Bobsleigh or bobsled is a team winter sport that involves making timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sleigh. International bobsleigh competitions are governed by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, also known as FIBT from the French Federation Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing. National competitions are often governed by bodies such as the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation and Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton. The first bobsleds were built in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in the late 19th century by wealthy tourists from V ...
Boxing is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing protective gloves, throw punches at each other for a predetermined amount of time in a boxing ring. Amateur boxing is both an Olympic and Commonwealth Games sport and is a standard fixture in most international games - it also has its own World Championships. Boxing is overseen by a referee over a series of one- to three-minute intervals called rounds. A winner can be resolved before the completion of the rounds when a referee deems an opponent incapable of continuing, disqualification of an opponent, or resignation of an oppone ...
Freestyle wrestling is a style of amateur wrestling that is practiced throughout the world. Along with Greco-Roman, it is one of the two styles of wrestling contested in the Olympic games. American high school and college wrestling is conducted under different rules and is termed scholastic and collegiate wrestling. Freestyle wrestling, like collegiate wrestling, has its greatest origins in catch-as-catch-can wrestling. In both styles the ultimate goal is to throw and pin the opponent to the mat, which results in an immediate win. Unlike Greco-Roman, freestyle and collegiate wrestling allo ...
Greco-Roman, Graeco-Roman or classic wrestling is a style of wrestling that is practiced worldwide. It was contested at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and has been included in every edition of the summer Olympics held since 1904. This style of wrestling forbids holds below the waist; this is the major difference from freestyle wrestling, the other form of wrestling at the Olympics. This restriction results in an emphasis on throws because a wrestler cannot use trips to take an opponent to the ground, or avoid throws by hooking or grabbing the opponents leg. According to United Worl ...
Golf is a club-and-ball sport in which players use various clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course in as few strokes as possible. Golf, unlike most ball games, cannot and does not utilize a standardized playing area, and coping with the varied terrains encountered on different courses is a key part of the game. The game at the usual level is played on a course with an arranged progression of 18 holes, though recreational courses can be smaller, often having nine holes. Each hole on the course must contain a tee box to start from, and a putting green containing the actual hole ...
Equestrianism, more often known as horse riding or horseback riding, includes the disciplines of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses. This broad description includes the use of horses for practical working purposes, transportation, recreational activities, artistic or cultural exercises, and competitive sport.
Speed skating is a competitive form of ice skating in which the competitors race each other in travelling a certain distance on skates. Types of speed skating are long track speed skating, short track speed skating, and marathon speed skating. In the Olympic Games, long-track speed skating is usually referred to as just "speed skating", while short-track speed skating is known as "short track". The ISU, the governing body of both ice sports, refers to long track as "speed skating" and short track as "short track skating". An international federation was founded in 1892, the first for any w ...
Judo is generally categorized as a modern martial art, which has since evolved into a combat and Olympic sport. The sport was created in 1882 by Jigoro Kano as a physical, mental, and moral pedagogy in Japan. Judos most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the objective is to either throw or take down an opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue an opponent with a pin, or force an opponent to submit with a joint lock or a choke. Strikes and thrusts by hands and feet as well as weapons defences are a part of judo, but only in pre-arranged forms and are not allowe ...
Alpine skiing, or downhill skiing, is the pastime of sliding down snow-covered slopes on skis with fixed-heel bindings, unlike other types of skiing, which use skis with free-heel bindings. Whether for recreation for sport, it is typically practised at ski resorts, which provide such services as ski lifts, artificial snow making, snow grooming, restaurants, and ski patrol. "Off-piste" skiers - those skiing outside ski area boundaries - may employ snowmobiles, helicopters or snowcats to deliver them to the top of a slope. Back-country skiers may use specialized equipment with a free-heel mo ...
Gymnastics is a sport that includes exercises requiring balance, strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, and endurance. The movements involved in gymnastics contribute to the development of the arms, legs, shoulders, back, chest, and abdominal muscle groups. Alertness, precision, daring, self-confidence, and self-discipline are mental traits that can also be developed through gymnastics. Gymnastics evolved from exercises used by the ancient Greeks that included skills for mounting and dismounting a horse and from circus performance skills. The most common form of competitive gymnasti ...
Handball is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each pass a ball using their hands with the aim of throwing it into the goal of the other team. A standard match consists of two periods of 30 minutes, and the team that scores more goals wins. Modern handball is played on a court of 40 by 20 metres 131 by 66 ft, with a goal in the middle of each end. The goals are surrounded by a 6-meter 20 ft zone where only the defending goalkeeper is allowed; goals must be scored by throwing the ball from outside the zone or while "diving" into it. The sport is usually played indoors, but out ...
Water polo is a competitive team sport played in water between two teams. The game consists of four quarters in which the two teams attempt to score goals by throwing the ball into the opposing teams goal. The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins the match. Each team is made up of six field players and one goalkeeper. Excluding the goalkeeper, players participate in both offensive and defensive roles. Water polo is typically played in an all-deep pool so that players cannot touch the bottom. A game of water polo mainly consists of the players swimming to move about the pool ...
The sport of sailing involves a variety of competitive sailing formats that are sanctioned through various sailing federations and yacht clubs. Racing disciplines include matches within a fleet of sailing craft, between a pair thereof or among teams. Additionally, there are specialized competitions that include setting speed records. Racing formats include both closed courses and point-to-point contests; they may be in sheltered waters, coast-wise or on the open ocean. Most competitions are held within defined classes or ratings that either entail one type of sailing craft to ensure a cont ...
The sport of cross-country skiing encompasses a variety of formats for cross-country skiing races over courses of varying lengths according to rules sanctioned by the International Ski Federation and by various national organizations, such as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and Cross Country Ski Canada. International competitions include the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, the FIS Cross-Country World Cup, and at the Winter Olympic Games. Such races occur over homologated, groomed courses designed to support classic and freestyle events, where the skiers may employ skate skiing. ...
Freestyle skiing is a skiing discipline comprising aerials, moguls, cross, half-pipe, slopestyle and big air as part of the Winter Olympics. It can consist of a skier performing aerial flips and spins, and can include skiers sliding rails and boxes on their skis. It is also commonly referred to as freeskiing, jibbing, as well as many other names around the world.
Figure skating is a sport in which individuals, duos, or groups perform on figure skates on ice. It was the first winter sport to be included in the Olympic Games, when it was contested at the 1908 Olympics in London. The four Olympic disciplines are mens singles, ladies singles, pair skating, and ice dance. Non-Olympic disciplines include synchronized skating, Theater on Ice, and four skating. From intermediate through senior-level competition, skaters generally perform two programs, which may include spins, jumps, moves in the field, lifts, throw jumps, death spirals, and other elements ...
Fencing is a group of three related combat sports. The three disciplines in modern fencing are the foil, the epee, and the sabre ; winning points are made through the weapons contact with an opponent. A fourth discipline, singlestick, appeared in the 1904 Olympics but was dropped after that, and is not a part of modern fencing. Fencing was one of the first sports to be played in the Olympics. Based on the traditional skills of swordsmanship, the modern sport arose at the end of the 19th century, with the Italian school having modified the historical European martial art of classical fencin ...
A triathlon is a multisport race with three continuous and sequential endurance races. The word is of Greek origin, from τρεῖς or treis and ἆθλος or athlos. While variations of the sport exist, the most common form includes swimming, cycling, and running over various distances. Triathletes compete for fastest overall course completion, including timed transitions between the three races. A transition area is set up where the athletes change gear for different segments of the race. This is where the switches from swimming to cycling and cycling to running occur. These areas are used to stor ...
Tennis is a racket sport that can be played individually against a single opponent or between two teams of two players each. Each player uses a tennis racket that is strung with cord to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over or around a net and into the opponents court. The object of the game is to maneuver the ball in such a way that the opponent is not able to play a valid return. The player who is unable to return the ball will not gain a point, while the opposite player will. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society and at all ages. The sport can be ...
Archery is the art, sport, practice, or skill of using a bow to shoot arrows. The word comes from the Latin arcus. Historically, archery has been used for hunting and combat. In modern times, it is mainly a competitive sport and recreational activity. A person who participates in archery is typically called an archer or a bowman, and a person who is fond of or an expert at archery is sometimes called a toxophilite.
Diving is the sport of jumping or falling into water from a platform or springboard, usually while performing acrobatics. Diving is an internationally recognized sport that is part of the Olympic Games. In addition, unstructured and non-competitive diving is a recreational pastime. Competitors possess many of the same characteristics as gymnasts and dancers, including strength, flexibility, kinaesthetic judgment and air awareness. Some professional divers were originally gymnasts or dancers as both the sports have similar characteristics to diving. Dmitri Sautin holds the record for most O ...
Sled dog racing is a winter dog sport most popular in the Arctic regions of the United States, Canada, Russia, Greenland and some European countries. It involves the timed competition of teams of sled dogs that pull a sled with the dog driver or musher standing on the runners. The team completing the marked course in the least time is judged the winner. A sled dog race was a demonstration sport at the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York and again at the Olympics in Oslo, and once more in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, but it did not gain official event status. Sled dogs ...
Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objective of the offensive team is to hit the ball into the field of play, allowing its players to run the bases, having them advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners advance around the bases. A run is ...
The Southeast Asian Games, also known as the SEA Games, is a biennial multi-sport event involving participants from the current 11 countries of Southeast Asia. The games is under regulation of the Southeast Asian Games Federation with supervision by the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Council of Asia.
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of 11 players. It is played by approximately 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the worlds most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal. Football is played in accordance with a set of rules known as the Laws of the Game. The ball is 68–70 cm 27–28 in circumference and known as ...
The Commonwealth Games is an international multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930, and has taken place every four years since then. The Commonwealth Games were known as the British Empire Games from 1930 to 1950, the British Empire and Commonwealth Games from 1954 to 1966, and British Commonwealth Games from 1970 to 1974. Athletes with a disability are also included as full members of their national teams, making the Commonwealth Games as the first fully inclusive international multi-sport event. It is also the worlds first m ...
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball in diameter) through the defenders hoop in diameter mounted 10 feet high to a backboard at each end of the court) while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one ...
The 1930 British Empire Games were the first of what later became known as the Commonwealth Games, and were held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada from 16–23 August 1930. The games were organized by Hamilton Spectator sportswriter Bobby Robinson after he attended the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam as manager of the Canadian track and field team and was inspired to create a similar event for the British Empire. After campaigning for the idea among contacts he met at the Olympics, he was asked to organise the first British Empire Games in Hamilton. The events included athletics, boxing, lawn b ...
The Central American and Caribbean Games are a multi-sport regional championship event, held quadrennial, typically in the middle year between Summer Olympics. The Games are for countries in Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the South American Caribbean countries of Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela. The Games are overseen by the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organization CACSO the organization also goes by the acronym "ODECABE", from its full Spanish name: O rganizacion De portiva C entro a mericana y del Cari be. They are designed to provide a step between sub-C ...
The biathlon is a winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. It is treated as a race where the contestant with the shortest total time wins. Depending on the competition, missed shots result in extra distance or time being added to the contestants total.
The Goodwill Games was an international sports competition created by Ted Turner in reaction to the political troubles surrounding the Olympic Games of the 1980s. In 1979, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan caused the United States and other Western countries to boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, an act reciprocated when the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Like the Olympics, the Goodwill Games were held every four years with the exception of the final Games, and had a summer and winter component. The Summer Goodwill ...
The Indian Ocean Island Games is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from Indian Ocean island nations. The Games was created by the International Olympic Committee in 1977 and currently gather the island nations and territories of Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte, Reunion and the Maldives. The number of athletes who participate has increased over the years, it went from 1000 athletes in 1979 to over 1500 participants in 2003 and 2007 and over 2000 participants in 2019.
Jumping stilts, bounce stilts or spring stilts are special stilts that allow the user to run, jump and perform various acrobatics. Spring stilts using fiberglass leaf springs were patented in the United States in 2004 under the trademark "PowerSkip", marketed for recreational and extreme sports use. Spring stilts are often mostly made of aluminium. Using these stilts is also called "bocking" or "powerbocking", a corrupted version of the name of the stilts inventor, Alexander Bock.
The modern Olympic Games or Olympics are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the worlds foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are held every four years, with the Summer and Winter Games alternating by occurring every four years but two years apart. Their creation was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games Ancient Greek: Ὀλυμπιακοί Ἀγῶνες, which were held in Olympia, ...
Sport includes all forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organised participation, at least in part aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators. Hundreds of sports exist, from those between single contestants, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals. In certain sports such as racing, many contestants may compete, simultaneously or consecutively, with one winner; in others, the contest is between two sides, each attempting to exceed the other. Some sports allow a "tie" or "draw", in which there is no single winner; others provide tie-breaking methods to ensure one winner and one loser. A number of contests may be arranged in a tournament producing a champion. Many sports leagues make an annual champion by arranging games in a regular sports season, followed in some cases by playoffs.
Sport is generally recognised as system of activities which are based in physical athleticism or physical dexterity, with the largest major competitions such as the Olympic Games admitting only sports meeting this definition, and other organisations such as the Council of Europe using definitions precluding activities without a physical element from classification as sports. However, a number of competitive, but non-physical, activities claim recognition as mind sports. The International Olympic Committee through ARISF recognises both chess and bridge as bona fide sports, and SportAccord, the international sports federation association, recognises five non-physical sports: bridge, chess, draughts checkers, Go and xiangqi, and limits the number of mind games which can be admitted as sports.
Sport is usually governed by a set of rules or customs, which serve to ensure fair competition, and allow consistent adjudication of the winner. Winning can be determined by physical events such as scoring goals or crossing a line first. It can also be determined by judges who are scoring elements of the sporting performance, including objective or subjective measures such as technical performance or artistic impression.
Records of performance are often kept, and for popular sports, this information may be widely announced or reported in sport news. Sport is also a major source of entertainment for non-participants, with spectator sport drawing large crowds to sport venues, and reaching wider audiences through broadcasting. Sport betting is in some cases severely regulated, and in some cases is central to the sport.
According to A.T. Kearney, a consultancy, the global sporting industry is worth up to $620 billion as of 2013. The worlds most accessible and practised sport is running, while association football is the most popular spectator sport.
1.1. Meaning and usage Etymology
The word "sport" comes from the Old French desport meaning "leisure", with the oldest definition in English from around 1300 being "anything humans find amusing or entertaining".
Other meanings include gambling and events staged for the purpose of gambling; hunting; and games and diversions, including ones that require exercise. Rogets defines the noun sport as an "activity engaged in for relaxation and amusement" with synonyms including diversion and recreation.
1.2. Meaning and usage Nomenclature
The singular term "sport" is used in most English dialects to describe the overall concept e.g. "children taking part in sport", with "sports" used to describe multiple activities e.g. "football and rugby are the most popular sports in England". American English uses "sports" for both terms.
1.3. Meaning and usage Definition
The precise definition of what separates a sport from other leisure activities varies between sources. The closest to an international agreement on a definition is provided by SportAccord, which is the association for all the largest international sports federations, and is therefore the de facto representative of international sport.
SportAccord uses the following criteria, determining that a sport should:
- not rely on any "luck" element specifically designed into the sport.
- have an element of competition
- be in no way harmful to any living creature
- not rely on equipment provided by a single supplier excluding proprietary games such as arena football
They also recognise that sport can be primarily physical such as rugby or athletics, primarily mind such as chess or Go, predominantly motorised such as Formula 1 or powerboating, primarily co-ordination such as billiard sports, or primarily animal-supported such as equestrian sport.
The inclusion of mind sports within sport definitions has not been universally accepted, leading to legal challenges from governing bodies in regards to being denied funding available to sports. Whilst SportAccord recognises a small number of mind sports, it is not open to admitting any further mind sports.
There has been an increase in the application of the term "sport" to a wider set of non-physical challenges such as video games, also called esports, especially due to the large scale of participation and organised competition, but these are not widely recognised by mainstream sports organisations. According to Council of Europe, European Sports Charter, article 2.i, Sport means all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels."
1.4. Meaning and usage Competition
There are opposing views on the necessity of competition as a defining element of a sport, with almost all professional sport involving competition, and governing bodies requiring competition as a prerequisite of recognition by the International Olympic Committee IOC or SportAccord.
Other bodies advocate widening the definition of sport to include all physical activity. For instance, the Council of Europe include all forms of physical exercise, including those competed just for fun.
In order to widen participation, and reduce the impact of losing on less able participants, there has been an introduction of non-competitive physical activity to traditionally competitive events such as school sports days, although moves like this are often controversial.
In competitive events, participants are graded or classified based on their "result" and often divided into groups of comparable performance, e.g. gender, weight and age. The measurement of the result may be objective or subjective, and corrected with "handicaps" or penalties. In a race, for example, the time to complete the course is an objective measurement. In gymnastics or diving the result is decided by a panel of judges, and therefore subjective. There are many shades of judging between boxing and mixed martial arts, where victory is assigned by judges if neither competitor has lost at the end of the match time.
Artifacts and structures suggest sport in China as early as 2000 BC. Gymnastics appears to have been popular in Chinas ancient past. Monuments to the Pharaohs indicate that a number of sports, including swimming and fishing, were well-developed and regulated several thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt. Other Egyptian sports included javelin throwing, high jump, and wrestling. Ancient Persian sports such as the traditional Iranian martial art of Zourkhaneh had a close connection to warfare skills. Among other sports that originated in ancient Persia are polo and jousting.
A wide range of sports were already established by the time of Ancient Greece and the military culture and the development of sport in Greece influenced one another considerably. Sport became such a prominent part of their culture that the Greeks created the Olympic Games, which in ancient times were held every four years in a small village in the Peloponnesus called Olympia.
Sports have been increasingly organised and regulated from the time of the ancient Olympics up to the present century. Industrialisation has brought increased leisure time, letting people attend and follow spectator sports and participate in athletic activities. These trends continued with the advent of mass media and global communication. Professionalism became prevalent, further adding to the increase in sports popularity, as sports fans followed the exploits of professional athletes – all while enjoying the exercise and competition associated with amateur participation in sports. Since the turn of the 21st century, there has been increasing debate about whether transgender sportspersons should be able to participate in sport events that conform with their post-transition gender identity.
3.1. Fair play Sportsmanship
Sportsmanship is an attitude that strives for fair play, courtesy toward teammates and opponents, ethical behaviour and integrity, and grace in victory or defeat.
Sportsmanship expresses an aspiration or ethos that the activity will be enjoyed for its own sake. The well-known sentiment by sports journalist Grantland Rice, that its "not that you won or lost but how you played the game", and the modern Olympic creed expressed by its founder Pierre de Coubertin: "The most important thing. is not winning but taking part" are typical expressions of this sentiment.
3.2. Fair play Cheating
Key principles of sport include that the result should not be predetermined, and that both sides should have equal opportunity to win. Rules are in place to ensure fair play, but participants can break these rules in order to gain advantage.
Participants may cheat in order to unfairly increase their chance of winning, or in order to achieve other advantages such as financial gains. The widespread existence of gambling on the results of sports fixtures creates a motivation for match fixing, where a participant or participants deliberately work to ensure a given outcome rather than simply playing to win.
3.3. Fair play Doping and drugs
The competitive nature of sport encourages some participants to attempt to enhance their performance through the use of medicines, or through other means such as increasing the volume of blood in their bodies through artificial means.
All sports recognised by the IOC or SportAccord are required to implement a testing programme, looking for a list of banned drugs, with suspensions or bans being placed on participants who test positive for banned substances.
3.4. Fair play Violence
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. Rioting or hooliganism by fans in particular is a problem at some national and international sporting contests.
4.1. Participation Gender participation
Female participation in sports continues to rise alongside the opportunity for involvement and the value of sports for child development and physical fitness. Despite gains during the last three decades, a gap persists in the enrollment figures between male and female players. Female players account for 39% of the total participation in US interscholastic athletics. Gender balance has been accelerating from a 32% increase in 1973–74 to a 63% increase in 1994–95. Hessel 2000.
4.2. Participation Youth participation
Youth sport presents children with opportunities for fun, socialisation, forming peer relationships, physical fitness, and athletic scholarships. Activists for education and the war on drugs encourage youth sport as a means to increase educational participation and to fight the illegal drug trade. According to the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Childrens Hospital, the biggest risk for youth sport is death or serious injury including concussion. These risks come from running, basketball, association football, volleyball, gridiron, gymnastics, and ice hockey. Youth sport in the US is a $15 billion industry including equipment up to private coaching.
4.3. Participation Disabled participation
Disabled sports also adaptive sports or parasports, are sports played by persons with a disability, including physical and intellectual disabilities. As many of these are based on existing sports modified to meet the needs of persons with a disability, they are sometimes referred to as adapted sports. However, not all disabled sports are adapted; several sports that have been specifically created for persons with a disability have no equivalent in able-bodied sports.
4.4. Participation Spectator involvement
The competition element of sport, along with the aesthetic appeal of some sports, result in the popularity of people attending to watch sport being played. This has led to the specific phenomenon of spectator sport.
Both amateur and professional sports attract spectators, both in person at the sport venue, and through broadcast media including radio, television and internet broadcast. Both attendance in person and viewing remotely can incur a sometimes substantial charge, such as an entrance ticket, or pay-per-view television broadcast.
It is common for popular sports to attract large broadcast audiences, leading to rival broadcasters bidding large amounts of money for the rights to show certain fixtures. The football World Cup attracts a global television audience of hundreds of millions; the 2006 final alone attracted an estimated worldwide audience of well over 700 million and the 2011 Cricket World Cup Final attracted an estimated audience of 135 million in India alone.
In the United States, the championship game of the NFL, the Super Bowl, has become one of the most watched television broadcasts of the year. Super Bowl Sunday is a de facto national holiday in America; the viewership being so great that in 2015, advertising space was reported as being sold at $4.5m for a 30-second slot.
5. Amateur and professional
Sport can be undertaken on an amateur, professional or semi-professional basis, depending on whether participants are incentivised for participation usually through payment of a wage or salary. Amateur participation in sport at lower levels is often called "grassroots sport".
The popularity of spectator sport as a recreation for non-participants has led to sport becoming a major business in its own right, and this has incentivised a high paying professional sport culture, where high performing participants are rewarded with pay far in excess of average wages, which can run into millions of dollars.
Some sports, or individual competitions within a sport, retain a policy of allowing only amateur sport. The Olympic Games started with a principle of amateur competition with those who practised a sport professionally considered to have an unfair advantage over those who practised it merely as a hobby. From 1971, Olympic athletes were allowed to receive compensation and sponsorship, and from 1986, the IOC decided to make all professional athletes eligible for the Olympics, with the exceptions of boxing, and wrestling.
Technology plays an important part in modern sport. With it being a necessary part of some sports such as motorsport, it is used in others to improve performance. Some sports also use it to allow off-field decision making.
Sports science is a widespread academic discipline, and can be applied to areas including athlete performance, such as the use of video analysis to fine-tune technique, or to equipment, such as improved running shoes or competitive swimwear. Sports engineering emerged as a discipline in 1998 with an increasing focus not just on materials design but also the use of technology in sport, from analytics and big data to wearable technology. In order to control the impact of technology on fair play, governing bodies frequently have specific rules that are set to control the impact of technical advantage between participants. For example, in 2010, full-body, non-textile swimsuits were banned by FINA, as they were enhancing swimmers performances.
The increase in technology has also allowed many decisions in sports matches to be taken, or reviewed, off-field, with another official using instant replays to make decisions. In some sports, players can now challenge decisions made by officials. In Association football, goal-line technology makes decisions on whether a ball has crossed the goal line or not. The technology is not compulsory, but was used in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and the 2015 FIFA Womens World Cup in Canada, as well as in the Premier League from 2013–14, and the Bundesliga from 2015–16. In the NFL, a referee can ask for a review from the replay booth, or a head coach can issue a challenge to review the play using replays. The final decision rests with the referee. A video referee commonly known as a Television Match Official or TMO can also use replays to help decision-making in rugby both league and union. In international cricket, an umpire can ask the Third umpire for a decision, and the third umpire makes the final decision. Since 2008, a decision review system for players to review decisions has been introduced and used in ICC-run tournaments, and optionally in other matches. Depending on the host broadcaster, a number of different technologies are used during an umpire or player review, including instant replays, Hawk-Eye, Hot Spot and Real Time Snickometer. Hawk-Eye is also used in tennis to challenge umpiring decisions.
7. Sports and education
Research suggests that sports have the capacity to connect youth to positive adult role models and provide positive development opportunities, as well as promote the learning and application of life skills. In recent years the use of sport to reduce crime, as well as to prevent violent extremism and radicalization, has become more widespread, especially as a tool to improve self-esteem, enhance social bonds and provide participants with a feeling of purpose.
Benito Mussolini used the 1934 FIFA World Cup, which was held in Italy, to showcase Fascist Italy. Adolf Hitler also used the 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin, and the 1936 Winter Olympics held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, to promote the Nazi ideology of the superiority of the Aryan race, and inferiority of the Jews and other "undesirables". Germany used the Olympics to give of itself a peaceful image while it was very actively preparing the war.
When apartheid was the official policy in South Africa, many sports people, particularly in rugby union, 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.
In the history of Ireland, Gaelic sports were connected with cultural nationalism. Until the mid-20th century a person could have been banned from playing Gaelic football, hurling, or other sports administered by the Gaelic Athletic Association GAA if she/he played or supported Association football, or other games seen to be of British origin. Until recently the GAA continued to ban the playing of football and rugby union at Gaelic venues. This ban, also known as Rule 42, is still enforced, but was modified to allow football and rugby to be played in Croke Park while Lansdowne Road was redeveloped into Aviva Stadium. Until recently, under Rule 21, the GAA also banned members of the British security forces and members of the RUC from playing Gaelic games, but the advent of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 led to the eventual removal of the ban.
Nationalism 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. On occasion, such tensions can lead to violent confrontation among players or spectators within and beyond the sporting venue, as in the Football War. These trends are seen by many as contrary to the fundamental ethos of sport being carried on for its own sake and for the enjoyment of its participants.
Sport and politics collided in the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Masked men entered the hotel of the Israeli Olympic team and killed many of their men. This was known as the Munich massacre.
A study of US elections has shown that the result of sports events can affect the results. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that when the home team wins the game before the election, the incumbent candidates can increase their share of the vote by 1.5 percent. A loss had the opposite effect, and the effect is greater for higher-profile teams or unexpected wins and losses. Also, when Washington Redskins win their final game before an election, then the incumbent President is more likely to win, and if the Redskins lose, then the opposition candidate is more likely to win; this has become known as the Redskins Rule.
8.1. Politics As a means of controlling and subduing populations
Etienne de La Boetie, in his essay Discourse on Voluntary Servitude describes athletic spectacles as means for tyrants to control their subjects by distracting them.
Do not imagine that there is any bird more easily caught by decoy, nor any fish sooner fixed on the hook by wormy bait, than are all these poor fools neatly tricked into servitude by the slightest feather passed, so to speak, before their mouths. Truly it is a marvelous thing that they let themselves be caught so quickly at the slightest tickling of their fancy. Plays, farces, spectacles, gladiators, strange beasts, medals, pictures, and other such opiates, these were for ancient peoples the bait toward slavery, the price of their liberty, the instruments of tyranny. By these practices and enticements the ancient dictators so successfully lulled their subjects under the yoke, that the stupefied peoples, fascinated by the pastimes and vain pleasures flashed before their eyes, learned subservience as naïvely, but not so creditably, as little children learn to read by looking at bright picture books.
9. Religious views
Sport was an important form of worship in Ancient Greek religion. The ancient Olympic Games, called the Olympiad, were held in honour of the head deity, Zeus, and featured various forms of religious dedication to him and other gods. As many Greeks travelled to see the games, this combination of religion and sport also served as a way of uniting them.
The practice of athletic competitions has been criticised by some Christian thinkers as a form of idolatry, in which "human beings extol themselves, adore themselves, sacrifice themselves and reward themselves." Sports are seen by these critics as a manifestation of "collective pride" and "national self-deification" in which feats of human power are idolized at the expense of divine worship.
Tertullian condemns the athletic performances of his day, insisting "the entire apparatus of the shows is based upon idolatry." The shows, says Tertullian, excite passions foreign to the calm temperament cultivated by the Christian:
God has enjoined us to deal calmly, gently, quietly, and peacefully with the Holy Spirit, because these things are alone in keeping with the goodness of His nature, with His tenderness and sensitiveness. Well, how shall this be made to accord with the shows? For the show always leads to spiritual agitation, since where there is pleasure, there is keenness of feeling giving pleasure its zest; and where there is keenness of feeling, there is rivalry giving in turn its zest to that. Then, too, where you have rivalry, you have rage, bitterness, wrath and grief, with all bad things which flow from them – the whole entirely out of keeping with the religion of Christ.
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