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sports

Introduction

sports, athletic games or tests of skill undertaken primarily for the diversion of those who take part or those who observe them. The range is great; usually, however, the term is restricted to any play, pastime, exercise, game, or contest performed under given rules, indoors or outdoors, on an individual or a team basis, with or without competition, but requiring skill and some form of physical exertion.

Some sports, such as hunting, fishing, running, and swimming, derive from the rhythms and work requirements of primitive everyday life. Some, such as riding, shooting, throwing the javelin, or archery derive from early military practices. Still others, like boxing, wrestling, and jumping, arose from the spontaneous challenges and occasional hostilities that accompany human interaction.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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