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Encyclopedia > Sports

A sport consists of a physical activity or skill carried out with a recreational purpose: for competition, for self-enjoyment, to attain excellence, for the development of a skill, or some combination of these. A sport has physical activity, side by side competition, and a scoring system. The difference of purpose is what characterises sport, combined with the notion of individual (or team) skill or prowess. Antonym of psychical. ... Skill is human (usually learned) ability to perform actions. ...


Definition of "Sport"

1. A sport is a game or activity that includes these five criteria integral to the play:

1. Easily understandable scoring system.
2. Side by side competition,taking turns is allowed in some forms of sports.
3. Consumption of energy.
4. Key activity, not a survival skill or form of transportation.
5. Physical Contact between two human bodies. An exception is made for netted sports such as tennis and volleyball.

2. Sport is a major area of human interest and activity. A large part of our leisure and media coverage is given over to it. A pragmatic approach to defining "sport" is to look at the common usage of the term.

A sport can be operationally defined as a physical activity characteristically involving :

  • The recreational exercise of a useful physical skill for a purpose other than its practical application in daily life, e.g.competition or pleasure.
  • Conforming to a set of standardised rules for the activity while aiming to attain excellence.

The excellence referred to above may be measured against previous benchmarks, time measurements, performance of the other team or participants, world records, etc.

Examples of skills which have become sports:

  • Gladiators in Rome fought and killed for the delectation of the audience, rather than to protect the Empire:
  • Yachting is the travel across water for enjoyment or competition rather than e.g. for transport or commerce:
  • Running is done on a course for a fixed length of time or distance, rather than simply to catch a bus.

Sports involve competitions and use such physical capabilities as strength, stamina, speed, balance, and dexterity.

The line between sports, games, exercise and play is certainly not clear; games are often redefined as sports when they involve particularly skilled participants, which gives them appeal to non-participants. This is especially true in the modern age, which gives much weight to the spectator aspect of sports. Similarly, play is usually understood as less purposeful activity, but can become more like a game or sport as it conforms more to external rules or patterns of behaviour. Exercise is action to develop skill or ability, and may be a forerunner of both sport and games. Blaufränkisch is a variety of wine grape that is used to produce dry, red wines which are typically low in tannin and may exhibit a pronounced spicy character. ... The word exercise can mean the following: A setting in action or practicing. ... A play (noun) is a common literary form, usually consisting chiefly of dialog between characters, and usually intended for performance rather than reading. ...

History of sport

Main article: History of sport The history of sport can teach us a great deal about social changes and about the nature of sport itself. ...

The development of sport throughout history can teach us a great deal about social changes, and about the nature of sport itself.

There are many modern discoveries in France, Africa and Australia of cave art (see e.g. Lascaux) from prehistory which provide evidence of ritual ceremonial behaviour. Some of these sources date from over 30,000 years ago, as established by carbon dating. Although there is scant direct evidence of sport from these sources, it is reasonable to extrapolate that there was some activity at these times resembling sport. The French Republic or France (French: République française or France) is a country whose metropolitan territory is located in western Europe, and which is further made up of a collection of overseas islands and territories located in other continents. ... Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is the sixth-largest country in the world, the only country to occupy an entire continent, and the largest in the region of Australasia/Oceania. ... Cave, or rock, paintings are paintings painted on cave or rock walls and ceilings, usually dating to pre_historic times. ... This article is about the caves. ...

There are artifacts and structures which suggest that Chinese people engaged in activities which meet our definition of sport as early as 4000 BC. Gymnastics appears to have been a popular sport in China's past. Monuments to the Pharaohs indicate that a range of sports were well developed and regulated several thousands of years ago, including swimming and fishing. Other sports included javelin throwing, high jump and wrestling. Ancient Persian sports such as the traditional Iranian martial art of Zurkhaneh had a close connection to the warfare skills. Among other sports which originate in Persia are Polo and jousting. The Great Wall of China, stretching over 6,700 km, was erected beginning in the 3rd century BC to guard the north from raids by men on horses. ... (5th millennium BC – 4th millennium BC – 3rd millennium BC - other millennia) Events City of Ur in Mesopotamia (40th century BC). ... Persia or Persian most often refer to: Persia The Persians, an ethnic group, also called Tajiks Persian language Persian (Pokémon) See also Iranian, Iranian peoples, Iranian languages and Aryan. ... Iran (Persian: ایران) is a Middle Eastern country located in southwestern Asia. ... Iran (Persian: ایران) is a Middle Eastern country located in southwestern Asia. ... This article is about the sport. ... Jousting scene, by Jörg Breu the Elder (1510s, pen and black ink over black chalk) Jousting is a competition between two knights on horse-back, wherein each knight tries to knock the other off his mount. ...

A wide range of sports were already established at the time of the Ancient Greece. Wrestling, running, boxing, javelin, discus throwing, and chariot racing were prevalent. This suggests that the military culture of Greece was an influence on the development of its sports and vice versa. The Olympic Games were held every four years in Ancient Greece, at a small village in Pelopponisos called Olympia. For months before the Olympic Games, runners relay the Olympic Flame from Olympia to the opening ceremony. ... Olympia is an ancient city in Greece, in antiquity site of the Olympic Games. ...

Sport has been increasingly organised and regulated from the time of the Ancient Olympics up to the present century. Activities necessary for food and survival became regulated activities done for pleasure or competition on an increasing scale, e.g. hunting, fishing, horticulture. The Industrial Revolution and mass production brought increased leisure which allowed increases in spectator sports, less elitism in sports, and greater accessibility. These trends continued with the advent of mass media and global communication. Professionalism became prevalent, further adding to the increase in sport's popularity. Not only has professionalism helped increase the popularity of sports, but additionally the need to have fun and take a break from a hectic workday or to relieve unwanted stress, as with any profession.

A classification of sports

Main article: List of sports The following is a list of sports, divided by category. ...

One system for classifying sports is as follows, based more on the sport's aim than on the actual mechanics. The examples given are intended to be illustrative, rather than comprehensive


Man Running - Edward Muybridge Horse Running - Edward Muybridge Running is by definition the fastest means for an animal to move on foot. ... Swimming is the method by which humans (or other animals) move themselves through water. ... Cycling is a recreation, a sport, and a means of transport across land. ... The GB coxless pair of Toby Garbett & Rick Dunn at Henley Royal Regatta 2004. ... Canoeing is the recreational or sporting activity of paddling a canoe or kayak. ... Auto racing (also known as automobile racing or autosport) is a sport involving racing automobiles. ... Wooden sailing boat Sailing is motion across a body of water in a sailing ship, or smaller boat, powered by wind. ... Power boating describes activities performed in a motorized boat. ... Equestrianism relates to the riding of horses. ... Photo finish of a greyhound race in Tampa, Florida, USA on February 9, 1909 Greyhound racing is the sport of racing greyhounds. ... There are at least four main types of competitive pigeon sport: Pigeon racing Tumbling Mumbling Tippling Though not quite a sport, fancy breeds of pigeons are also bred to standards and judged in a competitive fashion. ...


Judo (Japanese: 柔道 Jūdō) is a martial art, a sport and a philosophy which originated in Japan. ... Karate or karate-do (空手道) is a budo art, a martial art introduced to the Japanese main islands from Okinawa in 1922. ... Boxer redirects here; for other meanings of boxer, see Boxer (disambiguation). ... Russian Ivan Tourchine and American Weston Kelsey fence in the second round of the Olympic Mens Individual Epee event at the Helliniko Fencing Hall on Aug. ... Taekwondo is the Korean national sport and martial art, and is also one of the worlds most commonly practiced sports. ... Tennis is a racquet sport played between either two players (singles) or two teams of two players (doubles). It is officially called lawn tennis to distinguish it from real tennis (also known as royal tennis or court tennis), an older form of the game that is played indoors on a... This article is about the racquet sport badminton. ... Volleyball is a popular sport where teams separated by a high net hit a ball back and forth between the teams. ... Squash racquet and ball Squash is an indoor racquet sport which was, until recently, called Squash Racquets, a reference to the squashable soft ball used in the game (compared with the harder ball used in its parent game Racquets-see below). ... Regional competition level table tennis, showing table, net, and player getting ready to return the ball with a winning backhand topspin stroke. ... A view of the playing field at Busch Stadium in Saint Louis, Missouri. ... Football is the name given to a number of different team sports. ... This article discusses the sport Rugby. For other uses see Rugby. ... Ice hockey, known simply as hockey in areas where it is more common than field hockey, is a team sport played on ice. ... A game of field hockey in progress Field Hockey is a popular sport for men and women in many countries around the world. ... Softball is a team sport for two teams in which the object is to score runs by advancing around a circuit of four bases, known as a diamond. It is a direct descendant of baseball, (sometimes referred to as hardball to differentiate the two) but differs from it in several... Basketball Basketball is a ball sport in which two teams of five players each try to score points by throwing a ball through a hoop. ... Curling is a precision sport similar to bowls or bocce, but played on ice with polished heavy stones rather than plastic balls. ...


Archers in Competition Archery is the practice of using a bow to shoot arrows. ... Shooting is the act of causing a gun to fire at a target. ... Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of sequences of movements requiring physical strength, flexibility, and kinaesthetic awareness. ... Bodybuilder Anders Graneheim (Sweden) Bodybuilding is the sport of developing muscle fibers through the combination of weight training, increased caloric intake, and rest. ... Equestrianism relates to the riding of horses. ... Diving has several meanings:- Plunging deliberately, often acrobatically, into water. ... Weightlifting is a sport where competitors attempt to lift heavy weights mounted on steel bars. ... The triple jump is an athletics (track and field) event, previously also known as hop, step and jump, whose various names describe the actions a competitor takes. ... Shot put The shot put is an athletics (track and field) event involving putting (throwing in a pushing motion) a heavy metal ball, also called the shot, as far as possible. ...

Sports Which Fall Into Multiple Categories

2 paintball players (full) Paintball, sometimes called the national survival game is a sport that is a high tech version of the kids game capture the flag. ... The name biathlon is used to describe any sporting event made up of two disciplines, but usually the winter sport which combines cross_country skiing and rifle shooting is meant. ...


It is interesting that the motivation for sport is often an elusive element. For example, beginners in sailing are often told that dinghy racing is a good means to sharpen the learner's sailing skills. However, it often emerges that skills are honed to increase racing performance and achievements in competition, rather than the converse. 'Sportsmanship' expresses an aspiration or ethos that the activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, but often the pressures of competition, individual achievement, or introduction of technology can seem to work against enjoyment by participants.

People responsible for leisure activities often seek recognition and respectability as sports by joining sports federations such as the IOC, or by forming their own regulatory body. In this way sports evolve from leisure activity to more formal sports: relatively recent newcomers are BMX cycling, snowboarding, wrestling, etc. Some of these activities have been popular but uncodified pursuits in various forms for different lengths of time. Indeed, the formal regulation of sport is a relatively modern and increasing development. Alternative meanings at IOC (disambiguation) The International Olympic Committee is an organization based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin in 1894 to reinstate the Ancient Olympic Games held in Greece, and organize this sports event every four years. ...

Sportsmanship, within any given game, is how each competitor acts before, during, and after the competition. Not only is it important to have good sportsmanship if one wins, but also if one loses. For example, in football it is considered sportsmanlike to kick the ball out of play to allow treatment for an injured player on the other side. Reciprocally, the other team is expected to return the ball from the throw-in. Football is the name given to a number of different team sports. ...

Compare Sportsmanship with Gamesmanship. Gamesmanship is the use of dubious (although not technically illegal) methods to win a game, often a sport, such as golf or football. ...

Violence in sports involves crossing the line between fair competition and intentional aggressive violence. Athletes, coaches, fans, and parents sometimes unleash violent behaviour on people or property, in misguided shows of loyalty, dominance, anger, or celebration. Violence in sports involves intentional aggressive violence. ...

Professionalism and the regulation of sport

The entertainment aspect of sport, together with the spread of mass media and increased leisure time, has led to professionalism in sport. This has resulted in some conflict, where the paycheck can be seen as more important than recreational aspects: or where the sport is changed simply to make it more profitable and popular therefore losing some of the traditions valued by some. Professional sports are sports in which the participants receive payment for playing, as opposed to amateur sports where they are not. ... A wage is the amount of money paid for some specified quantity of labour. ...

The successful execution of a sport requires the consensus agreement of the participants on a set of rules for fair competition. This has led to the control of each sport through a regulatory body to define what methods of competition are acceptable and what are considered cheating. In the context of government and public services regulation (as a process) is the control of something by rules, as opposed to its prohibition. ... Cheating can be to create an unfair advantage, usually in ones own interest, and often at the expense of others. ...

Sport and Politics

There have been many dilemmas for sports where a difficult political context is in place.

When apartheid was the official policy in South Africa, many sportspeople adopted the conscientious approach that they should not appear in competitive sports there. Some feel this was an effective contribution to the eventual demolition of the policy of apartheid, others feel that it may have prolonged and reinforced its worst effects. Apartheid ( International Phonetic Alphabet in English and in Afrikaans) is the policy and the system of laws implemented and enforced by White minority governments in South Africa from 1948 till 1990; and by extension any legally sanctioned system of racial segregation. ...

The 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin was an illustration, perhaps best recognised in retrospect, where an ideology was developing which used the event to strengthen its spread through propaganda. The Games of the XI Olympiad were held in 1936 in Germany. ... Drawing is one way of making an image: it is the process of making marks on a surface by applying pressure from or moving a tool on the surface. ...

In the history of Ireland, Gaelic sports were connected with cultural nationalism. Even until the mid 20th century a person could have been banned from playing Gaelic football, hurling, or other sports administered by the GAA if s/he played or supported soccer, or other games seen to be of British origin. The GAA continue to ban the playing of soccer and rugby at Gaelic venues under the controversial Rule 42, although Gaelic games are frequently played on soccer and rugby arenas, particularly outside of Ireland. Until recently, under Rule 21, the GAA also banned members of the British security forces and members of the RUC, now reconstituted as the PSNI, from playing Gaelic games, but the advent of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 led to the eventual removal of the ban. A true colour image of Ireland, captured by a NASA satellite on January 4, 2003. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the... Gaelic football is a competitive sport played mainly in Ireland. ... Hurling is a team sport of Celtic origin, played with sticks and a ball. ... GAA redirects here. ... The striker (wearing red jersey) has run past the defender (in white jersey) and is about to take a shot at the goal, while the goalkeeper positions himself to stop the ball. ... The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a country in western Europe, and member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the G8, the European Union, and NATO. Usually known simply as the United Kingdom, the UK, or (inaccurately) as Great Britain or Britain, the UK has four constituent... Rugby might refer to the sport called rugby: Rugby football Rugby league Rugby union Touch Rugby Tag Rugby Wheelchair Rugby Rugby is also the name of several places: Rugby, Warwickshire (England) within the Borough of Rugby Rugby, North Dakota Rugby, Tennessee Rugby, Brooklyn Rugby may also refer to: Rugby School... The acronym RUC may refer to any of the following: Rádio Universidade de Coimbra Rapid Update Cycle Recordings Under Construction Roskilde University (Roskilde Universitetscenter) Royal Ulster Constabulary Renmin Univisity of China,P.R.C This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share... The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is the police service that covers Northern Ireland. ... The Belfast Agreement (also known as the Good Friday Agreement and, more rarely, as the Stormont Agreement) was signed in Belfast on April 10, 1998 by the British and Irish Governments and endorsed by most Northern Ireland political parties. ...

Nationalism in general is often evident in the pursuit of sport, or in its reporting: people compete in national teams, or commentators and audiences can adopt a partisan view. These trends are seen by some as contrary to the fundamental ethos of sport being carried on for its own sake, for the enjoyment of its participants. Nationalism is an ideology that creates and sustains a nation as a concept of a common identity for groups of humans. ...

See also: List of countries by national sport This article or section should be merged with National sport A National Pastime is a sport or game that is consider to be a culturally intrinsic part of a country or nation. ...

Art and sport

Sport has many affinities with art. Ice skating and Tai chi for example are sports that come close to artistic spectacles in themselves: to watch these activities comes close to the experience of spectating at a ballet. Similarly, there are other activities that have elements of sport and art in their execution, such as performance art, artistic gymnastics, Bodybuilding, Parkour, Yoga, dressage,etc. Although today the word art usually refers to the visual arts, the concept of what art is has continuously changed over centuries. ... Tai Chi Chuan or Taijiquan (from Chinese 太极拳 Tàijíquán, literally supreme ultimate fist), commonly known as Tai Chi or Taiji, is a nei chia (internal) Chinese martial art which is known for the claims of health and longevity benefits made by its practitioners and in some recent... A performance of The Nutcracker ballet Ballet is the name given to a specific dance form and technique. ... Performance art is art where the actions of an individual or a group at a particular place and in a particular time, constitute the work. ... Artistic gymnastics is a discipline of gymnastics in which competitors perform short routines (ranging from approximately 10 to 90 seconds) on different apparatus (see lists below). ... Bodybuilder Anders Graneheim (Sweden) Bodybuilding is the sport of developing muscle fibers through the combination of weight training, increased caloric intake, and rest. ... A traceur does a precision jump Parkour (also called Le Parkour, PK, or free running) is an activity in which participants attempt to clear all obstacles in their path in the most fluid manner possible. ... Hatha Yoga posture Yôga, meaning union or yoking in Sanskrit, is the primary focus of Hinduisms diverse darshans or points of view. Yôga is a science of the body, the mind, the consciousness and the soul. ... Dressage is the training of horses in obedience and deportment. ...

The fact that art is so close to sport in some situations is probably related to the nature of sport. The definition of "sport" above put forward the idea of an activity pursued not just for the usual purposes, e.g. running not simply to get places, but running for its own sake, running as well as we can.

This is similar to a common view of aesthetic value, which is seen as something over and above the strictly functional value coming from an object's normal use. So an aesthetically pleasing car is one which doesn't just get from A to B, but which impresses us with its grace, poise and charisma. Aesthetics (or esthetics) (from the Greek word αισθητική meaning a perceiver or sensitive) is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty. ...

In the same way, a sporting performance such as jumping doesn't just impress us as being an effective way to avoid obstacles or to get across streams. It impresses us because of the ability, skill and style which is shown.

Art and sport were probably more clearly linked at the time of Ancient Greece, when gymnastics and callesthenics invoked admiration and aesthetic appreciation for the physical build, prowess and 'arete' displayed by participants. The modern term 'art' as skill, is related to this ancient Greek term 'arete'. The closeness of art and sport in these times was revealed by the nature of the Olympic Games which, as we have seen, were celebrations of both sporting and artistic achievements, poetry, sculpture and architecture. For months before the Olympic Games, runners relay the Olympic Flame from Olympia to the opening ceremony. ...

Recommended Reading

Related topics

The following entries go into further detail into issues important to sport:

The history of sport can teach us a great deal about social changes and about the nature of sport itself. ... Sportsmanship is, in a basic sense, conforming to the rules of sport. ... Professional sports are sports in which the participants receive payment for playing, as opposed to amateur sports where they are not. ... The aesthetic appeal of sport is an intrinsic part of its appeal for participation, and one of the qualities which draws spectators. ... Nationalism and sport are often intertwined, as sports provide a venue for symbolic competition between nations; sports competition often reflects national conflict, and in fact has often been a tool of diplomacy. ... The regulation of sport is usually done by a regulatory body for each sport, resulting in a core of relatively invariant, agreed rules. ... A list of professional sports leagues: Auto racing Champcars, formerly CART (Official Page) Formula One, Grand Prix racing (Official Site) IRL (Indy Racing League) (Official Page) NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) (Official Page) NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) (Official Page) Baseball Major League Baseball Minor League Baseball... North America Basketball American Basketball Association (2000-) Continental Basketball Association (1946- United States Basketball League (1985- National Basketball Development League National Alliance of Basketball Leagues Baseball minor league baseball American football NFL Europe(1991- Arena Football League AF2 National Indoor Football League Ice Hockey American Hockey League Canadian Hockey League... The following is a list of sports, divided by category. ... Multi-Sport Events Arctic Winter Games Asian Games Canada Games Commonwealth Games Francophone Games Gaelic Games Gay Games Goodwill Games Nordic Games Pan American Games Paralympic Games Special Olympic Games Summer Olympic Games Winter Olympic Games World Games World Wheelchair Games X Games American football Alamo Bowl Aztec Bowl Capital... There are a variety of articles listing people of a particular sport. ... A sport governing body comes in several forms. ... For months before the Olympic Games, runners relay the Olympic Flame from Olympia to the opening ceremony. ... Sponsorship can refer to several concepts: A sponsors support of an event, activity, person, or organization. ... In sports, a coach is an individual involved in the direction and instruction of the on-field operations of an athletic team or of individual athletes. ... Sports equipment includes any object used for sport or exercise. ... Sports injuries are injuries that are caused by participation in a sporting event. ... The term sports memorabilia usually refers to anything that can be directly connected to a sports event or personality. ... This page indexes the individual year in sports pages. ... A spectator sport is one that is characterized by the presence of spectators, or watchers, at its matches. ... A multi-sport event is a competition in which athletes compete in a number of different sports. ... Generally, disabled sports are sports played by individuals with physical or mental disabilities; the term often refers to sports which have been devised or modified specifically for this purpose. ... Female sport(s), or women´s sport(s) is a common term used to describe all-female sports and leagues other than composed by men. ... This is a list of sports history organizations Olympic Games -- International Society of Olympic Historians Baseball -- Society for American Baseball Research, http://www. ... A Fantasy sport is a game where fantasy owners build a team that competes against other fantasy owners based on the statistics generated by individual players or teams of a professional sport. ... Sport records are records in sport events. ... Extreme sports (now also known as action sports) is a general, somewhat hazily-defined term for a collection of newer sports involving adrenaline-inducing action. ... Violence in sports involves intentional aggressive violence. ... Violence has long been a controversial part of ice hockey and the National Hockey League. ... Sport plays a prominent role in British life and many Britons make a great emotional investment in their favourite spectator sports. ...

External links

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