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Switzerland is quite a sporty nation and has produced a number of internationally acclaimed sportsmen and women.
Sport in Switzerland
Two thirds of the Swiss population take part in some sporting activity at least once a week. The most popular sports are skiing, rambling, soccer, ice hockey, basketball, cycling, swimming, tennis, gymnastics and walking. The Swiss national sports are Schwingen (traditional alpine wrestling) and Hornussen (a cross between baseball and golf).
Switzerland is synonymous with winter sports. Its many ski resorts are popular with the locals and overseas visitors alike. Other favourite winter past-times include snow-shoeing, snowboarding, tobogganing and ice-skating. Rambling and hiking are particularly popular in the summer months. Switzerland has over 50,000 kilometres of signposted hiking trails.
Roger Federer is Switzerland’s most famous and successful athlete. In 2009, he reclaimed his number one world ranking following wins at the Paris Open and Wimbledon. With 15 Grand Slam titles to his name, Federer is arguably the greatest male tennis player of all time. Switzerland’s other great sporting exports include the cyclist and Olympic medallist Fabian Cancellara, the ten-times World Orienteering Champion Simone Niggli-Luder, Ernesto Bertarelli who skippered the winning Americas Cup crew in 2003 and 2007, and Tom Lüthi, who won the 125 cc Motosport World Championship at the tender age of 19.
Switzerland always excels in winter sports. However, its sportswomen and men compete in many other disciplines at both international and European level. Take the Swiss soccer team, for example: they not only qualified for the World Cup in 1994, 2006 and 2010, but also played in the UEFA European Football Championships in 2008, an event which Switzerland co-hosted with Austria. Swiss athletes have also enjoyed great success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
International sports federations
Switzerland is the headquarters of a number of international sports federations, such as the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne (IOC), the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) in Zurich, and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in Nyon.