Barcelona has always been a city that lives and breathes sport and today there’s no shortage of sports in Barcelona! Thanks to the 1992 Olympics Games, facilities have improved drastically to offer all types of athletic activities. A quarter of the city’s population now regularly is doing some type of sport and have included physical exercise in their habitual activities. The people of Barcelona have seized the city’s public spaces, squares, parks and new beaches and turned them into focal points of sports activities.
And Barcelona continues to advance in this direction. The City Council promotes and stimulates sport at all levels – from amateur to professional, from school to retirement, from ‘fun runs’ to summer activities – building and remodeling facilities, equipping districts and educational centers. The City Council is also facilitating access for everyone to a healthier lifestyle through physical exercise and consolidating Barcelona’s international role as a city of Sport. Barcelona is the ideal city for professional sport; it has quality facilities, is well-served by public transport, has a large Barcelona hotels infrastructure and a pleasant climate all year round.
Without question football (soccer) is foremost sport in the minds of the majority of Spaniards and throughout the country are many Clubs maintaining excellent teams of international quality. The passions of its millions of supporters run high as the players and the teams compete on any football pitch. The local team, Barca, is one of the best ranked teams in Europe. It competes in the first division of the Spanish Football League. The team really belongs to the sports club called Barca, which actually has teams in different sports. Pau Gasol, a present-day NBA star came from the Barca basketball team. This team also won the 2003 Euro league. And FC Barcelona is one of the world’s best known sports clubs, with more than 156,000 registered members. As part of its commitment to social issues, the club contributes a percentage of its income to development, educational, social and cultural initiatives through the FC Barcelona Foundation.
Bullfighting with its theatrical and sporting elements is considered by the population as the second most popular pastime in Spain. However in Catalonia, bullfighting is not a great favorite, as in the rest of Spain. Sporadic bullfighting events may be staged on the odd Sunday afternoon, but only during the summer. Also Cycling is a sport that competes for second place with Bullfighting, after Football, for the most television spectators.
Due to the numerous long stretches of beaches, and the different waters of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, all types of water sports are practiced and enjoy the usual patronage of young enthusiasts. Also Barcelona is famous for its castells or human castles. This traditional sport of the Catalan region consists of building human towers that reach amazing heights. The Catalan people are very proud of this custom and consider it a reflection of what teamwork, perseverance and endurance can achieve. Castell contests are a sight to behold.
Every year, the Laureus World Sports Awards honors the globe’s best sportsmen and sportswomen and celebrates the universal power of using sports as a tool for social change. At that period of a year all hotels in Barcelona are full. The Spirit of Sport Award acknowledges those in sports who take action to create a better world.