Champions of the world: Argentina’s sporting miracle

by Dave

You have to work hard to see an overweight person on the streets of Buenos Aires. All youngsters look quite athletic.

via The Independent
Sport comes easy to most people here. Without the financial advantages of so many of the world’s leading sporting nations, Argentina is producing an ever-increasing number of champions across a whole range of sports.

Football has long been king in this corner of the planet and the 1978 and 1986 World Cup winners have always exported their greatest talents to the game’s biggest clubs, but Argentines are now taking other stages by storm. The golfer Angel Cabrera won last year’s US Open, Argentines swamp the men’s world tennis rankings, Manu Ginobili is one of the big names of American basketball and even the country’s rugby union players went further than the All Blacks in finishing third in last year’s World Cup.

“Meat and potatoes” is one of the explanations offered by Charlie Epps. The American golf coach, who worked with Cabrera before his triumph at Oakmont, has lived and worked in Argentina and has been visiting the country for many years. “They have the sort of diet that breeds very strong people physically,” he said.

“Having a great climate helps and their sporting traditions are also a huge factor. I don’t think there’s any other country in the world that’s as mad about sport as Argentina. Take a stroll through Buenos Aires and you’ll see kids playing football or tennis in every park. They’re feisty, they’re great competitors.