Antilope Sporto Klubas: (B-3) Saltoniskiû 29/3, tel. 279-0029. In Ýverynas, across from the Viktoria hotel. Mostly a body-sculpture aerobics studio for women. A bright, airy third room packed with work-out equipment.
Body Gym: Olimpieciu 3, tel. 272-7744.
Aerobic classes with professional Lithuanian instructors. www.bodygym.lt
Forum Sports Club: Konstitucijos 26, tel. 263-6666. Swimming pool, gym, saunas, aerobics, stadium, massage, solarium, etc.
Grozio Terapijos ir Kosmetologijos Centras:
(A-1) À. Sugiharos 3, tel. 270-5710. A Western-standard beauty center
that can do everything from dermatology to electrocoagulation to a
dozen other skin and body treatments that you can’t pronounce. Their
wide variety of aerobics classes include funk and step, just meters
away from the pool/jacuzzi/sauna complex. They also have a hotel and a
giant workout room. www.sugihara.lt
Le Meridien Villon Fitness Center: 20 km from
Vilnius on the A2 (the Vilnius-Riga highway), inside the Le
Meridien Villon hotel, tel. 273-9777. This
spectacular fitness center could win awards on atmosphere alone: rooms
all look out through tall glass windows towards a peaceful lake and
birch-wood forest. A spacious, airy feel. Pool, jacuzzi, aerobics,
weight rooms and more. Ideal for hotel guests, but also perfect for
those staying elsewhere in Vilnius for the long term. www.hotelvillon.lt
Lietuvos Telekomas Sports Club: (D-3) Savanoriu
28, tel. 260-3757, fax 231-3650. Aerobics, basketball, a solarium, a
children’s playroom. Pricey, but widely considered the best in town www.telecomsportclub.lt
Nautilus Sporto Klubas: (A-1) Justiniskiu 62a,
tel. 248-1843. Weight room, aerobics.
Olympic Gym: Ozo 41, tel. 240-0960. Open: 09-22, Sat.-Sun.
10-21. Modern, popular gym, aerobics, Jacuzzi, pool, sauna. www.olympicgym.lt
Sprotvita Gym: Ateities 1f, tel. 270-1068. Only ten minutes from the city center. Lots of equipment, sauna, bar, etc. www.sportvita.lt
Apollo Bowling: Ozo 25, at Akropolis;
tel. 238-7777. 20 lanes.
Boulingas: (A-6) Zirmunu 68, tel. 277-0760.
Excellent facilities; cheapest bowling in town.
Boulingo Klubas: (C-3) Jasinskio 16, tel.
249-6600. Modern bowling alleys, video games, pool, bar, food.
Cosmic Bowling Center: Vytenio 6, tel.
Kartodromas Brazilija: Savanoriu 178 tel. 231-1507. Tremendous fun for speed freaks.
Most good hotels have their own sauna, but there are public saunas, too. Among them:
Grozio Terapijos ir Kosmetologijos Centras: (A-1) Sugiharos 3,
tel. 270-5710. Swedish and Turkish.
Villon Fitness Club: Le Meridien Villon
Hotel, Vilnius-Riga highway, tel. 273-9777. Finnish and Turkish.
The place to go for a super relaxing Sunday afternoon.
You can go to the mega mall Akropolis, Ozo 25 (see Department
Stores). Ice Palace: Azuolyno 9, tel. 242-4212. A recently opened Western-styled rink and stadium that will house the new Vilnius hockey team. The rink is open to the public for skating at two hour intervals for 10-15 litas, depending on the time of day. Figure
skating and ice hockey clubs are also based here. A pizza shop and café, with NHL paraphernalia, are upstairs. Real enthusiasts can also dart off about 30 minutes to the nearby city
Elektrenai, the hockey capital of Lithuania. Call the rink on Draugystes 24 at tel.
Vandens Pasaulis: Erfurto 13, tel.
270-6766; in the Lazdynai region. The only 50-meter pool in Vilnius.
Vilnius Squash Club: (B-1) I. Simulionio 5,
tel. 216-9211. www.vilniussquash.lt
Tennis Courts: ( G-2) B. Radvilaites 6, in Sereikiskiu Park by
the Gediminas castle.
Of the three Baltic states, Lithuania is probably best known as a sports nation. This
is primarily because of its national basketball teams, which are consistently among the
top three or four in the world.
Football (Soccer): Basketball has long been No. 1 in
Lithuania, but football's increasingly popular. Lithuania's international matches are
played at Zalgiris Stadium, located just north of the river in central Vilnius at
Rinktines 3. For more information contact the Lithuanian Football Association, Seimyniskiu
15, tel. 263-8741.
In the Lithuanian Premiership, champions Kareda Siauliai FC are always on track
to win again. The other two strong teams in Lithuania are Ekranas Panevezys FC and
Zalgiris Vilnius FC.
Hockey: Lithuania doesn't have a strong hockey system,
so most good players go abroad. To the deep disappointment, and even embarrassment of many
Lithuanians, the nation's top hockey player, Darius Kasparaitis, plays for the Russian
national team. Pittsburgh's Kasparaitis is considered one of the most valuable and
hard-checking defensemen in the NHL. A rising Lithuanian star is Philadelphia's
20-year-old winger Dainius Zubrus.
Basketball: In domestic leagues, the perennial
powerhouse is Zalgiris Kaunas, which has also brought in several ex-NBA players; they were
European champions in 1999. Having won the prestigious European Cup over all other clubs
in Europe in 1997, Zalgiris earned a place in the EuroLeague, the top echelon of
basketball on the continent-and then won its championship in 1999. Lithuania has two
players in the NBA, both of them star centers: Arvydas Sabonis of Portland and Zydrunas
Ilgauskas of Cleveland. In 1998, despite a much-publicized victory over the US team in the
World Championships, Lithuania faltered and lost in the latter rounds. The national team
won bronze in the last two Olympics.
Lithuanian basketball is back on top of the world, well, at least of Europe—after winning the European Championships for the first time since the then-dominant Lithuanians won in 1939 and 1937. The September, 2003 victory over favored Spain by a 93-84 margin prompted displays of euphoria in the streets of basketball-crazed Lithuania, which has long been to European basketball what Indiana is to the United States.
By making it to the finals, Lithuania automatically qualified for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, where they will be favorites for a medal. They had only one NBA player at the European Championships in Sweden, but could have three in Athens—should twin towers Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who plays for Cleveland, and Robertas Javtokas, who plays for San Antonio, be fully fit to play by then.
One ESPN analyst waxed poetically about what he described how Lithuanians are “loaded with sharp-shooters who need just a little bit of daylight to knock down a 3-pointer” and “who rarely make mistakes.” And Lithuanian fans, he went on, “are the rowdiest fans in the world. They blow ear-piercing whistles that sound like a massive swarm of killer bees from the jump ball to the final buzzer—but only when the opponents are on offense.”
Since independence, Lithuania has won three Olympic bronze medals. During Communist rule, Lithuanians made up the bulk of the gold-medal-winning Soviet teams, and they comprised the core of Soviet teams that won the European Championship eight straight times starting in 1957. Many considered Lithuania a chief pioneer of European basketball before the war—at a time when few countries on the continent paid the sport much heed.
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