go there and find out for myself. Ancient Olympia, Greece The first thing you notice is the noise...

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26 July
Il Palio, Siena horse race, siena, tuscany, italy, unesco (5)
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The horse race that stops Siena

Palio di Siena horse race, Italy Standing here, you can imagine the thundering of hooves and the roaring of the spectators. The energy must be incredible, thousands of people crammed together in the centre of the square as the horses race around them. Encircled and squashed, there would be nothing to do but shout with the crowd. Twice a year, here in Siena’s Piazza del Campo, one of the world’s most famous horses races takes over the city. The Palio di Siena is no ordinary race… but more on that shortly. Today, things are much more sedate. It’s a warm and sunny spring afternoon and the piazza is full of people sitting on the ground, catching some rays, eating a snack or talking with their friends. The shadow of the tower from the imposing Palazzo Pubblico casts a shadow over the ground and moves like a sundial. The people who end up in...

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29 May
Emilia_Romagna-2012-65_web
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The fast and the curious

Who would go to the Lamborghini Academy? I’m not sure exactly what I expected but it wasn’t this. When you think about the kind of people who might go to an exclusive (and not cheap) Lamborghini driving academy in Italy, you think young playboys and middle-aged men going through middle-aged crises. You don’t think of a 66-year-old woman who has trouble reaching the pedals. That seems to be the thing about fast cars, though. They favour no gender, age or nationality. There were only five drivers at the Lamborghini Academy other than myself and fellow blogger Ted Rydmark – and with those five people, four different continents were represented. Why would they come here to the Imola Racecourse for this, though? Why would they fly across oceans, spend thousands of dollars to spend a day behind the wheel and on the track? Well, to find out, I asked them. These are the people of...

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15 May
driving tips, lamborghini, max venturi, imola racetrack, how to drive fast and safe, braking, corners
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How to drive fast and safe

Driving tips from Lamborghini Max Venturi has a name designed for speed. It’s no wonder he’s ended up as Lamborghini’s chief test driver and driving instructor. He’s the kind of guy who spends his days behind the wheel of a 350 km/h car and has been featured on television shows like Top Gear. Now, today, the poor man has the task of trying to teach me how to drive a half a million dollar Lamborghini. And not just any old Lamborghini – the brand new Aventador, which currently has a two year waiting list, with the factory unable to keep up with the demand for this beast. I’m at the Lamborghini Academy at the famous Imola racetrack in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. There are seven of us at the school today and I fear I am the least experienced. One of the others I speak to has six cars at home...

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14 May
Euro 2012, Poland, wroclaw stadium, wroclaw, ready (5)
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Is Poland ready for the football?

Euro 2012 "You didn't hear this from me," someone whispers in my direction. "But I'm not sure Poland will be ready in time for the matches." I take it with a grain of Polish salt. You seem to hear these things before every big international sporting event - and Poland is about to put itself right in the spotlight when it shares the hosting duties with Ukraine for one of the world's largest sporting tournaments. In less than two months eight of the countries' cities will be the home of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship (Euro 2012). Sixteen teams will compete in 31 matches. The whole event will run over 24 days and is expected to bring in tens of thousands of visitors. It's a huge undertaking for any country but particularly one that is still growing its economy and infrastructure after decades of communist rule. It knows, though, that national pride...

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29 April
london olympic site, summer games, 2012, stratford, olympic stadium (6)
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London Olympics: Sneak peek!

London's Olympic Stadium London’s Olympics Games are just around the corner and in the host city there’s a buzz developing that even the British composure can’t mask. As the 2012 signs and flags begin to appear in the streets, the last of the construction and makeovers are being hurriedly finished. At the Olympic Stratford site itself, a huge tract of land in the east of the city, it seems that some people just can’t wait until the games kick off. There’s still a lot of building work going on at the site and the whole area is cordoned off to the public… but that’s not stopping the tourists. From a viewing platform near the stadium, tour groups are gathered listening to guides explain how the area will soon look and, as is the case with every Summer Games it seems, explain why this will be the best one yet. “There are two things that...

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12 April
Best things to do in Austin Texas
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The best things to do in Austin

The best things to do in Austin, Texas Austin is a city with its own identity. It’s part-Texan but also part-funky. There’s plenty to do if you like music, the arts, sport or just relaxing. Make sure you give yourself enough time to chill out and enjoy the atmosphere of one of the coolest cities in the south of the USA. Here are a few of the best things to do in Austin. Music on Sixth Street Sixth Street is the heart of Austin. Dozens of bars feature live music with small-time musicians giving a taste of their style, fun cover bands that get the crowd dancing and big international acts that make an effort to put Austin on their touring schedule. You’ll pay a cover charge for the better-known bands but it’s generally free to walk into the other bars and check out a few songs from the up-and-comers. There’s always something...

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06 November
angola rodeo, louisiana state penitentiary, louisiana, rodeo, prison rodeo
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Inside maximum security

Angola prison rodeo, Louisiana * Photography was not allowed so all images are courtesy of http://angolarodeo.com/ A maximum security prison in the economically-depressed and socially-repressed part of Louisiana is not the sort of place you should want to end up. But it was exactly where we were heading. We were going to go past the guards, through the fence and into the world of hardened criminals, into the biggest male maximum security prison in the Unites States. Why? Well, for a bit of a laugh, if I’m going to be honest. Each weekend in October, the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola puts on a rodeo within its prison grounds. It’s not your ordinary rodeo, though. In this one all the competitors are prison inmates and the rules of normal society don’t exist. Take for instance the event (my favourite) called ‘inmate poker’. Four prisoners sit at a poker table that’s been placed into the...

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27 October