Defining Sport

Any definition of sport can be controversial. In practical terms, sport is normally defined as the social understanding and its strong emotional association with competition, physical exertion, and performance outcomes. It is normally associated with the use of particular arms, legs, and skills in competitive interaction with others.


A common example is swimming wherein both the judge and a swimmer on the same pool are trying to achieve the same result. The judge’s verdict is subject to the interpretation of the swimmer on what constitutes a successful performance, and not necessarily based on the display of superior physical skill. In other words, it can be concluded that the judge’s verdicts in swimming competition are subject to the influence of the crowd, the atmosphere in the swimming pool, and the competency of the swimmer. If we look at the definition further, then it is clear that the verdicts in swimming competition are not necessarily based on merit but are influenced by the prior beliefs and opinions of the crowd, the emotions of the swimmer, and the physical skill of each swimmer.

Many sports have evolved through the process of popularization where the games and activities were initially played by the members of the sporting community who exerted effort and had the courage to try out the new games and activities. Examples of these types of sports are golf, tennis, badminton, handball, gymnastics, wrestling, softball, and sailing. A sport is defined as any physical activity that involves the use of human body and that may be competitive or non-competitive in nature. Sport includes any physical skill that may be assessed through competitions and/or assessments.

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