Meanwhile in ... Barcelona, Spain, every time Lionel Messi scores a goal, the city jumps – literally

And in Laos, an intrepid group of young women are honing their rugby skills, while in Finland, a researcher is speaking out against separate gym classes for boys and girls.

Albert Gea/Reuters
Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring.

Barcelona, Spain, every time Lionel Messi scores a goal, the city jumps – literally. Scientists have installed a seismometer close to Camp Nou stadium where Messi plays as star forward for the city’s soccer team FC Barcelona. According to scientists, the seismometer registers vibrations each time the team scores a goal. Camp Nou is the second-largest soccer stadium in the world, with seating for 99,354 fans. Messi is often called the world’s best soccer player. 

Laos, an intrepid group of young women are honing their rugby skills. The number of women involved is small (estimated at somewhere between one thousand and two thousand). But American player Megan Knight and the Lao Rugby Federation are working hard to cultivate skill and enthusiasm among Laotian women. The challenges are many. In Laos, which has never won an Olympic medal, it’s hard to find proper playing fields, and unexploded land mines remain a danger in rural areas. But Knight has recruited some eager players, many of whom had never tried a sport before, in both the capital city of Vientiane and some of the country’s northern villages. “With rugby we saw it as an opportunity that girls could access,” Knight told the South China Morning Post. 

Finland, a researcher is speaking out against separate gym classes for boys and girls. Jyväskylä University lecturer and sport psychologist Marja Kokkonen is participating in a three-year research project aimed at reducing gender bias in the nation’s sports culture. She recently told news group Yle that the division of boys and girls in gym class is based on old-fashioned ideas about differences between the sexes and cheats the country. There may be boys who excel at dance, she says, and girls who could be outstanding ballplayers. But the current system doesn’t encourage them to find out.

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