Insights February 28, 2021

Brushing up on sport terminology

By Living Word

Someone wins, someone else loses – but in the universal language of sports, we see the full range of emotions and get to feel part of the action. This year will see some unmissable sports events, and we take a look at some good-to-know phrases.

For The Guardian, Sachin Nakrani has listed 21 unmissable sports events in 2021. At the top of the list is of course the Tokyo Olympics. “The showpiece event of 2020 will be the showpiece event of 2021 – or at least that’s the hope of organisers who, according to World Athletics president, Sebastian Coe, have a “cast-iron will” to stage the event. Should the Games take place it will be a simplified version of those that have come before, but there will still be plenty of medals on offer.”

According to the organisers, the games will be “the most innovative ever organised, and will rest on three fundamental principles to transform the world: striving for your personal best (achieving your personal best); accepting one another (unity in diversity); and passing on a legacy for the future (connecting to tomorrow).” Did you know who the Olympic mascot is, by the way? Meet Miraitowa, a smiley, futuristic creature. Cady Lang writes in this article for that “the mascot, which resembles both a feline superhero and a robot, gets its name from the Japanese words “mirai” (meaning future) and “towa” (meaning eternity).”

Go to Japan Travel for some useful words to join the locals and cheer on the athletes during the Olympics. Before the race or match, you can wish them good luck with ‘ganbatte’. If someone wins, shout ‘yatta’ for hooray or ‘omedetou’ for congratulations. Alternatively, if someone is less fortunate, ‘zannen’ (what a shame) or ‘oshii’ (that was close) will provide a bit of comfort.

Whatever you do, don’t get caught sleeping

Another major event is the UEFA European Championship, which will take place in 2021 but is still referred to as ‘Euro 2020’. To help you keep up with what’s happening on the pitch, gives the lowdown on football slang, cliches and idioms. For example, a player ‘caught sleeping’ has made a foolish mistake, and one who has missed a huge chance to score, as if served on a plate, is a ‘sitter’. If someone has scored an incredible goal, the kind that Leo Messi delivers on a regular basis, they’ve done a ‘worldie’; and when a manager has ‘lost the dressing room’, they have lost the backing of the team or coaches, a nightmare indeed.

Tennis fans can look forward to Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world. In his article in The Guardian, Sachin confirms that “the good news is that the Championships are more than likely to take place in 2021 having not being held this year for the first time since the second world war. Organisers expect to welcome full crowds but are braced for reduced numbers, or even none at all.” If you need to brush up on your tennis terminology, check out this handy glossary. You might already know that ‘ace’ is a serve that lands inside the lines and is untouched by the opponent. But did you know that a ‘double bagel’ is a match that ends with the score 6-0 6-0, or that ‘slice’ is a shot hit with both backspin and sidespin? Let’s hope the players don’t get the ‘yips’ though – apparently this is “a bad case of nerves making it very difficult for a gamer to serve well”.