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The Great Sporting Cities

Friday, June 28, 2002
Ben King

From baseball in the Bronx to cricket in Calcutta, people around the world love cheering for their team. So how better to relax after a business meeting than to turn up at the big match? Globetrotter picks the world's great places to cheer alongside the locals.

1. London, England

Britons say that they invented most sports but are no good at any of them. Not quite true, but in rugby, football, cricket and track, Britain's enthusiasm for sport is, in the legendary words of a soccer club manager, never less than 110%.

2. Monte Carlo, Monaco

The Formula One Grand Prix motor race is Monaco's top sporting event, but the city is home to top golfers, tennis players and race car drivers, who live here to avoid paying income tax.

3. New York, N.Y.

From Joe DiMaggio to Babe Ruth, from the Yankees to the Mets and formerly the Dodgers, New York has been home to the greatest men ever to play baseball. It also hosts the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Flushing Meadow.

4. Los Angeles, Calif.

The LA Lakers are possibly the most glamorous sporting team in the world. Not just because of Shaq, but because stars from Whoopi Goldberg to Jack Nicholson vie for courtside seats.

5. Barcelona, Spain

The '92 Olympics helped to put this city on the map. But the real sporting centre of Barcelona is Nou Camp, the giant soccer stadium where the football team fondly known as "Barça" plays.

6. Melbourne, Australia

Australians are an extremely sporty bunch, dominating cricket, rugby and swimming. Although Sydney hosted the Olympics, Melbourne is home to the Australian Open tennis championship and the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

7. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazilians have triumphed in many sports, from tennis to motor racing. But soccer is the nation's passion, and they have won more soccer World Cups than any other country. The 100,000-seater Maracana Stadium is the centre of Rio's sporting life.

8. Moscow, Russia

Russia is not quite the sporting superpower that the USSR used to be, but it still sets the standard in training athletes. Russians compete at the top level in a range of sports, including gymnastics, ice hockey and basketball.

9. Calcutta, India

Eden Gardens is a temple to India's chief sporting passion, cricket, which was once described as an Indian game that happened to be invented by the English. Up to 100,000 passionate fans throng the stadium for international matches.

10. Milan, Italy

There's only one sport that matters in Italy-soccer. The biggest match of the season is Il Derby, a clash between Milan's two local soccer teams, AC Milan and Internazionale, in the city's San Siro stadium.

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