July 6, 2022

Sport is a form of exercise that is practiced to maintain physical condition, for recreation or as a competition according to the rules. It also includes recreational or competitive performances in which mechanical devices or animals play a significant role. The most visible part of competitive sports is elite sports. Competing in the skills or superiority of an individual or a team is typical of competitive sports. Sports can be divided into results and rules sports: in results sports the most important thing is the size of the achieved result, while in rules sports the aim is to follow the rules of the form of performance as closely as possible, such as in gymnastics, dance or swimming diving. There are plenty of sports, and people nowadays spend a significant part of their time, money and attention on them, either as enthusiasts, competitors or spectators, i.e. "bench athletes". Sports are also a significant form of media entertainment. The most followed sporting events in the world are the soccer, cricket and rugby world championships, the soccer Champions League and the Confederations Cup, the summer Olympics, the Asian Games and the Tour de France cycling race.


The Finnish word sport is based either on the adjective urhea or on its root word urho. It was established in widespread use at the end of the 19th century after the Kotikielen Seura had recommended it in 1886. Previously, there was talk of kilpa and competition. Mikael Agricola already used the word kilpa, but the derived verb to compete did not come into use until the 19th century. Many other languages ​​use the word sport, which is based on the old French word desport.


Sport is more narrowly defined as a competitive form of exercise, where different equipment such as motor vehicles or weapons, or animals such as horses or dogs can also be used. In a broader sense, sports can also include electronic sports, which are practiced by playing video games. However, many in sports circles do not consider electronic sports to be a real sport, on the grounds that there is not much movement in it. However, according to the guidelines issued by the International Olympic Committee in 2017, electronic sports can be counted as "real sports". The status of smart games like chess as a sport is also controversial. Chess is a sport recognized by the International Olympic Committee, but it has not been accepted as an Olympic sport because it lacks a physical element.



Many sports have been practiced for thousands of years. In the third and second millennium BC. sports were already practiced in Egypt: wall paintings and reliefs depict gymnastics, wrestling, weightlifting and ball games, as well as archery, horse riding and sailing. Seal stones depicting gymnasts and bull jumpers have been found in Crete from the Minoan culture. Boxing and wrestling were also popular with the Minoans. The Mycenaeans who followed them were also involved in running competitions and horse races even before 1000 BC. Homer's 7th century BC. created by the epics Iliad and Odyssey mention the sport as the first literary sources. In the Iliad, there is a funeral scene, in connection with which competitions are organized in eight sports: horse-drawn carriage, boxing, wrestling, running, weapon combat, discus throwing, archery and javelin throwing. The Odyssey, on the other hand, culminates in an archery competition. Early sports have often been associated with training for battles, but in many cultures sports have also had a religious element: sports in honor of a god or gods. In ancient Greece, well-known sports were boxing, wrestling, running, riding, horse racing and the pentathlon, which included the discus, javelin, long jump, running and wrestling. The most popular sport in the Roman Empire was chariot racing. The Romans emphasized