History of Sports

The history of sports may extend as far back as the beginnings of military training, with competition used as a mean to determine whether individuals were fit and useful for service. Team sports may have developed to train and to prove the capability to fight and work together as a team (army). The history of sport can teach us about social changes and about the nature of sport itself, as sport seems involved in the development of basic human skills. Of course, as one goes further back in history, dwindling evidence makes theories of the origins and purposes of sport more and more difficult to support.

Sports in Prehistory

Cave paintings have been found in the Lascaux caves in France that have been suggested to depict sprinting and wrestling in the Upper Paleolithic around 15,300 years ago.Cave paintings in the Bayankhongor Province of Mongolia dating back to Neolithic age of 7000 BCE show a wrestling match surrounded by crowds.Neolithic Rock art found at the cave of swimmers in Wadi Sura, near Gilf Kebir in Libya has shown evidence of swimming and archery being practiced around 6000 BCE.Prehistoric cave paintings have also been found in Japan depicting a sport similar to sumo wrestling.

Ancient Sumer

Various representations of wrestlers have been found on stone slabs recovered from the Sumerian civilization. One showing three pairs of wrestlers was generally dated to around 3000 BCE. A cast Bronze figurine, has been found at Khafaji in Iraq that shows two figures in a wrestling hold that dates to around 2600 BCE. The statue is one of the earliest depictions of sport and is housed in the National Museum of Iraq. The origins of boxing have also been traced to ancient Sumer. The Epic of Gilgamesh gives one of the first historical records of sport with Gilgamesh engaging in a form of belt wrestling with Enkidu. The cuneiform tablets recording the tale date to around 2000 BCE, however the historical Gilgamesh is supposed to have lived around 2800 to 2600 BCE.The Sumerian king Shulgi also boasts of his prowess in sport in Self-praise of Shulgi A, B and C.Fishing hooks not unlike those made today have been found during excavations at Ur, showing evidence of angling in Sumer at around 2600 BCE.

Ancient Egypt

Monuments to the Pharaohs found at Beni Hasan dating to around 2000 BCE indicate that a number of sports, including wrestling, weightlifting, long jump, swimming, rowing, shooting, fishing and athletics, as well as various kinds of ball games, were well-developed and regulated in ancient Egypt. Other Egyptian sports also included javelin throwing and high jump. An earlier portrayal of figures wrestling was found in the tomb of Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum in Saqqara dating to around 2400 BCE.

Ancient Greece

Depictions of ritual sporting events are seen in the Minoan art of Bronze Age Crete, such as a fresco dating to 1500 BCE of gymnastics in the form of religious bull-leaping and possibly bullfighting. The origins of Greek sporting festivals may date to funeral games of the Mycenean period, between 1600 BCE and c. 1100 BCE. In the Iliad there are extensive descriptions of funeral games held in honour of deceased warriors, such as those held for Patroclus by Achilles. Engaging in sport is described as the occupation of the noble and wealthy, who have no need to do manual labour themselves. In the Odyssey, king Odysseus of Ithaca proves his royal status to king Alkinoös of the Phaiakes by showing his proficiency in throwing the javelin. It was predictably in Greece that sports were first instituted formally, with the first Olympic Games recorded in 776 BCE in Olympia, where they were celebrated until 393 CE. The games were held every four years, or Olympiad, which became a unit of time in historical chronologies. Initially a single sprinting event, the Olympics gradually expanded to include several footraces, run in the nude or in armor, boxing, wrestling, pankration, chariot racing, long jump, javelin throw, and discus throw. During the celebration of the games, an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their countries to the games in safety. The prizes for the victors were wreaths of laurel leaves. Other important sporting events in ancient Greece were the Isthmian games, the Nemean Games, and the Pythian Games. Together with the Olympics, these were the most prestigious games, and formed the Panhellenic Games. Some games, e.g. the Panathenaia of Athens, included musical, reading and other non-athletic contests in addition to regular sports events. The Heraean Games were the first recorded sporting competition for women, held in Olympia as early as the 6th century BCE.

Middle Ages

For at least one hundred years, entire villages have competed with each other in rough, and sometimes violent, ballgames in England (Shrovetide football) and Ireland (caid). In contrast, the game of calcio Fiorentino, in Florence, Italy, was originally reserved for combat sports such as fencing and jousting being popular. Horse racing, in particular, was a favourite of the upper class in Great Britain, with Queen Anne founding the Ascot Racecourse.

Different Types of Sports

  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Billiards
  • Bobsleigh
  • Bowling
  • Boxing
  • Canoe
  • Canoe Slalom
  • Chess
  • Climbing
  • Cross Country Skiing (XC Skiing)
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Darts
  • Discus
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Endourance course
  • Fencing
  • Figure
  • Skating
  • Fishing
  • Formula 1
  • Giant
  • Slalom
  • Gliding
  • Gymnastics
  • Hammer Throwing
  • Hang-gliding
  • High
  • Diving
  • High jump
  • Hiking
  • Horse
  • Racing
  • Hunting
  • Hurdle Race
  • Ice Hockey
  • Javelin
  • Jogging
  • Kayak
  • long distance run
  • Long jump
  • Luge
  • Modern
  • Pentathlon
  • Motorsports
  • Mountaineering
  • Netball
  • Nordic Combined
  • Orienteering
  • Paintball
  • Parachuting
  • Pole Vault
  • Relay
  • Race
  • Rhythmic
  • Gymnastics
  • Riding, Equestrian
  • Rope
  • Skipping
  • Rowing
  • run the 100 metres
  • Running
  • Sailing
  • Shooting
  • Shot put
  • Skateboarding
  • Skating
  • Ski
  • Jumping
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Soccer, Football
  • Speed
  • Skating
  • Sprint
  • Surfing
  • Swimming, Aquatics
  • Synchronized Swimming
  • Table
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • tug-of-war
  • Walking
  • Water Polo
  • Waterski
  • Weight
  • Lifting
  • Windsurfing
  • Wrestling

10 Most Popular Sports in the World

10. Volleyball

Volleyball is as straightforward as you like. In fact, it is probably the simplicity of the game that makes it so famous among its fans. Take a trip to African countries or visit the beaches of Australia and you will find people playing this sport. Volleyball is truly one of the most popular sports and has 200 national federations for the sport, more than any other sport on the planet.


9. Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey is not only one of the most popular sports in the world but is the most popular winter sport by quite a margin. While the sport has its strongest following in Canada, USA, Russia, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, there is no doubting its global presence. The National Hockey League (NHL) is comprised of clubs from the US and Canada who’s teams are made up of players from around the world. The league itself ranks among the five most popular on the planet as it turns an annual revenue of $4.1 billion.


8. Boxing

The sole representative of combat sports on our list, boxing has fought tooth and nail to mix it with the most popular sports year-on-year. Boxing is a major sport in countries across every single continent and the sheer volume of talent can particularly be seen during the Olympic Games. Boxing’s popularity has steadily risen, its growth earmarked by the $400m revenue generated by Mayweather v Pacquiao in 2015 and the record 90,000 sell-out attendance at the Joshua v Klitschko fight at Wembley in 2017.


7. Formula 1

With 20 Grand Prix every year in 20 different countries, Formula 1 is one of the most global and most popular sports and has an annual TV audience of over 500 million. As far as the yearly revenue is concerned Formula 1 generate somewhere between $1.5 to $2 billion a year. Which is soundly distributed among 10 f1 teams who in return spend between $100 million to $500 million a season on elite level motor engineers, research & development and of course on driver salaries.


6. Rugby

Rugby is played in the majority of countries around the world, while it is strongest on in the Southern Hemisphere, in the UK, and in Ireland. As one of the most popular sports in the world, Rugby boasts the second most lucrative and most attended sporting World Cup of all-time with the 2015 Rugby World Cup selling 2.47 million tickets and generating £250m in revenue. In addition, 120 million tuned into the tournament’s final and #rwc2015 was used on average once every two seconds during the tournament’s entirety.


5. Athletics

Truly one of the most popular sports around the world, athletics represents several disciplines including running, high jump and long jump, as well as other track and field events. Athletics has the flagship events of each Olympics and this was proven as the 2012 100-metre final was the most watched single Olympic event in the Games’ history with over 1 billion television viewers tuning in from across the globe.


4. Tennis

With an average of 45 countries represented in top 100 tennis ranking in both the men’s and women’s game, tennis is without question among the world’s most popular sports. Furthermore, players from both the men’s and women’s game, from 30 different countries, have won at least one grand slam, making it a unique record in sport. Over 1 billion people tuned in at some point during Wimbledon 2014, 2015 and 2016, while an average of over 17 million tunes into the UK-only BBC One channel for the tournament’s men’s final.


3. Cricket

With an estimated 2 billion followers, cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world. The Twenty20 league is the third most-viewed sporting event behind the FIFA World Cup and Rugby World Cup. Women’s cricket is growing rapidly, which shows the spread of the sport’s support worldwide. The ICC (International Cricket Council) has increased television coverage and prize money for women’s competitions and female players are now paid 50% more than they did 5 years ago.


2. Basketball

With over 1 billion fans, the second-highest number of professional leagues worldwide, and the highest average salary at the top level ($4.4m), basketball is the world’s fastest growing sport. Basketball is the fastest growing sport on every scale from revenue, to competitions/leagues. More and more professional leagues are being established in countries across the world, especially in eastern European countries like Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Serbia, and Lithuania. Couple this growth with basketball’s already-established pro leagues in the US, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Italy, China, Argentina, and France and it’s not hard to see why Basketball ranks highly on the list of most popular sports.


1. Soccer

With over 4 billion fans worldwide, soccer is the clear No.1 choice on our most popular sports list. Football is one of the most accessible sport in the world and there is hardly anyone in this world who has not kick a ball at some point in their life. Soccer has the highest viewership (3.9 billion tuned into the 2014 World Cup at some point), the highest prize money (€1.5 billion awarded in prizes and bonuses in the Champions League), the most expensive TV right (Sky paid £5.3 billion in 2016 to air the Premier League), as well as the biggest kit deals and richest clubs with 30 of the top 50 richest sports teams coming in the form of soccer clubs. Soccer’s popularity is unrivaled by al and it looks set to stay that way for the foreseeable future.




Top 10 Sports Filipinos Love


Our love for basketball is a national obsession. Whether it’s the NBA or the PBA or the UAAP, almost everyone sits back and watches basketball here in the Philippines. We take pride in our International Basketball Federation team Gilas Pilipinas (mind you they’re actually doing pretty good) and stay updated on their games. Basketball is also a popular pastime for a lot of Filipinos, especially the younger males. We often see them shooting hoops in the streets on makeshift courts, as well as organize neighborhood teams and compete in local, inter-barangay basketball leagues. We may not have the height for it, but we have the passion for the game.



Boxing has a very rich history in the Philippines. We have produced a number of professional world champions, Olympic standouts, and some of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport. Although we have yet to win a gold medal in the Olympics for boxing, we have bagged 5 out of its 9 total medals in the Summer Olympics for amateur boxing. Professional boxing have produced 38 major world champions and greats like Flash Elorde, Ceferino Garcia, and Pancho Villa are international boxing hall of famers. Currently, we take much pride in two Filipino boxers, Nonito Donaire and Manny Pacquiao. When their fights are on, expect every television set in the Philippines to be tuned in to it.



Although volleyball is mainly known as the game you play when you’re in a high school or college physical education class, it has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years. Today the most popular volleyball tournament that most Filipinos follow is the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament, producing players like Alyssa Valdez, Cherry May Vivas, Abigail Maraño, and Kim Kianna Dy. Like basketball, volleyball is also a common game played by younger generations in the streets. Filipinos have also contributed to the modern way of playing the game. we inspired the three-hit limit, and setting and spiking the ball.



Most of us remember our dads and uncles bonding over this game. Many of us also played pool during our high school and college years. Billiards, as we like to call it here in the Philippines, is a game played with friends and family over a bottle of beer. It’s one of the most popular recreational sport amongst men, so don’t be shocked if you’ll find a number of good pool players at the local billiards hall. On a competitive note, the Philippines has also produced a few great billiards player, with Efren “Bata” Reyes or the magician as he’s known in the billiards world, heading the list.



Here’s a trivia. Did you know that the youngest player to play or score for the Barcelona was Filipino? Although football is not as popular as basketball in the country, many Filipinos follow the international leagues and games, especially when FIFA seasons comes around.  Many high schools and colleges also offer football as a physical education class and even offer varsity players a scholarship or a discount on their school fees. And since the rise of popularity of the Philippines national football team, better known as the Azkals, more and more people are getting into the game.


Sipa Takraw

Many of us remember this game as something we use to play during our elementary years. Imagine volleyball, only you use your legs and feet and kick the ball over the net and back to the other team. Also, you use a smaller ball made from rattan instead. Better known as “sipa”, it’s one of the few traditional games that survived after three centuries of Spanish colonization. It was the national sport until it was replaced by Arnis back in 2009, however may elementary and high schools still include it in their curriculum.



Remember that Milo commercial with Japoy Lizardo that placed taekwondo on the limelight? Well a lot of kids are still interested in learning this martial art and are even participating in contests. It’s a popular summer class for kids and many of them continue to higher classes. The Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA) was founded in the 70’s and has long produced a number of practitioners who have won competitions here and outside the country. he PTA is a member of the World Taekwondo Federation and the Philippine Olympic Committee.



Speaking of self-defense and sport, mixed martial arts (MMA) has started to become popular over the years, especially since more and more MMA fights are being organized nationally. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has also build up quite a number of followers in the country who regularly watch the fights on TV. One of the first to professionalize this sport in the Philippines was the Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC), which has been in existence for the past decade. More recently, Pacific X-Treme Combat (PXC) has come to the country and has organized many fights for local and international fighters. Many MMA gyms have also opened up that provide training in a variety of fighting techniques, from vale tudo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, muay thai and the locally known yaw-yan fighting style.



Golf has actually become quite a popular sport amongst those in high society. There are a few established local golf clubs and a number of golf driving ranges where players can practice on their swing. Big resorts and hotels also have gold courses where people can pay for day use. Although not a lot of people are crazy over it, those who can afford to play the game find it as a great pastime or hobby. We have yet to produce internationally known players, but we’re working on it.



Humor me. Although it’s not in the Olympics (not yet anyway) eSports has taken the world by storm. In the Philippines, many of the younger generation play games like Dota 2, League of Legends, and Heroes of Newerth, many of which actually have real competitions being held all over the world. Internationally, there are a number of colleges who offer scholarships for eSports.  People are taking eSports very seriously, and so are players here in the Philippines.  Filipino teams join international and local competitions, wining prizes that could reach millions of dollars.






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