Throughout human history, sports have fulfilled a fundamental human need. They offer influential representations of communities and individuals. They also help individuals to develop life skills. Sports can also contribute to the formation of national identity.
Sports were initially developed to provide a competitive physical challenge. They evolved into organized games that replaced traditional pastimes. These new games were invented according to specifications.
As the 20th century dawned, sports underwent social and spatial diffusion. The emergence of cosmopolitan cultures and a global economy changed the nature of sports. Nations were grouped into core and peripheral blocs based on politics, culture, and economics.
Sports were a popular way for outsider groups to construct a national identity. For example, the 19th century Slavic gymnastics movement, the Sokol, was a prominent example. The gymnastic clubs were also involved in the struggle for independence from Austria.
Athletes trained systematically to maximize physical capacity. The sport was often a social activity for young people. They socialized with other athletes and learned desirable behaviors.
After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, state-sponsored elite sports in eastern Europe were severely diminished. Western European nations began to emulate their eastern European athletic rivals. These nations began building large training centres for elite athletes and subsidized them.
The advent of modern sports began in the late seventeenth century in England. The concept of a sports record was first developed in England.
Sports have become increasingly marketed as signs of distinction, prestige, and power. They have also contributed to the development of liberal nationalist political struggles.