The History of Sports


The 20th century saw a diffusion of sports across geography and social groups. African Americans, Aboriginal people of Australia, and “Cape Coloureds” in South Africa gained access to sports. Meanwhile, women gained the right to compete in traditionally masculine sports. As the Industrial Revolution continued, sports became more gender-neutral. Today, athletes from all walks of life compete in sports, from tennis to basketball. Despite its origins, however, its modern focus is largely quantitative.

The word sports conjures up images of intense physical activity. Players move their bodies through the environment, expend calories, and become physically exhausted. They also improve the body part they are using for the activity. While these activities may seem casual or insignificant on the surface, they require a high level of physical exertion. This is because athletes use different parts of their bodies to play different games. Thus, a sport can be defined as any activity that requires a high level of physical fitness.

Ancient peoples such as the Chinese and the Aztecs enjoyed ball games, although these were not contests. Their performance was more of a ritual than a competitive event. Nevertheless, archery matches were popular in ancient Greece, where the bourgeoisie participated. In addition to archery, other sports were also popular among the lower classes. Despite the religious nature of ancient Greek sports, there was still evidence that the sport was a recreational activity. In fact, the Greek physician Galen recommended sports as good for your health in the 2nd century ce.