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Mallorca Cradle Of Champions

No one can deny that Mallorca is an island that lives and breathes for sport. Amateur and professional footballers, basketball players, athletes, golfers, cyclists, motorcyclists, horse riders, tennis and padel players, swimmers, and yachtsmen among others can enjoy practicing an endless variety of sports all year round. Mallorca provides all kinds of facilities, installations, and ideal venues for practicing any kind of sporting activity, except those involving snow.

It is a well-known fact and, because of this, the island is the destination of choice for many elite sportsmen and women, who search for somewhere quiet but with good training facilities. It is also home to, or a favorite holiday destination, many sports legends.

“Everyone has the fire, but the champions know when to ignite the spark.” Amit Ray

The footballer Samuel Etoo swears that he will live out the final years of his professional career in Real Mallorca; the British Tour de France winner, Bradley Wiggins, describes Mallorca as a home from home, and according to rumor is currently looking to buy a pied a terre in the Port Pollença area; Boris Becker and Michael Schumacher have both lived among us for several years; the American 5-times cycling champion, Sarah Hammer, trains and holidays on the island; the British footballer Steve McManaman even got married in Palma Cathedral; several Spanish soccer players spend the summer either here or in Ibiza; and so the list goes on, encompassing representatives of all kinds of sporting disciplines and categories.

But what is not so well known is the incredible number of Olympic medallists and world champions who have been born and raised here. Mallorca is one of the Spanish regions with the most world-class sportsmen per square meter. Ever since the marksman Cristobal Tauler became the first Mallorcan world champion in the 1920s, through to the “Balearic” edition of the Davis Cup, when Carlos Moyà and Rafa Nadal crushed Andy Roddick’s American team, to say nothing of recent triumphs by Marga Crespí and Melanie Costa at this year’s world swimming championships in Barcelona, many have contributed to Mallorca’s reputation as a cradle of champions.

Tòfol Castanyer, the world mountain racing champion; Marga Fullana, bronze medallist in Sydney and 5-times world mountain bike champion; Miguel Capó, world duathlon finalist; Guillem Timoner, 6-time world speed cycling champion during the 50s and 60s; the speed cyclist Joan Llaneras is currently the leading Spanish Olympic medal-holder, as well as being world champion 7 times; we should also mention fellow champions Miquel Alzamora or Toni Tauler.

“Champions are made in the dark before they are revealed in light.”

Matshona Dhliwayo

If we are talking tennis, then obviously Rafa Nadal springs to mind: his passion and dedication for the sport have secured him the No. 1 in the ATP rankings for 209 weeks. However, before him came fellow-Mallorcan Carlos Moyà, who was the first Spaniard to be ranked number one on the ATP list. Nuria Llagostera was the first Balearic tennis player to win a Masters Cup. In soccer, Palma’s Chichi Soler and Gabi Vidal made history in 1992 by taking gold at the Barcelona Olympics. And in the spirit of celebrating the Nadal family’s mastery in sport, we cannot overlook Miguel Angel Nadal and his numerous triumphs with FC Barcelona including the Spanish Super Cup, the LaLiga title and the European Cup, the first in the Catalan club’s history, during his debut campaign in Catalonia. But back to Rafa Nadal.

He had a dream. He wanted to create a center to raise awareness about the values of sport and its educational capacity.

The Rafa Nadal Museun Experience

The Rafa Nadal Museum is like none other museum. The exhibition room showcases the memorabilia of athletes you have always admired and Rafa Nadal’s career highlights and trophies. The experiential room offers you the opportunity to assess your competitive gaming skills with the help of the latest technologies in audiovisual media and interactive gaming screen. From rowing to downhill mountain biking and Formula 1 racing you will step right into the game.

The Rafa Nadal Museum offers a unique and inspirational experience that sports lovers should not miss, and lots of opportunities for amazing photos. The best way to get the Rafa Nadal Museum Tickets is to secure them online. This comes especially handy since the museum allows entrance to a limited number of people at a time. Here is everything you should know to buy Rafa Nadal Museum Tickets.

Changing gear, Jorge Lorenzo is of course our greatest motorcyclist, having twice won the world GP championship on top of the two he won in the 250cc category. Luis Salom is the reigning Moto3 champion and shaping up as heir-in-waiting.

“Dedication makes dreams come true.”

Kobe Bryant

In basketball, we have the legendary world champion Rullán, or Palma’s own Rudy Fernández, one of the golden boys in the Spanish national side’s dream team, who won the European championship in Poland, took silver in Beijing, and the 2006 world championship in Japan, as well as a stint in the NBA league before joining Real Madrid.

In taekwondo, we have Brigitte Yagüe, who is the foremost Spanish sportswoman in this discipline, with three world championships, one Olympic final, and four European championships under her belt. Another brilliant sportswoman is Elena Gomez, who in 2002 became the first Mallorcan gymnast to obtain a gold medal at a world championship.

Mallorca can boast a considerable number of champions in water sports. The triumphs of Rafael Escalas both at home and abroad throughout the seventies and eighties paved the way for Xavi Torres, the winner of 15 gold medals between world championships and Paralympic games; Blanca Gil is one of the best female water polo players in the world. Another area where Mallorcan sportsmen shine is spearfishing, having provided as many as 19 world champions, among them (my friend and neighbor) José Amengual Domingo.

Being a nautical region, yachting has also spawned several Balearic champions, among them Pollença’s Pepote Ballester who won gold at the Atlanta Olympics in Tornado class.

Another Olympic champion is Jordi Calafat, a gold-medallist at Barcelona 92. Calafat is still an active sportsman and some of his latest triumphs have been with the Alinghi, which has won the two most recent editions of America’s Cup.

To round off this seemingly endless list of Mallorcan sporting triumphs, we can produce world champions in such varied disciplines as bowling, kickboxing, bodybuilding, chess, kayak, trail biking, golf, shooting, front tennis, or university soccer.

I am afraid that I have been unable to do justice to every one of our world champions, and we must remember that the list could be longer still; however, what is truly remarkable is that when one takes into account the size and population of this island, we do have an amazing sporting history.

Which begs the question: is there something in the water?


  • Enza Valiante Valentini

    A creative executive and digital strategist passionate about travel and quality, in love with Mallorca and the world at large. I hope that our website will inspire you to visit this beautiful island and help you make the most out of your travels.

    View all posts

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