The History and Culture of Sports in Berlin

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Topic: The History and Culture of Sports in Berlin

The history of sports can be dated as far back as the existence of people as purposive sportspeople and active beings. Children used to play around the homestead; it was used by people as a way of improving people’s social life as sport brings many people together. Sports were used as a way of uniting people of the community or the nation together.

Berlin is the capital city of German and holds is one of the sixteen states that are found in the country. It is the largest city in the republic and holds the history of being capital city of German’s republic. During its early ages of developing Berlin was a multicultural centre, the area was populated by Germanic Swabian and Burgundian tribes.It was a centre for commerce and agriculture as the town continued growing and merging with Cölln. It diverse in sports the most popular game being football which is played all over the city and has several football clubs. It hosted the 2006 world cup finals and has one of the highest professional football team that plays in the Bundesliga season games that take place in the spring.

Berlin constitutes, out of eight six, twenty four founders of the DFB, the German Football Association, the three main football clubs in Berlin Hertha BSC which was the only one allowed to play in western German, Union Berlin and Dynamo Berlin were the only teams to play in Eastern German during the cold war. The 2006 FIFA world cup was held in the Olympic stadium, the stadium hosted the later stages of matches in the summer Olympics with other sections of the matches being played in smaller grounds within the city (Rosen, 2008-97). The ground was also the host of the 1974 FIFA world cup which constituted both East and West German.

Hertha Berlin the original founders of the German Football Association in the 1900 was founded in 25th July 1892. It was the most successful football club that won two championships between 1930 and 1931. But due to the Nazi regime the club was abolished. The club was the founder of the German Bundesliga in 1963, in the 1999-2000 the club was the first ever representative of Berlin in the UEFA championship league. Union Berlin was formed in 1906 and plated for East Berlin during the cold war. Unlike Hertha this team was unsuccessful and did not win nay championship (Rosen, 2008-97). Dynamo Berlin was founded in the year 1953 in East Berlin too; the club was re-founded in 1966 and was made up of a secret police force. The club was known to be very corrupt, it won three championships, and they are the only club in Berlin to reach semi-finals of main European tournaments. Berlin also founded ethnic football clubs that include Jewish team and Turkish teams (Tomlinson, 2006-49). Due to the cold war the Jewish team faced several hardships but post War the clubs were able to fully establish themselves. The city also hosts women national team that won FIFA women’s World Cup in both 2003 and 2007 championships. They have their own Bundesliga but it is semi professional and doesn’t demand fan competition as the men do.

Taking advantage of the climatic condition of the place, the city is also well known for the hosting of winter games making it the most successful nation that hosts these kinds of sports. It is the only country in the world that has four bobsleighs, luge and skeleton tracks. They have won more medals in bobsleighs than any other nation other than Switzerland. In luge Berlin has been dominant winner stretching from its foundation in the 20th century in European championships. The city also takes part in ski jumping competitions and produces some of the best ski jumpers. It was one of the most successful ski jumpers in the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s. The sport constitutes both men and women both professionals in the sport. Speed skating has also become a major successful sport in the city too particularly in the women’s category. It also has a heritage in figure skating and ice curling and has been a regular competitor in Olympics after the sport was re-introduced in 1998 winter Olympics. The curling team, which has both men and women, won world curling championship in 1992 1994.

The city also hosts several other sports, however not as common or known as football and winter sports, these sports include golf which had the city produce the world number one who has won 2010 major golf tournament in two occasions (Bekker, 2005-513). Rugby team that takes part in the second division games, the first rugby team was formed at Neuenheim College around 1850. The German rugby federation was formed in1900. Basketball, handball and cycling; cycling had Germany dominate the winning position in France cycling competition producing some of the best cyclists. German is regarded as the birth place of hand ball. The first match of modern times was officially recorded in 29th October 1917 in Berlin. The hand ball Bundesliga is considered to be the most competitive professional league in the world. The country has won the handball world cup from 1938 to 2007.

German being the largest producer and the best producer of motorsport vehicles has also produced some of the best formula one racers the world has ever had, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. Schumacher and Vettel have won more than ten titles since the championship began in 1950. Berlin holds some of the races that however are held in some other regions in Europe. Tennis is also a game that is played in the city and Germany has produced several professional and successful players that have represented Germany in Olympics giving it few titles. Boxing is among the most watched sports in German TV. The city of Berlin holds several boxing tournaments with players such as Max Schmeling being the heavy weight champion of the world between 1930 and 1932.

Berlin has been part of Olympics since the very first modern games held in 1896. In 1912 Berlin was chosen to the 1916 games but a war partially caused by the countries owns expansionist prevented the games from taking place. Germany being blamed for the First World War, the source of conflict had Berlin banned from 1920 and 1924 games. After being allowed to take part in the 1928 games, the IOC was impressed and once again 1936 Olympics were set to be held in Berlin. The 1936 Olympics also established the tradition of the Olympic torch relay with the torch carried from Olympia Greece to Berlin stadium. But by then the country was no longer a democratic nation. Under dictatorship and leading to the cause of the Second World War the city faced downfalls in sports (Rosen, 2008-97). Athletes could not compete with their own flag; they had to come up with another flag to represent their country. The Nazi regime used sports as a way of propelling their political aspirations; Max Schmeling who pulled an upset on an American boxer found himself a pawn of regime propaganda. As the years progressed the city slowly regained its position and status in sports. The government militarized many of the sports equating athletics to military quality. After the World war Two, Germans continued with their health and fitness; the country democratized sporting activities. Physical education is mandatory in both physical and secondary grades, summertime camping activities that include swimming and mountaineering were recommended as recreational activities. Academic study of sports has also grown in the country.

Sports serve several purposes in Berlin. German has been considered a unity and disunity country that has really affected its districts including its main city Berlin. But sports have been a major unifying factor for the nation (Rosen, 2008-47). Throughout the World wars, the city has managed to bring its people together and has also seen to it that the rest of the world is at peace with Germany. Sports have improved government relations between Germany and the rest of the world. Since the beginning Berlin has been prestigious in producing the best football teams and also production of quality and pro football. This earns the city fame and prestige. Through involvement between both men and women in sports, the city has promoted gender equality. The role of sports, through involving both genders, reflects the equity between men and women hence helps eradicate discrimination as sports reveals that women can also be as great as men. Sports also take the role of improving the health of the city, through sports and physical education to the children. This aids them to grow up as physically fit and is a good way of spending leisure time. Through hosting the Olympics and the winter tournaments the city’s economy grows since it exposes itself to different investors and business people that trade with the city. This helps in the growth of the economy.

Sports and culture has gone through ups and downs in Berlin and Germany at large but through the determination they have pulled through with the cities sporting activities improving progressively.

Rosen, Daniel M.. Dope: a history of performance enhancement in sports from the nineteenth century to today. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2008.

Bekker, Henk. Adventure guide. Edison, N.J.: Hunter, 2005

Tomlinson, Alan, and Christopher Young.German football: history, culture, society. London: Routledge, 2006.