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Let’s Catch Up on the Continents Series

August 2nd, 2010 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Motor racing, soccer, Sports Journalism, The National

This is pretty good stuff, if I say so myself.

However, I didn’t link to the Europe part of this, a couple of days ago, and South America is coming up for Tuesday morning.

So let’s catch up with that.

Got any guesses at our top three venues for Europe and South America?

Let’s link you up.

First, Europe.

The winner is … the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club — Wimbledon, to most of the world. And it was the winner by a large margin. Read about it here. And can you notice the one bit of the photo that betrays that it wasn’t taken in the past year? (Answer below.)

In the survey we did of newsroom people who are interested in sports,  Wimbledon not only won Europe, it won … the world. The Most Popular Venue, in our room.

Second? Augusta National.

I like Wimbledon, but I don’t know if I like it that much. OK, yeah, it’s pretty cool. I covered the tournament twice, a generation ago, and it sits in a green and leafy (and upscale) suburb, and the whole thing smacks of comfortable predictability. Strawberries and cream, etc. Though it also can be quite stuffy. And if you’re covering Wimbledon, as a journalist, get ready for two weeks of 12-hour days. They play till it gets dark, and it doesn’t get dark till about 10 p.m.

Second, in Europe, is Camp Nou, the big soccer stadium in Barcelona.  And third was the Old Course at St. Andrews, the “home of golf” as the Brits are required to tell you.

Nos. 4-through-8 are at the end of the Wimbledon story. It was tough, in Europe, getting it down to just eight venues because it has scads of them. Same as the U.S.

And, hot off the presses (newspapers actually are warm, when they roll off; just sayin’) …

South America!

Frankly, some of the most fun of this series is looking into the continents not normally associated with big sports events and memorable venues. That would be Africa, Asia …

And South America.

The clear winner here was … and you can read about it here … the Maracana, the enormous soccer venue in Rio de Janeiro. Famous especially for one of the most shocking upsets in soccer history, Uruguay’s 2-1 victory over Brazil in the World Cup final, with 200,000 Brazilians watching in horrified silence (by the end).

Second, was Interlagos, a famed race track in Sao Paulo, where the Formula One season often shows up with the season championship hanging in the balance. Read about it here.

And third was … La Bombonera, a quirky and ancient (by South American standards) stadium in Buenos Aires. Recently chosen “the most intimidating” place to play in world soccer by one fairly well-informed website.  That story is here.

The Nos. 4-8 venues aren’t up on the website yet, so I will tell you here.

4. Red Course at the Jockey Club in Buenos Aires. A really nice golf course with a famous designer.

5. Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paolo.

6. Valparaiso Sports Club, in Chile, home to perhaps the biggest horse race in South American and more than a century old.

7. Estadio Monumental, Ecuador. The second-biggest football venue on the continent, behind only the Maracana.

8. La Paz Golf Club, in Bolivia, the world’s highest functioning golf course, at more than 10,800 feet.

Some of you may recognize the byline at the top of the three stories. William K. Wolfrum (Bill, as we knew him) worked with us in SoCal before moving to Bela Horizonte, Brazil, a few years back. It was nice to get someone who actually lives in South America to write this for us.

So,  now you are caught up. Africa and Asia still to come!

Oh, and the Wimbledon photo? Taken before 2009 … because I don’t see a roof on Center Court.


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