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See also: "Outline of ancient Greece § Sport in ancient Greece

Depictions of ritual sporting events are seen in the "Minoan art of "Bronze Age "Crete, such as a "fresco dating to 1500 BCE of "gymnastics in the form of religious "bull-leaping and possibly "bullfighting. The origins of Greek sporting festivals may date to "funeral games of the "Mycenean period, between 1600 BCE and c. 1100 BCE.[17] In the "Iliad there are extensive descriptions of funeral games held in honour of deceased warriors, such as those held for "Patroclus by "Achilles. Engaging in sport is described as the occupation of the noble and wealthy, who have no need to do manual labour themselves. In the "Odyssey, king "Odysseus of "Ithaca proves his royal status to king "Alkinoös of the "Phaiakes by showing his proficiency in throwing the "javelin. It was predictably in "Greece that sports were first instituted formally, with the first "Olympic Games recorded in 776 BCE in "Olympia, where they were celebrated until 393 CE. The games were held every four years, or "Olympiad, which became a unit of time in historical chronologies. Initially a single sprinting event, the Olympics gradually expanded to include several "footraces, run in the nude or in armor, "boxing, "wrestling, "pankration, "chariot racing, "long jump, "javelin throw, and "discus throw. During the celebration of the games, an "Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their countries to the games in safety. The prizes for the victors were "wreaths of laurel leaves. Other important sporting events in ancient Greece were the "Isthmian games, the "Nemean Games, and the "Pythian Games. Together with the Olympics, these were the most prestigious games, and formed the "Panhellenic Games. Some games, e.g. the "Panathenaia of "Athens, included musical, reading and other non-athletic contests in addition to regular sports events. The "Heraean Games were the first recorded sporting competition for women, held in Olympia as early as the 6th century BCE.

Ancient sports elsewhere[edit]

Sports that are at least two and a half thousand years old include "hurling in "Ancient Ireland, "shinty in "Scotland, "harpastum (similar to "rugby) in "Rome, "cuju (similar to "association football) in "China, and "polo in Persia. The "Mesoamerican ballgame originated over three thousand years ago. The Mayan ballgame of Pitz is believed to be the first ball sport, as it was first played around 2500 BCE.There are artifacts and structures that suggest that the "Chinese engaged in sporting activities as early as 2000 BCE.[18] Gymnastics appears to have been a popular sport in China's ancient past. Ancient Persian sports such as the traditional "Iranian martial art of "Zourkhaneh. Among other sports that originated in "Persia are "polo and "jousting. A polished bone implement found at "Eva in "Tennessee, United States and dated to around 5000 BCE has been construed as a possible sporting device used in a "ring and pin" game.[8]

Middle Ages[edit]

Jousting at the "Maryland Renaissance Festival.

For at least one hundred years, entire villages have competed with each other in rough, and sometimes violent, ballgames in England ("Shrovetide football) and Ireland ("caid). In contrast, the game of "calcio Fiorentino, in "Florence, Italy, was originally reserved forth combat sports such as "fencing and "jousting being popular. "Horse racing, in particular, was a favourite of the upper class in "Great Britain, with "Queen Anne founding the "Ascot Racecourse.

Development of modern sports[edit]

A young cricketer by "W.G. Grace, 1891

Some historians – most notably "Bernard Lewis – claim that "team sports as we know them today are primarily an invention of "Western culture. British Prime Minister "John Major was more explicit in 1995:

We invented the majority of the world's great sports.... 19th century Britain was the cradle of a leisure revolution every bit as significant as the agricultural and industrial revolutions we launched in the century before.[19]

The traditional teams sports are seen as springing primarily from Britain, and subsequently exported across the vast "British Empire. This can be seen as either discounting some of the ancient games of cooperation from Asia (e.g. polo, numerous "martial arts forms, and various, now assimilated "football varieties) and even from the Americas (e.g. "lacrosse), or as the suggestion that while these sports did exist modern team sports did not directly derive from them. "European colonialism certainly helped spread particular games around the world, especially "cricket (not related to "baseball), football of various sorts, "bowling in a number of forms, "cue sports (like "snooker, "carom billiards and "pool), hockey and its derivatives, "equestrian (originally of Middle Eastern origin), and "tennis (and related games deriving from "jeu de paume), and many "winter sports. The originally Europe-dominated modern "Olympic Games generally also ensured standardization in particularly European, especially British, directions when rules for similar games around the world were merged.[20] Regardless of game origins, the "Industrial Revolution and "mass production brought increased leisure which allowed more time to engage in playing or observing (and gambling upon) "spectator sports, as well as less elitism in and greater accessibility of sports of many kinds. With the advent of "mass media and global communication, "professionalism became prevalent in sports, and this furthered sports popularity in general. With the increasing values placed on those who won also came the increased desire to cheat. Some of the most common ways of cheating today involve the use of performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids. The use of these drugs has always been frowned on but in recent history there have also been agencies set up to monitor professional athletes and ensure fair play in the sport.


Sport in the United Kingdom § History, and "Sport in England
"The Ashes urn, competed for between Australia and England in cricket

Writing about cricket in particular, John Leech (2005a) has explained the role of "Puritan power, the "English Civil War, and "the Restoration of the monarchy in "England. The "Long Parliament in 1642 "banned theatres, which had met with Puritan disapproval. Although similar action would be taken against certain sports, it is not clear if cricket was in any way prohibited, except that players must not break the Sabbath". In 1660, "the Restoration of the monarchy in England was immediately followed by the reopening of the theatres and so any sanctions that had been imposed by the Puritans on cricket would also have been lifted."[21] He goes on to make the key point that political, social and economic conditions in the aftermath of the Restoration encouraged excessive gambling, so much so that a Gambling Act was deemed necessary in 1664. It is certain that cricket, horse racing and boxing (i.e., prizefighting) were financed by gambling interests. Leech explains that it was the habit of cricket patrons, all of whom were gamblers, to form strong teams through the 18th century to represent their interests. He defines a strong team as one representative of more than one parish and he is certain that such teams were first assembled in or immediately after 1660. Prior to the English Civil War and the Commonwealth, all available evidence concludes that cricket had evolved to the level of "village cricket only where teams that are strictly representative of individual parishes compete. The "strong teams" of the post-Restoration mark the evolution of cricket (and, indeed of professional team sport, for cricket is the oldest professional team sport) from the parish standard to the county standard. This was the point of origin for major, or "first-class, cricket. The year 1660 also marks the origin of professional team sport.

A number of the "public schools such as "Winchester and "Eton, "introduced variants of football and other sports for their pupils. These were described at the time as "innocent and lawful", certainly in comparison with the rougher rural games. With urbanization in the 19th century, the rural games moved to the new urban centres and came under the influence of the middle and upper classes. The rules and regulations devised at English institutions began to be applied to the wider game, with governing bodies in England being set up for a number of sports by the end of the 19th century. The rising influence of the upper class also produced an emphasis on the amateur, and the spirit of ""fair play". The industrial revolution also brought with it increasing mobility, and created the opportunity for universities in Britain and elsewhere to compete with one another. This sparked increasing attempts to unify and reconcile various games in England, leading to the establishment of the Football Association in London, the first official governing body in football.

For sports to become professionalized, coaching had to come first. It gradually professionalized in the Victorian era and the role was well established by 1914. In the First World War, military units sought out the coaches to supervise physical conditioning and develop morale-building teams.[22]

The British Empire and post-colonial sports[edit]

The influence of British sports and their codified rules began to spread across the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly "association football. A number of major teams elsewhere in the world still show these British origins in their names, such as "AC Milan in Italy, "Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense in Brazil, and "Athletic Bilbao in Spain. "Cricket became popular in several of the nations of the then British Empire, such as Australia, South Africa, India and Pakistan, and remain popular in and beyond today's "Commonwealth of Nations. The revival of the "Olympic Games by Baron "Pierre de Coubertin was also heavily influenced by the amateur ethos of the English public schools.[23] The British played a major role in defining amateurism, professionalism, the tournament system and the concept of fair play.[24] Some sports developed in England, spread to other countries and then lost its popularity in England while remaining actively played in other countries, a notable example being "bandy which remains popular in "Finland, "Kazakhstan, Norway, Russia, and Sweden.[25]

Baseball (closely related to English "rounders and French "la soule, and less clearly connected to cricket) became established in the urban "Northeastern United States, with the first rules being codified in the 1840s, while American football was very popular in the "south-east, with baseball spreading to the south, and American football spreading to the north after the Civil War. In the 1870s the game split between the professionals and amateurs; the professional game rapidly gained dominance, and marked a shift in the focus from the player to the club. The rise of baseball also helped squeeze out other sports such as cricket, which had been popular in Philadelphia prior to the rise of baseball.

American football (and "gridiron football more generally) also has its origins in the English variants of the game, with the first set of intercollegiate football rules based directly on the rules of the Football Association in London. However, Harvard chose to play a game based on the rules of "Rugby football. "Walter Camp would then heavily modify this variant in the 1880s, with the modifications also heavily influencing the rules of "Canadian football.

American footballers tackling

World-wide, the British influence certainly includes many different football codes, lawn bowls, lawn tennis and other sports. The major impetus for this was the patenting of the world's first lawnmower in 1830. This allowed for the preparation of modern ovals, playing fields, pitches, grass courts, etc.[26]

The 21st century has seen a move towards adventure sports as a form of individual "escapism, transcending the routines of life. Examples include "white water rafting, "paragliding, "canyoning, "base jumping and more genteelly, "orienteering.

Women's sport history[edit]

UCSD Women's football Players fighting over ball

Women's competition in sports has been frowned upon by many societies in the past. The English public-school background of organised sport in the 19th and early 20th century led to a paternalism that tended to discourage women's involvement in sports, with, for example, no women officially competing in the 1896 Olympic Games. The 20th century saw major advances in the participation of women in sports, although women's participation as fans, administrators, officials, coaches, journalists, and athletes remains in general less than men's. The increase in girls’ and women’s’ participation in sport has been partly influenced by the "women's rights and "feminist movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, respectively. In the United States, female students’ participation in sports was significantly boosted by the "Title IX Act in 1972, which forbade gender discrimination in all aspects of any educational environment that uses federal financial aid,[27] leading to increased funding [28] and support to develop female athletes.

Pressure from sports funding bodies has also improved gender equality in sports. For example, the "Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the "Leander Rowing Club in England had both been male-only establishments since their founding in 1787 and 1818, respectively, but both opened their doors to female members at the end of the 20th century at least partially due to the requirements of the "United Kingdom Lottery Sports Fund.

The 21st century has seen women’s participation in sport at its all-time highest. At the "2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, women competed in 27 sports over 137 events, compared to 28 men’s sports in 175 events.[29] Several national "women's professional sports leagues have been founded and are in competition, and women’s international sporting events such as the "FIFA Women's World Cup, "Women's Rugby World Cup, and "Women's Hockey World Cup continue to grow.

Stadium through the ages[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Capelo, Holly (July 2010). "Symbols from the Sky: Heavenly messages from the depths of prehistory may be encoded on the walls of caves throughout Europe.". "Seed Magazine. Retrieved January 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= ("help)
  2. ^ Gary Barber (1 February 2007). Getting Started in Track and Field Athletics: Advice & Ideas for Children, Parents, and Teachers. "Trafford Publishing. pp. 25–. "ISBN "978-1-4120-6557-3. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  3. ^ Hartsell, Jeff., Wrestling 'in our blood,' says Bulldogs' Luvsandorj, 17 March 2011
  4. ^ Győző Vörös (2007). Egyptian Temple Architecture: 100 Years of Hungarian Excavations in Egypt, 1907-2007. "American Univ in Cairo Press. pp. 39–. "ISBN "978-963-662-084-4. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Robert Crego (2003). Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th Centuries. "Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 34–. "ISBN "978-0-313-31610-4. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Egypt Thomb. Lessing Photo. 02-15-2011.
  7. ^ Harriet Crawford (16 September 2004). Sumer and the Sumerians. Cambridge University Press. pp. 247–. "ISBN "978-0-521-53338-6. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c Kendall Blanchard (1995). The Anthropology of Sport: An Introduction. "ABC-CLIO. pp. 99–. "ISBN "978-0-89789-330-5. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "Time Inc (15 August 1938). LIFE. Time Inc. pp. 59–. "ISSN 0024-3019. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  10. ^ Faraj Baṣmahʹjī (1975). Treasures of the Iraq Museum. Al-Jumhuriya Press. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  11. ^ David Gilman Romano (1993). Athletics and Mathematics in Archaic Corinth: The Origins of the Greek Stadion. American Philosophical Society. pp. 10–. "ISBN "978-0-87169-206-1. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Nigel B. Crowther (2007). Sport in Ancient Times. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 15–. "ISBN "978-0-275-98739-8. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Terry Hellekson (19 November 2005). Fish Flies: The Encyclopedia Of The Fly Tier's Art. Gibbs Smith. pp. 2–. "ISBN "978-1-58685-692-2. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  14. ^ W. J. Hamblin (12 April 2006). Warfare in Ancient Near East. Taylor & Francis. pp. 433–. "ISBN "978-0-415-25588-2. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  15. ^ William J. Baker (1 July 1988). Sports in the Western World. University of Illinois Press. pp. 8–. "ISBN "978-0-252-06042-7. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  16. ^ Michael Rice (7 November 2001). Who's Who in Ancient Egypt. Psychology Press. pp. 98–. "ISBN "978-0-415-15449-9. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  17. ^ Wendy J. Raschke (15 June 1988). Archaeology Of The Olympics: The Olympics & Other Festivals In Antiquity. Univ of Wisconsin Press. pp. 22–. "ISBN "978-0-299-11334-6. Retrieved 12 August 2012. 
  18. ^ "Sports History in China". 
  19. ^ Garry Whannel (2005). Media Sport Stars: Masculinities and Moralities. Routledge. p. 72. 
  20. ^ "Britain's Living Legacy to the Games: Sports". The New York Times. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  21. ^ Leach (2005a) is a heavily annotated chronology of cricket 1300-1730 and the source for numerous entries here.["clarification needed]
  22. ^ Dave Day, Professionals, Amateurs and Performance: Sports Coaching in England, 1789–1914 (2012)
  23. ^ Harold Perkin, "Teaching the nations how to play: sport and society in the British empire and Commonwealth." The International Journal of the History of Sport 6.2 (1989): 145-155.
  24. ^ Sigmund Loland, "Fair play in sports contests-a moral norm system." Sportwissenschaft 21.2 (1991): 146-162.
  25. ^ "Svenska Bandyförbundet, bandyhistoria 1875–1919". Iof1.idrottonline.se. 1 February 2013. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  26. ^ Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National Ockham's Razor, first broadcast 6 June 2010.
  27. ^ Britt, M. & Timmerman, M. 'Title IX and Higher Education: The Implications for the 21st Century' in "Franklin Business and Law Journal", Vol. 2014, No. 1. (March, 2014), pp. 83-86.
  28. ^ Reinbrecht, E. 'Northwestern University and Title IX: One Step Forward for Football Players, Two Steps Back for Female Student Athletes' in "University of Toledo Law Review", Vol. 47, No. 1. (September, 2015), pp. 243-277.
  29. ^ Pfister, G. 'Outsiders: Muslim Women and Olympic Games - Barriers and Opportunities' in "The International Journal of the History of Sport", Vol. 27, Nos. 16-18. (November–December, 2010), pp. 2925-2957.

Further reading[edit]


External links[edit]

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