The Definition of Sport
“Sport” has a very wide meaning. “Sport” is also used in a less broad way to describe sports that people play. Sport can be broadly categorised into three main areas: competitive sports; recreational sports; and gymnastics. Competitive sports refer to any form of physical activity in which the objective is to win. Competitive sport can also include sporting events, such as ice-skating and swimming.
“Competitive” as a definition may include games such as basketball, tennis, golf, rugby, sprinting or even volleyball. However, it can also cover activities where the outcome is influenced by physical exertion, such as climbing a mountain or running a marathon. In gymnastics, the definition is slightly more specific, stating that it is an art form or sport where the gymnast combines strength, flexibility and body co-ordination in order to perform difficult tasks, using the different muscles of the body.
The point of the debate surrounding sport is that it is an ever-changing, ever-adjusting field of activity. We often see sports referred to as “sport” even when no physical activities have been involved. It is this flexibility and constantly shifting focus that make it such an interesting and wide-ranging subject. It is estimated that there are up to 27 different types of sport, with around half of these relating to contact sports such as rugby and athletics, and the other half being non-contact sport such as fishing, horse riding and motor racing. This is further fueled by the fact that it is impossible to truly define a sport – in the same way that it is impossible to say that sailing a boat is a sport, because the very act of sailing a boat will tell you nothing about its composition.