History of Sports

History of Sports

Sports in the USA

Women and Sports

Popular Sports

 

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History of Sports

Sports have been the most popular form of recreation for people since time immemorial. To jot down the conclusive history of sports in a short summary is an impractical proposition. For gaining true insight, one needs to dig historically to reach every nook, corner and township in different parts of the globe. The scope and vastness of sports and its history make it impossible to point to a date that marks D-day in the world of sports.

The true spirit and recognition of sports at the international level took place with the introduction of Olympic games in Greece. Ancient Olympics refer to a legend called Hercules, son of Zeus, as being the founder of Olympic games. Written records point to first Olympic games being held in 776 BC. Historians believe that games were held much earlier than the recorded times. We have all heard about Coroebus who won the only sprint event held at the Olympics by running a distance of 192 meters.

Ancient Olympics had two major events—the Equestrian and the Pentathlon events and it later added events like jumping, running, wresting, javelin and discus (disc throwing). The Equestrian events introduced chariot racing and riding.

Olympic games were held every four years for around 1200 years. The Roman Emperor Theodosius banned Olympic events in 393 CE owing to the game’s pagan origin. Then during World War I and II, Olympic games suffered its worst. Some 1500 years later, the Olympic games found revival with serious efforts by a Frenchman called Pierre de Coubertin. His efforts to rouse sports enthusiasm in France were initially met with scepticism and controversy. However, Coubertin was not to give up his attempts so easily.

It was in 1890 that he established an organization called USFSA (Union des Sociétés Francaises de Sports Athlétiques). In a meeting of the USFSA in Paris on November 25, 1892, Coubertin voiced his desire to revive Olympic games with a popular speech. The speech did not invoke any serious interest. Two years later, in a meeting attended by 79 delegates from nine countries, he again proposed the idea and it arose interest this time. The delegates at the conference unanimously voted for hosting Olympic games and Athens was chosen as the venue to restart the events.

Modern day Olympic games include sport events like,

  • Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Boxing
  • Archery
  • Canoeing & Cycling,
  • Diving,
  • Equestrian,
  • Fencing, Field Hockey,
  • Gymnastics, Judo, Modern Pent, Mountain Biking,
  • Rhythmic Gym, Rowing
  • Sailing, Shooting, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Swim,
  • Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Team Handball, Tennis, Track & Field, Trampoline, Triathlon,
  • Water Polo, Weightlifting, and Wrestling.

The International Federations are non-government organizations acclaimed by International Olympic Committee for managing sports at the international level. These Federations are responsible for applying rules and ensuring the integrity of Olympic sport.

A glance at major Olympic events since 1896,

  Year venue
  1896   Athens
  1900  Paris
  1904   St. Louis
  1906  Athens (unofficial)
  1908  London
  1912  Stockholm
  1916  Not held
  1920  Antwerp
  1924   Paris
  1928  Amsterdam
  1932  Los Angeles
  1936   Berlin
  1940  Not held
  1944  Not held
  1948   London
  1952  Helsinki
  1956   Melbourne
  1960   Rome
  1968  Mexico City
  1972  Munich
  1976   Montreal
  1980  Moscow
  1984   Los Angeles
  1988   Seoul
  1992   Barcelona
  1996   Atlanta
  2000   Sydney
  2004   Athens

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