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Greece has risen to prominence in a number of sporting areas in recent decades. Football in particular has seen a rapid transformation, with the Greek national football team winning the 2004 UEFA European Football Championship. Other sports, such as basketball, are also rising to prominence. The successful organisation of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games led also to the further development of many sports and has led to the creation of many World class sport venues all over Greece and especially in Athens.

Contents

Football

Greece's national side have recently won the UEFA European Football Championship, having won EURO 2004. The Greek Super League, comprising 16 teams, is the highest domestic football league. Currently, the League is dominated by Olympiacos F.C., who have won 37 championships, Panathinaikos (19) and AEK Athens (11). Panathinaikos and AEK Athens have seen the most success in European competitions, making it to the European Cup final in 1970-71 and to the UEFA Cup semi-final in 1976-77 respectively.

Basketball

Basketball in Greece has a long history and tradition (Greece was one of the eight founding members of FIBA in 1932), but only came into prominence in the mid-eighties. Since 1986, the national team has a constant presence in international tournaments and the U21, U19 and youth squads have won a host of medals in European and world competitions. Basketball became extremely popular in Greece after the achievement of AEK Athens BC in European Cup Winners' Cup 1968 when they were winners in front of 80.000 fans and the achievement of the Greek national team in Eurobasket 1987, when they won the gold medal and the first international title for a Greek national team ever. They also won it in 2005 in Belgrade. As of after the 2008 Summer Olympics, Greece is ranked number 4 in the world. The women's team has had minor success, as they have a few players in the WNBA, and are ranked at number 18 in the world.

Paralympic Sports

Paralympic Sports have significant grown in Greece since the late 70s. The first participation of athletes with a disability at Paralympic Games was in 1976. The organisation of the Paralympic Games in Athens led to significant growth. The Hellenic Team participated in 17 of the 19 sports and won 20 medals (3 Gold, 13 Silver and 4 Bronze). At the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games the Greek Team made its most successful appearance ever with 24 medals (5 Gold, 9 Silver and 10 Bronze).

Rugby union

Weightlifting

Weightlifting has been another successful sport for Greece, with the national team regularly winning gold medals in the Olympics.

Athletics

Athletics.

Sailing and boat trips

Greece has two bordering seas; the Aegean Sea and Mediterranean Sea, so it not surprising that cruising is a popular sport. There are many cruising charters available. Gulets are traditional motor yachts and gulet holidays are becoming increasingly popular with tourists from around the world.

Scuba diving

Mediterranean and Aegean coasts are the best places to dive. It is also possible to dive to shipwrecks (with special permission of local authorities) in areas around Greece.

Windsurfing

The bays around the many Greek islands and peninsulas have ideal wind conditions for windsurfing.

Fishing

Fishing cannot be done without a license even if you're an amateur. You must apply to have one by submitting some id cards and paying a fee. Details concerning fishing zones, the minimum sizes of fish that can be caught, and the numbers of fish that can be caught per person, can be obtained from the Department of Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Especially Aegean and Mediterranean seas are rich fishing areas.

Water Polo

Greece is often considered as an international powerhouse in both men's and women's water polo. In international competitions, Greece occasionally places in the top 4, and usually places in the top 8. In 2004, the Greece women's national water polo team won the silver medal in the Athens Olympics.

Tennis

Tennis in Greece over the past decade or so has been growing. Eleni Daniilidou has had a lot of success, winning 5 WTA Tour titles in her career. Several players with Greek ancestry, such as Pete Sampras and Mark Philippoussis have become very famous around the world. Greek-Cypriot star Marcos Baghdatis has many fans in Greece. Greece also has several other players at the international level, like Konstantinos Economidis, Vasilis Mazarakis, Anna Gerasimou, and Irini Georgatou.

See also

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