People have always played sports. In ancient Egypt people went swimming. They also enjoyed boxing, wrestling and archery. They also played a game that involved standing on a boat and trying to hit the opposing team in the water with a stick.
In ancient Greece, sports competitions were held during religious festivals in every Greek city. However, the Olympic Games began in Olympia in 776 BC in honor of Zeus, the leaders of the gods and people from all over Greece and the Greek colonies came to participate in them. The wars were stopped to allow everyone to participate. The athletes competed in boxing, wrestling, running, horse racing, chariot racing and five sports events. The winners did not receive medals. Instead, they received a crown of leaves.
Women were not allowed to participate in the Olympic Games. However, women had their own games dedicated to the goddess Hera (Zeus’s wife). The Hirayan Games are held once every 4 years.
In Rome and other major cities of the Roman Empire, gladiators were men (or sometimes women) who fought, sometimes to the death, to provide entertainment. The first gladiators fought in 264 BC at a funeral. Six gladiators fought to entertain the guests. The word gladiator means a person who fights with a sword (short sword) and the fighting word gladiator was munus, which means duty and obligation to the dead.
Over time, gladiator fights separated from funerals. They evolved into public performances by wealthy Roman politicians to please their supporters. Eventually, Roman emperors were expected to make expensive offerings to make the poor people of Rome happy. Initially, gladiators were slaves, but later some were criminals who were condemned to fight for a set period of time or a set number of games. Surprisingly, some people volunteered to be wrestlers. Again they fought for a set time or number of matches and received a large amount of money if they survived.
The Romans also loved chariot races. There were four teams, the green, blue, red and white. Chariots were treated as heroes. However, being a rickshaw driver is dangerous and can even be fatal. In the Roman Empire, large cities also had an amphitheater where sports such as cockfights took place and sometimes gladiators fought to the death. Some Roman cities also had theaters.
In the Middle Ages, games for the poor were as cheap as wrestling, racing and playing dice.
Hunting was the main pastime of the upper class. The men hunted deer with dog teams and killed them with arrows. They also hunted wild boars with spears. Both men and women went for a walk. Knights also participated in tournaments. In their eyes, the knights fought with wooden spears, swords or maces. It’s called a duel. There were also tournaments (team battles). The tournaments usually lasted four days. It was two days of fencing, one for tournaments and one for shooting competitions.
Golf is believed to be a variation of the Dutch word “kolba”, which means club. The Dutch played games with clubs in the Middle Ages, but golf developed in Scotland in the 15th century. Meanwhile, the first recorded bowling alley was set up in Southampton in the 13th century.
Even for medieval peasants, life was not hard work. People were allowed to rest on holidays. Above them danced and wrestled the poor. They also played a very tough form of football. Men from two villages play in a ‘playground’ that may include woods and streams! Injuries were common.
Moreover, in the Middle Ages, people would make sledges from the shoulder of cows and go ice skating. People also enjoyed extreme sports such as cockfighting and bear catching. (A bear was tied to a pole and dogs were trained to attack it.)
Sport in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
Although the days of the armored knights are over, the rich still enjoy the trophies. The runners wear armor and ride horses. They fought with wooden spears and swords. The rich also went deer hunting with bows and arrows. After the deer is killed they eat. Rich people also went hawking and falcons were trained to kill other birds. However, in the Tudor era, the rich did not hunt foxes.
Tudor also loved wrestling and “throwing the crossbar”, which was like a shot putter but with an iron rod. They also played pool.
Ordinary people still play a rough version of soccer. Rough “sports” like cockfighting and bearfighting are still common.
In Tudor times, people learned to swim using bunds of hills as buoys.
In the 17th century, traditional games such as bowls continued. So are games like tennis and badminton. The rich also played a game called pale-maille (Pall Mall in London got its name from the area where the game was played). Furthermore, Charles II made yachting a popular sport.
Sport in the eighteenth century
In the 18th century, people continued to play tennis and a rough version of soccer. In the eighteenth century, horse racing became a professional sport. The Jockey Club was founded in 1727 and the derby began in 1780. The game of cricket in the 18th century also took its modern form. The first cricket club was established in Hambledon in Hampshire around 1750.
In the 18th century, many people still watched extreme sports like cockfighting and bull baiting. Rich people like to hunt foxes. Naked boxing was also popular (although some boxers began wearing leather gloves in the 18th century).
Sport in the nineteenth century
In the early 19th century, many people rejected the tough “sports” like bull hunting and cockfighting. Bullfighting was banned in 1835. Cockfighting was banned soon after.
During the 19th century, many sports were organized. The Football Association of London devised the rules of football in 1863. The first international match was between England and Scotland in 1872. Meanwhile, the Australian rules of football were invented in 1858. In 1867 John Graham Chambers prepared a list of the rules of boxing. The Queensbury bases were named after the Marquis of Queensbury. In 1879, the rules for the modern game of tug-of-war were established. Then in 1880 the Amateur Athletics Federation was founded.
Many new sports and games were invented during the 19th century. Although one type of tennis has been played since the medieval invention of tennis in 1873. George Hancock invented basketball in 1887 and James Naismith invented basketball in 1891. William Morgan invented volleyball in 1895. Basketball also started in 1895 Baseball evolved from an earlier game. It became an organized sport in 1845. The National League was formed in 1876. American football developed in the late 19th century. The American Football Association was founded in 1920.
People have been skating on ice for centuries, but the first ice rink opened in 1876. Ice hockey became an organized sport in the 1970s. The International Ice Hockey Federation was founded in 1908. The modern croquet game began in the 19th century. Modern badminton also developed at the end of the 19th century. Meanwhile, Britain’s first women’s cricket club was formed in 1887.
At the end of the 19th century, cycling became a popular sport. The safety bicycle was sold in 1885 and in 1892 John Boyd Dunlop invented the pneumatic tire. Cycling clubs are becoming popular.
Polo is an ancient game. In the 19th century, the British learned to play polo in India and brought it back to Britain. The first polo club in Great Britain was founded in 1872.
In 1891, the first world championship in weightlifting was held. Then in 1896, the ancient Greek Olympic Games were revived. The first Winter Olympics were held in 1924. Meanwhile, the first Equestrian Tour was held in France in 1903. In 1954, Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in under one minute.
Ralph Samuelson invented water skiing in 1922.