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Mexico City profile for Sportcal Insight

September 25, 2014


“Is this your first time in Mexico City? It’s a monster, isn’t it?” soccer agent Dario Vidali asks his newest recruit upon driving him into Mexico’s sprawling capital. “But even the ugliest monster has its charms.”

Vidali is a fictitious character in Mexico’s popular 2008 comedy Rudo & Cursi, but his description of Mexico City is certainly fitting.

Once synonymous with kidnappings and severe pollution, Mexico City has worked hard to improve its image over the last decade. The liberal local government has kept the capital free from the drug-related violence that has plagued parts of Mexico and it has been widely lauded for its efforts to improve air quality.

In a bid to combat obesity, crime and drug addiction, the city government has installed 600 open-air gyms across the city for free public use. Urban renewal has seen once-rundown neighbourhoods flourish and tourists have flocked to visit the capital’s ancient ruins, gaze at its famous murals and dine in its many world-class restaurants.

Previously the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, the city was home to several majestic ball courts in which two teams would compete to force a rubber ball through a narrow stone hoop using only their elbows, knees, hips and heads. Historians believe the losing or even winning teams were often sacrificed to the gods.

Centuries later in 1968 – with such practices firmly in the past – Mexico City became the first Latin American city to host the Olympic Games, a feat not to be repeated for almost 50 years until Rio de Janeiro stages the Olympics in 2016…

Click here to read this feature in full in the fourth issue of Sportcal Insight magazine (pages 40-41).

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