The Evolution of Sports


As the definition of “sport” changes, the meaning of the term also shifts. While the aesthetic element of the game remains, the emphasis on the quantitative side has become paramount. The evolution of the word measure from a sense of balance and proportion to one of numerical measurements can be seen in the shift from Renaissance to modern sports. However, the term “sport” is still generally accepted to include all physical exercise that is competed in a competitive setting.

As sport continues to expand in its social and spatial dimensions, the nature of judging has changed. For example, in the early 20th century, African Americans, the Aboriginal people of Australia, and the “Cape Coloureds” of South Africa gained the right to compete in athletic competitions. In addition, women began competing in traditionally masculine sports. Currently, a vast array of rules govern the game and its participants. Despite the differences between sport and politics, they all involve emotions and are based on social and cultural factors.

The Renaissance period saw sports move from their origins as a spiritual pursuit to a more secular one. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the elites of the Eastern European countries became increasingly interested in geometric patterns of movement. By the end of the period, the sport of ballet was developed, with choreographers training horses in graceful movements. In the 19th century, motorised sports were also introduced. And finally, sports are a universal fascination.