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Sports and Community

Sport pertains to any form of physical activity or game,[1] often competitive and organized, that aims to use, maintain, or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases, entertainment to spectators.


[2] Sports can, through casual or organized participation, improve participants' physical health. Hundreds of sports exist, from those between single contestants, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals. In certain sports such as racing, many contestants may compete, simultaneously or consecutively, with one winner; in others, the contest (a match) is between two sides, each attempting to exceed the other. Some sports allow a "tie" or "draw", in which there is no single winner; others provide tie-breaking methods to ensure one winner.


A number of contests may be arranged in a tournament producing a champion. Many sports leagues make an annual champion by arranging games in a regular sports season, followed in some cases by playoffs.


Sport is generally recognised as system of activities based in physical athleticism or physical dexterity, with major competitions such as the Olympic Games admitting only sports meeting this definition.[3] Other organisations, such as the Council of Europe, preclude activities without a physical element from classification as sports.[2]


However, a number of competitive, but non-physical, activities claim recognition as mind sports. The International Olympic Committee (through ARISF) recognises both chess and bridge as bona fide sports, and SportAccord, the international sports federation association, recognises five non-physical sports: bridge, chess, draughts (checkers), Go and xiangqi,[4][5] and limits the number of mind games which can be admitted as sports.


Sport is usually governed by a set of rules or customs, which serve to ensure fair competition, and allow consistent adjudication of the winner. Winning can be determined by physical events such as scoring goals or crossing a line first. It can also be determined by judges who are scoring elements of the sporting performance, including objective or subjective measures such as technical performance or artistic impression.


Records of performance are often kept, and for popular sports, this information may be widely announced or reported in sport news. Sport is also a major source of entertainment for non-participants, with spectator sport drawing large crowds to sport venues, and reaching wider audiences through broadcasting. Sport betting is in some cases severely regulated, and in some cases is central to the sport.


According to A.T. Kearney, a consultancy, the global sporting industry is worth up to $620 billion as of 2013.[6] The world's most accessible and practised sport is running, while association football is the most popular spectator sport.[7]


Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship is an attitude that strives for fair play, courtesy toward teammates and opponents, ethical behaviour and integrity, and grace in victory or defeat.[21][22][23]

Sportsmanship expresses an aspiration or ethos that the activity will be enjoyed for its own sake. The well-known sentiment by sports journalist Grantland Rice, that it is "not that you won or lost but how you played the game", and the modern Olympic creed expressed by its founder Pierre de Coubertin: "The most important thing... is not winning but taking part" are typical expressions of this sentiment.


Cheating

Key principles of sport include that the result should not be predetermined, and that both sides should have equal opportunity to win. Rules are in place to ensure fair play, but participants can break these rules in order to gain advantage.


Participants may cheat in order to unfairly increase their chance of winning, or in order to achieve other advantages such as financial gains. The widespread existence of gambling on the results of sports events creates a motivation for match fixing, where a participant or participants deliberately work to ensure a given outcome rather than simply playing to win.


Doping and drugs

The competitive nature of sport encourages some participants to attempt to enhance their performance through the use of medicines, or through other means such as increasing the volume of blood in their bodies through artificial means.


All sports recognised by the IOC or SportAccord are required to implement a testing programme, looking for a list of banned drugs, with suspensions or bans being placed on participants who test positive for banned substances.


Violence

Violence in sports involves crossing the line between fair competition and intentional aggressive violence. Athletes, coaches, fans, and parents sometimes unleash violent behaviour on people or property, in misguided shows of loyalty, dominance, anger, or celebration. Rioting or hooliganism by fans in particular is a problem at some national and international sporting contests.


Gender participation

International level female athletes at ISTAF Berlin, 2006

Female participation in sports continues to rise alongside the opportunity for involvement and the value of sports for child development and physical fitness. Despite increases in female participation during the last three decades, a gap persists in the enrolment figures between male and female players in sports-related teams. Female players account for 39% of the total participation in US interscholastic athletics.


Certain sports are mixed-gender, allowing (or even requiring) men and women to play on the same team. One example of this is Baseball5, which is the first mixed-gender sport to have been admitted into an Olympic event.[24]


Youth participation

Youth sport presents children with opportunities for fun, socialisation, forming peer relationships, physical fitness, and athletic scholarships. Activists for education and the war on drugs encourage youth sport as a means to increase educational participation and to fight the illegal drug trade. According to the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, the biggest risk for youth sport is death or serious injury including concussion. These risks come from running, basketball, association football, volleyball, gridiron, gymnastics, and ice hockey.[25] Youth sport in the US is a $15 billion industry including equipment up to private coaching.


Disabled participation

A runner gives a friendly tap on the shoulder to a wheelchair racer during the Marathon International de Paris (Paris Marathon) in 2014.


Disabled sports also adaptive sports or parasports, are sports played by people with a disability, including physical and intellectual disabilities. As many of these are based on existing sports modified to meet the needs of people with a disability, they are sometimes referred to as adapted sports. However, not all disabled sports are adapted; several sports that have been specifically created for people with a disability have no equivalent in able-bodied sports.


Spectator involvement

Spectators at the 1906 unofficial Olympic Games

The competition element of sport, along with the aesthetic appeal of some sports, result in the popularity of people attending to watch sport being played. This has led to the specific phenomenon of spectator sport.


Both amateur and professional sports attract spectators, both in person at the sport venue, and through broadcast media including radio, television and internet broadcast. Both attendance in person and viewing remotely can incur a sometimes substantial charge, such as an entrance ticket, or pay-per-view television broadcast. Sports league and tournament are two common arrangements to organise sport teams or individual athletes into competing against each other continuously or periodically.


It is common for popular sports to attract large broadcast audiences, leading to rival broadcasters bidding large amounts of money for the rights to show certain events. The football World Cup attracts a global television audience of hundreds of millions; the 2006 final alone attracted an estimated worldwide audience of well over 700 million and the 2011 Cricket World Cup Final attracted an estimated audience of 135 million in India alone.[27]

In the United States, the championship game of the NFL, the Super Bowl, has become one of the most watched television broadcasts of the year.[28][29] Super Bowl Sunday is a de facto national holiday in America;[30][31] the viewership being so great that in 2015, advertising space was reported as being sold at $4.5m for a 30-second slot.[28]

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