Tracing the history of the great interest of Danes in sports will reveal an interesting story behind it. Apparently, defeat in the Danish-Prussian War of 1863-64 encouraged the start of what is now termed a sthe extraordinary interest of Danes in sports and recreation. What started as training in small arms and physical readiness became the foundation of programs leading to sports excellence.
Sports is intended to be for everyone in Denmark if government will have its way. This is regardless of age and social status. Children and adults alike commonly participate in organized sports activities. Opportunities for participation will usually emanate from membership in sports clubs as intramural sports which is popular in countries like the US is unknown in Denmark.
The national sport of the country is football. During winter time however, it is handball that takes center stage. Denmark is a very active participant in the Olympic Games and has participated in every Olympic Game of the modern years except for one. Whether as participants or spectators, every Dane is bound to be involved in any sports activity. Paul Elvstrøm is considered Denmark’s most successful athlete of all time.
Judging by its performance in the Olympic Games, it can be concluded that the Danes’ consistent interest in sports has actually paid-off. It would be interesting to note that Denmark ranks fourth among countries considered very successful in garnering medals from the Olympic Games. If there is any such thing as a positive effect of war defeat, Denmark’s exemplary sports performance is probably it.