Sports in Puerto Rico

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Athletic History and Cultural Identity

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This site was created for American Culture 213: Introduction to Latino Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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For our project, we are going to create a website that discusses sports in Puerto Rico and its impact on the culture of the island. We are going to concentrate heavily on the three most popular sports in Puerto Rico: boxing, basketball, and baseball. We will also touch upon a few other major sports figures from Puerto Rico that are significant to their cultural identity. Puerto Rico has made significant contributions to each of these sports but outside of Puerto Rico, their athletes often remain disconnected from any association with the island when they are just seen as part of a bigger professional sports league in a foreign country. This is not true of all athletes; especially those who have attained notoriety for excelling in their respective sport, but the less well-known athletes commonly face this problem.

Puerto Rico has a rich legacy of sports in the United States. It is relatively unknown, however, the impact these sports heroes have on culture within their home country. The American sports media rarely focuses on influence these players have outside of our own country. Within Puerto Rico, for example, the outcome of a boxing match leads to a source of national pride and fighters are raised to the status of celebrities, representing Puerto Rico to the rest of the world.

We will discuss how such an impact changes and shifts the cultural identity of Puerto Rican citizens. We have chosen to focus on athletics because this is one area in which a small country can compete on the same level as the rest of the world and actually make a name for itself. Puerto Ricans cherish their athletes for this reason and for this project we are going to explore this concept in depth.

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