Rob Wood

Rob's Sports, Fitness & Science Blog

The (Almost) Complete List of Sports

February 24th, 2016 · No Comments · Sport

The list of all sports from around the world is a project I have been working on for quite a while. I have now listed and described over 700 sports. Once I started this project I realized that to cover every sport in the world was an impossible goal. I am confident that every major competitive sport has been covered, but there are many more minor and regional sports that I have either chosen not to include or I have not come across them as yet. If “your sport” is not listed, let me know.

As I progressed through my list, I regularly had to refer to my definition of what is a sport, and subsequently, a list of questionable sports was also made. The definition I used was that it was to be a human activity involving physical skill and exertion, governed by a set of rules or customs, and undertaken competitively and capable of achieving a result. Having said that, I still included a couple of these questionable sports on the list just to be thorough. For example, e-gaming is on the list despite failing to be a physical human activity, but is included as many people still class it as a sport. I similarly included the new sport of drone racing, it seems so sporty. Activities are not left off just because a motor or an animal does most of the work. Horse racing sports are on the list as they require a human rider with skill and fitness, but other animal races such as dog (greyhound) racing is not. You may not agree with all of them being there, there is definitely a grey area about what constitutes a sport.

Caber Toss
Caber tossing, one of the many sports from around the world

This list will continue to evolve. There are new sports being created every day. There is a place of visitors to this site to add their newly created sports. In order to make the main sports list, there need to be rules drawn up, a controlling body established and organized competitions held. Most will not get that far, but all sports have to start somewhere. Other sports are fading in popularity, and may need to move to my list of ancient and extinct sports. The ancient Olympic’s sport of Pankration is making a comeback in the guise of MMA. Pankration was like a combination of boxing and wrestling, the combatants were allowed to punch and kick, though biting and gouging an opponent’s eyes, nose, or mouth with fingernails was not allowed. Sound familiar?

One thing I did learn from creating this list is that there are many very similar sports created independently around the world, and also many variations of some sports. There are many sports that have been created using just a racket and ball. The world’s most popular sport, Association football (soccer), has numerous spin-off sports, with games played on ice, sand, and in swamps, while riding unicycles, bicycles, rollerskates, wheelchairs and motorcycles (though not all at once!). Combine a couple of sports, or change the surface, ball or way of moving, and another sport is born. This list is definitely not complete.

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