In a year when Rio’s Olympic Games promise to dominate the sports media spotlight, there are plenty of other exciting international competitions to consider attending as a spectator, too. If your idea of enjoying exercise on vacation is to go to a world-class sporting event, these itineraries will satisfy the quest for both glamour and adventure — without the Olympic-sized hype and hassles.
1. Australian Open
Summer is happening right now if you’re in Melbourne, Australia, where the tennis championship known as the Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific is about to be underway from January 18 through 31. While the international audience is looking forward to marquee names like Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova, the hometown crowd is also excited to see the final bow from Australian star Lleyton Hewitt.
2. Four Continents Figure Skating Championships
Taipei, Taiwan plays host to the 18th annual Four Continents Figure Skating Championships on February 15 through 21. The event is open to all non-European countries in the International Skating Union but has come to be known as a real competition between top competitors from the United States, Canada, China, and Japan. Tickets to the events are, amazingly, free — so use those funds to splurge on one of the city’s five-star hotels.
3. Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco
Late spring is an idyllic time to hire a yacht to sail along the French Riviera. Plan an excursion from May 26 through 29 and you can catch Monaco’s Grand Prix, the Formula 1 motor race that has been an annual tradition since 1929. Travelers can also opt to arrive a few weeks early to enjoy the classic cars touring the same race route for the Historic Grand Prix on May 13 through 15, an event that takes place every two years.
4. Royal Ascot
Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether spectator fashion or equestrian achievement forms the basis of the real competition at Royal Ascot, the annual horse racing extravaganza held west of London in Berkshire, England that would truly give the Kentucky Derby a run for its money. Either way, you’re in for some seriously fabulous people and animal viewing on June 14 through 18.
Zurich, Switzerland will provide the picturesque backdrop for Cybathlon, a pioneering new international competition to be held on October 8. Cybathlon’s athletes all have disabilities and use assistive robotic technologies, a groundbreaking event aimed at bringing about more awareness of science and tech advancements and how they can help humans live better lives.
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