|| *** Sports
athletic games or tests of skill undertaken primarily for
the diversion of those who take part or those who observe them. The
range is great; usually, however, the term is restricted to any play,
pastime, exercise, game, or contest performed under given rules, indoors
or outdoors, on an individual or a team
basis, with or without competition, but requiring skill and some form
of physical exertion. Some sports, such as hunting , fishing , running,
and swimming , derive from the rhythms and work requirements of primitive
everyday life. Some, such as riding, shooting, throwing the javelin,
or archery derive from early military practices. Still others, like
boxing , wrestling, and jumping, arose from the spontaneous challenges
and occasional hostilities that accompany human interaction.
Development of Sports
The precise origins of many sports remain obscure, although
all cultures have known physical contests. The ancient Egyptians swam,
raced, wrestled, and played games with balls. The ancient Greeks held
large athletic festivals, including the Olympic games , that drew
athletes from all over the ancient world. The Greeks, and then the
Romans, also competed in events (chariot races, throwing the javelin)
that relied on the participation of animals or the use of mechanical
contrivances, a tradition continued into modern times in sports such
as dog racing, horse racing, and shooting.
During the Middle Ages, the cultural isolation imposed by the feudal
system and religious doctrine that opposed the use of the body for
play hampered the development of organized sport in the Western world.
For many centuries, contests between knights in tournaments that emphasized
military skill were among the only forms of approved, public sports.
In the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods, games and exercise attained
renewed popularity. As had been the case in ancient times, however,
politics and social class circumscribed activity. Sports that required
wealth or leisure, such as polo or falconry, were the province of
the upper classes, while inexpensive, massed sports, such as soccer,
took root among commoners.
The late 19th cent. witnessed an expanding belief in sport as useful
recreation, and in industrialized societies equipment was standardized,
local and national organizations were set up to govern play, and a
doctrine of character-building declared sports to be a necessary endeavor
for men. The revival of the Olympics in 1896 and the blossoming U.S.
intercollegiate athletic system boosted many forms of amateur, or
unpaid, sports at the same time that professional sports (such as
baseball, boxing, and bicycle racing) drew large numbers of spectators.
Sports that were traditionally played in various countries became,
by legislative act or general acceptance, national sports baseball
in the United States, bullfighting in Spain and Mexico, cricket in
England, and ice hockey (see hockey, ice ) in Canada.
During the Great Depression, Americans sought inexpensive outlets
for their energies; mass participation in sports such as softball
and bowling resulted. At the same time, spectator sports burgeoned,
and the commercialism that accompanied them gradually engulfed both
amateur and professional sports. By the late 20th cent., the televising
of athletic events had made sports big business. On the other hand,
expanding public concern with personal physical health led to mass
participation, not necessarily competitive, in sports like running,
hiking, cycling, martial arts, and gymnastics. Athletic activity by
women expanded, especially after political action in the 1960s and
1970s opened doors to many forms of competition and an increased share
of public funding for sports.
During the 20th cent., sports took on an increasingly international
flavor; aside from the world championships for individual sports,
like soccer's World Cup, large-scale international meets, such as
the Pan-American games and the Commonwealth games , were inaugurated.
Sports have correspondingly become increasingly politicized, as shown
in the boycott of the 1980 Moscow games by Western nations and the
retaliatory boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles games by Soviet-bloc nations,
an exchange brought on by Soviet actions in Afghanistan.
travel to a part of the earth that is relatively unknown to the
traveler's culture, historically often motivated by a desire for
colonization, conquest, or trade.
Early Egyptian expeditions penetrated into Nubia and Mesopotamia;
the Phoenicians and the Greeks explored the Mediterranean and the
Black Sea regions earlier than 600 BC; and a Phoenician expedition
(c.600 BC) is said to have sailed around Africa. After 500 BC the
Carthaginians explored beyond the Strait of Gibraltar to trade along
the coasts of Spain and Africa. A Greek navigator, Pytheas, probably
sailed beyond Britain c.330 BC The conquests of Alexander the Great
brought the West in closer relationship with the East, and the Roman
legions extended the limits of geographical knowledge, especially
in N Europe. Trade with the East was stimulated by the discovery
(c.AD 15) of a sea captain, Hippalus, that by using monsoon winds
it was possible to sail across the Indian Ocean instead of hugging
the coast. Roman trade was early established with India and Sri
Lanka and later (c.AD 100) with China.
After the dissolution of the Roman Empire, the Arabs expanded their
relationships with the East. The Chinese also made many explorations
in this period. One of the best-known Chinese travelers is Hs¨¹an-tsang,
who traveled (AD 629-646) to India and farther west. Exploration
by Europeans was carried on during the Middle Ages by Norse adventurers
and colonists who crossed the Atlantic to Iceland, Greenland, and
North America. Their journeys, however, did not have much influence
on the rest of Europe. European knowledge of Asia gained during
the Crusades was extended by the journeys across Asia made by missionaries
and by Marco Polo.
The European Age of Discovery
By about 1400 the breakup of the Mongol empire and the growth of
the Ottoman Empire had blocked Europe's overland trade routes to
the East. The search for new trade routes, the rise of merchant
capitalism, and the desire to exploit the potential of a global
economy initiated the European ¡°age of discovery.¡± Henry the Navigator
promoted voyages along the coast of Africa that helped dispel the
superstition and misinformation that had impeded previous attempts
to sail through the torrid zone. The extent of the globe was revealed
by Bartholomew Diaz's rounding of the Cape of Good Hope (1486-87),
Vasco da Gama's voyage to India (1497-98), Christopher Columbus's
first voyage to America (1492), and the circumnavigation of the
globe by the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan (1519-22). In the
16th cent. Spanish explorers, notably Vasco de Balboa, Hern¨¢n Cort¨¦s,
Francisco Pizarro, Cabeza de Vaca, Hern¨¢n De Soto, and Francisco
de Coronado, explored large areas of the Americas. Much of the interior
of North America was revealed in the 17th cent. by Samuel de Champlain,
Sieur de La Salle, Louis Jolliet, Jacques Marquette, and other French
A Spanish and Portuguese monopoly of the new trade routes stimulated
attempts to find other passages to the East (see Northeast Passage
and Northwest Passage ) and was soon challenged by English and Dutch
voyages in the Pacific and Indian oceans. Most of the major islands
of the Pacific and the coastline of Australia became known to Europeans
through the voyages of Francis Drake, Abel Tasman, William Dampier,
James Cook, Vitus Bering, George Vancouver, and others. European
exploration of the interior of Australia took place in the mid-19th
cent., and by the end of the century most of Africa had been explored
by David Livingstone, H. M. Stanley, and Richard Burton.
European exploration and colonization frequently had disastrous
results for the indigenous peoples. Diseases brought to the Americas
and Australia by Europeans decimated the inhabitants, and European
intervention in Africa expanded the already thriving slave trade.
The aboriginal peoples often viewed the presence of explorers as
an encroachment, inevitably leading to war, repression, and dislocation.
In the late 19th and early 20th cent. the Arctic was explored by
Nils Nordenskj?ld, Roald Amundsen, Donald MacMillan, Richard Byrd,
and others. In 1909, Robert E. Peary reached the North Pole. The
continent of Antarctica was explored in the first half of the 20th
cent. by William Bruce, Jean Charcot, Douglas Mawson, Ernest Shackleton,
and others. The South Pole was reached first by Amundsen (Dec. 14,
1911) and almost immediately thereafter (Jan. 18, 1912) by Robert
Scott. The airplane provided a new method of antarctic exploration,
with George Wilkins and Richard E. Byrd as the pioneers. Since World
War II there have been many well-equipped expeditions, most notably
those during the International Geophysical Year (1957-58), to the
as a sport, the art of navigating a sailboat for recreational
or competitive purposes.
There is no single ¡°yacht type¡± of boat, rather many types
that include sloops, yawls, catamarans, and ketches. The hundreds
of different racing classes fall into three broad groups: one-design
classes where very similar boats compete; handicap classes where
dissimilar boats race, some with an advantageous time allowance;
and rating classes where a variety of formulas take into account
boat length, sail size, type of rig, and other factors. Sailboats
originally had wooden hulls with sails made of sailcloth, a canvas
commonly called duck. Today, however, fiberglass hulls and synthetic
Especially popular are the 16-23 ft (4.88-7.01 m) one-design boats;
these are mass-produced craft made from a single blueprint and intended
for the sailor of modest means. Races between one-design boats are
thought to be a particularly good test of a crew's ability, to which,
rather than to design, any variation in speed must, at least in
theory, be attributable.
History of Sport Sailing
Although sailing as a means of transportation predates
history, sport sailingor yachtingseems to have originated in the
17th cent. in Holland. From there it was introduced into England
(c.1660) by Charles II, and eventually spread to the American colonies.
Then, as now, it was common for sport sailors to join together for
social and recreational purposes in groups known as yacht clubs.
The world's first such club was founded (1720) at Cork, Ireland.
The oldest continuously existing club in the United States is the
New York Yacht Club (NYYC; founded 1844). In 1851 members of the
NYYC raced the schooner America against British competitors around
England's Isle of Wight. Victorious, they deeded their trophy to
the NYYC. It became known as the America 's Cup, giving its name
to the oldest and most prestigious event in international sailboat
racing. The United States won every America 's Cup (the event is
irregularly held) between 1851 and 1983, when it was won by Australia.
In the 1980s and 90s radical changes in boat design and charges
of espionage and even sabotage roiled Cup competition. The United
States regained the Cup in 1987, then lost it to New Zealand in
1995; New Zealand successfully defended in 2000. Since 1992, a new
class of longer, lighter boats carrying more sail on a higher mast
have been used in America 's Cup races.
Ocean racing, an arduous and dangerous sport, especially in long-distance
solo events, has gained increased notice. Major ocean racing events
include the Newport-Bermuda Race, the Transpacific Race, and the
Whitbread Round the World Race. Francis Chichester circumnavigated
the globe alone in 1967, making only one stop; a year later nonstop
around-the-world solo sailing was initiated in a race called the
Golden Globe. Today's ocean racers sail advanced multihulled yachts
and are aided by such modern technology as sophisticated communication
devices and satellite-generated weather reports. Sailboat racing
has also been part of the Olympic Games since 1900; at present Olympic
sailors compete in nine classes ranging from sailboards 12 ft 1
in. (3.7 m) in length to 26-ft 9-in (8.2-m) sloops. Sailing, traditionally
a sport of the wealthy, has been opened to wider participation by
modern methods of boatbuilding.
act of catching fish for consumption or display. Fishingusually
by hand, club, spear, net, and possibly by hookwas known to prehistoric
people. It was practiced by the ancient Persians, Egyptians, and
Chinese, and it is mentioned in the Odyssey and in the Bible. It
is a major means of subsistence and livelihood today, not only in
societies such as those in the South Pacific but also in most nations
of the world.
The development of fishing as a sport or pastime is comparatively
recent, although books on the art and philosophy of angling have
been published since the early 16th cent.; the most famous work
is Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler (1653). The basic equipment
of modern sport fishing consists of a barbed metal hook at the end
of a nylon or Dacron line, and a wood, fiberglass, or metal rod,
or pole, that usually has some type of spool, or reel, near the
handle around which the line is wound. Recreational fishing, which
is practiced throughout the world, may be done in either fresh-
or saltwater. The most popular game fish are salmon, trout, bass,
and pike in freshwater, and sailfish, tuna, marlin, tarpon, and
bonefish in saltwater. In the United States each state issues fishing
licenses and sets regulations as to the season in which a certain
species of fish may be caught, the minimum permissible size, and
the number that may be taken per day. There are two basic types
of freshwater tackle, those for fly casting and those for bait casting.
Fly rods and reels are light and require that a hooked fish be ¡°played¡±
rather than reeled in by force; they are used to catch fish that
inhabit running streams, such as trout and salmon. Live bait (worms,
insects, minnows, or frogs) or artificial flies and lures are cast
into or on the stream as an enticement for the fish to bite.
A sturdier rod and reel are used for bait casting, which is done
mainly in lakes and large rivers. Live bait or a variety of plugs,
spoons, and other artificial lures can be cast and pulled in, ¡°popped¡±
along the surface, trolled from a moving boat, or allowed to rest
near the bottom. Spinning tackle, which greatly simplifies bait
casting by allowing the line to unwind more evenly, has become very
Heavier rods and reels of the bait-casting type are used in saltwater
fishing; trolling and casting from the surf are the usual methods.
In big-game fishing, sport fishers troll the open ocean for large
fish such as tuna, swordfish, and shark. The familiar bamboo pole,
without reel, continues to be used for still fishing. Fishing with
handlines through holes in the ice and spearfishing underwater are
also popular. High-tech devices such as underwater cameras have
been introduced, but are regarded by many as unsporting.
There are many annual tournaments both for catching fish and for
accuracy and distance in casting; records are kept for the largest
catch in each species. The International Game Fish Association (founded
1939) standardizes rules for saltwater fishing throughout the world.
The largest ratified catch of any type is a 2,664-lb (1,208-kg)
white shark caught off the Australian coast in 1959