|Some of the best baseball players in the world
are Cuban. However, many Cuban athletes have defected to the United States
and other countries. For example, Livan Hernández defected in 1995
and signed up with the Florida Marlins.
Every year, Cuba holds the School Sports Games,
a competition for students. The best athletes between the ages of 11 and
16 are invited to be tested for the Schools for Sports Initiation (EIDE).
EIDE students attend regular classes, receive advanced coaching and take
part in higher-level competitions. The top graduates from this school enter
one of several Schools of Higher Athletic Performance (ESPA).
|Cuban athletes have won many Olympic and international
medals. At the 1991 Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba won 265 medals,
second only to the United States. Cuba also received the largest number
of gold medals. Teófilo Stevenson, a heavyweight boxer, won gold
medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics, at Montreal in 1976, and at Moscow
in 1980. In 1976, Alberto Juantorena won gold medals in the 400- and 800-metre
runs. He is the first man to win both events in one Olympic Games. Javier
Sotomayor maintains the world record in high jump, and some believe him
to be the greatest high jumper of all time.
Cuban people are excluded from some recreational
areas that are open only to foreign tourists. Cubans are not allowed clubs
where Cubans enjoy dancing. Cockfights, although illegal, are another favourite
pastime. Cubans also enjoy watching television, listening to the radio,
playing music or dominoes, and going to baseball and boxing matches.