Sport in South Korea

Sport in South Korea

South Korea has traditional sports of its own, but sports imported from the West are predominant. Popular sports include hiking, football, baseball, basketball, swimming, athletics, and boxing.

Traditional sports

There are various forms of folk dancing still practiced in Korea. Although not commonly considered a sport, traditional mask dance drama is physically demandingref|trad2.

Kite flying is considered a sport in East Asiaref|kite1. Kites are flown during the first few days of the Lunar New Year and Chuseok. It is not, however, a major league sport as it is in Thailandref|kite1. The traditional Korean kite is made of bamboo sticks and traditional Korean paperref|trad1.

Bull fighting (So Ssa-eum) in Korea features two bulls fighting each other. The bulls butt heads and attempt to push the opponent backwards. The first bull to move backwards loses the gameref|trad1. Many people tip on bulls that they think are going to win. The owner of bull named Glamorous made 1.2 million dollars from tipping alone.

Korean wrestling (Ssireum) is similar to Sumo wrestling from Japan. Korean wrestling is played in a sandy ring, and the contender who throws his opponent to the ground wins a pointref|trad1.

ports originating from Korea

Taekwondo, a popular martial art originated in Korea. Taekwondo means "technique of kicking and punching", although the emphasis lies on the kicks. Even though it was practiced for centuries—its origins have been traced as far back as the 1st century BCref|taek1—it only became popular after World War II. It became standard military training in korea, and in 1961 the rules were standardizedref|trad2.

Taekkyeon is a traditional martial art that originated in Korea during the Goguryeo period in the 4th centuryref|trad2. It uses open hands and the feet, whereas the use of clenched fists is not permitted. The motions are smoother and more curvilinear than Taekwondoref|trad2.

Hapkido is another martial art from Korea, although not as popular as Taekwondo outside the peninsula. Hapkido developed during the Three Kingdoms and shares many characteristics with the Japanese Aikido.ref|trad1.

Popular sports

Football is the most popular team sport in Korea. South Korea has qualified for seven FIFA World Cup finals (Asian record) and co-hosted the 2002 World Cup, finishing in 4th place. The K-League is the oldest domestic professional football league in Asia.

Popular throughout Asia, Badminton is played by many Koreans. Badminton nets can be found in many outdoor recreation parks. Korean players often reach the finals in regional and world championshipsref|contemp1. Bowling is a popular sport in South Korea, with many local leagues. Computerized systems are commonplaceref|contemp1.

Baseball was introduced to Korea in 1905 by American missionaries and carries a strong following today. Professional teams owned by large conglomerates (chaebols) compete in the Korea Baseball Organization. Another U.S. sport gaining popularity in South Korea is basketball. Professional basketball teams compete in the Korean Basketball League.

Fishing and hiking are common activities in South Korea. Fishing is popular in streams, rivers, and the oceans. There are arranged fishing toursref|contemp1. Hiking in the Korean mountains is very popular, and weekend after weekend popular areas fill with people.

Golf is very popular in South Korea. It is often thought that this is linked to the fact that golf is considered a status symbolref|contemp1. Membership in golf clubs in South Korea is considerably more expensive than in Japan or the US. South Korea is especially strong in women's golf; 45 Koreans play on the world's leading women's tour, the LPGA tour in the United States. The best-known Korean golfer is Pak Se-riref|contemp1.

Scuba diving is popular on Jeju island.

Korea is home to a number of good downhill skiing slopes. Snowboarding was not allowed in most resorts until recently.

Rugby union is played to some degree in South Korea, with the Korean team being currently ranked 23rd out of around a hundred nations. Korea will participate in the 2008 Asian Five Nations, the inaugural Asian Five Nations.

Table tennis is popular in South Korearef|contemp1. There are minor leagues in many universities.

E-sports have found a strong home in South Korea.

Major sport events

Olympic Games

The Olympic Games were held in Seoul in 1988.

North Korea and South Korea marched together in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, and are likely to do so again in 2008. (See Sports in North Korea.)

Football Worldcup

The 2002 FIFA World Cup was held in Korea and Japan with extreme success. More than 7 million Koreans came to the streets to support their team in the semifinals against Germany.

ee also

*List of Korea-related topics
*Sports in North Korea


* cite encyclopedia | ency=Britannica Student Encyclopedia | edition=Online | year=2005 | article=Kite Flying as a Sport
* cite web | title=Sport | url= | accessmonthday=July 23 | accessyear=2005
* cite encyclopedia | ency=Britannica Student Encyclopedia | edition=Online | year=2005 | article=Korea: Education, Recreation, and Welfare
* cite web | title=Traditional Sports and Games | url= | accessmonthday=July 23 | accessyear=2005
*TJbacon Asia recreation
* cite book | author=Korean Folk Village | title=Korean Traditional Culture: Scents of Korean Traditional Culture | publisher=Lee Sang-So | year=2000 | id=ISBN 89-951216-2-9
* cite encyclopedia | ency=Encyclopædia Britannica | edition=Online | year=2005 | article=Martial art: Taekwondo

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