What is the Definition of Sport?

Sport (or sports) is any forms of generally competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual engagement, attempt to employ, hone or develop specific physical skill and/or ability while also providing entertainment for participants, and sometimes, spectators. The wide-ranging list of sports that are classified under this broad heading includes ice hockey, Australian Football, American football, rugby union, tennis, golf, motor racing, cricket and horse racing among a host of others. While there are certain common elements in most sports, each sport is said to be dedicated to presenting an individual sport in its most pure and simple form, whilst maintaining the fundamental competitions of the game.

The first official International Olympic Committee meeting in 18islau, Austria, defined the sport as “the athletic performance by an individual of a competitive level in contact sports at a professional level”, whereby “athletes” included “athletes” and “non-athletes” (e.g. players and/or spectators). This definition has been refined since its original formulation to include more specific categories, including sportsmen, non-athletes and other persons who may be involved actively in the sport by being present at one or more of the games. The term “sport” has subsequently been further defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its World Health Reports, which includes a concise definition as “an organized and continuous process of physical exercise and sport, with an added element of skill, where the performance of the sport requires skill, endurance, physical fitness, mental stamina and mental persistence”.

Reaching its pinnacle in the Olympics, the World Games is an internationally acknowledged event in which a country’s best athletes are invited to participate and compete in an inter-team competition for a variety of medals awarded each year. The definition is rooted in the spirit of the games, which encourages the participation and development of athletes who display a sense of commitment to excellence in physical exertion. For instance, unlike many sports, in which the winner simply receives the prize and title of “sportsman”, in the case of the Olympics the competitors compete not only for the gold, but also for the medals that comprise the games’ trophies and are displayed on television screens around the world. The idea is to celebrate excellence in athletes and reward their achievements by granting them sports scholarships, sports equipment and even Olympic team contracts. The definition of sport therefore has a wider meaning than simple “physical exertion”.