Exploring the World’s Oldest Sports

Have you ever wondered which sport is the oldest in the history of mankind? There are a few unique sports that stand out from the rest as being the most historical around. Read on to discover them for yourself!

#1: Wrestling

The world’s oldest sport by far is wrestling. Unlike many of the other sports that you will read about below, this one has documented proof of being the oldest of its kind. Archaeologists have found fragments of papyrus scrolls in Egypt dating back to 200 AD that offer guides on how to fight.

These Greek scrolls have been translated many times, and essentially revolve around the term ‘pleckson’, or how to ‘battle it out’. Wrestling also featured in the Olympics as long ago as 800-1,200 BC, and is still an Olympic sport today, as well as being a complete career on its own.

#2: Long Jumping and Running

Both running and long jumping are extremely old sports, especially since they are both easily accessible and require no equipment. During the first ever Olympics in Athens in 776 BCE, running was the only recorded competitive sport.

However, competitive running actually dates back to 1829 BCE! Long jumping is just as old according to experts, and persists as an Olympic sport to this day.

#3: Javelin and Discus Throwing

Javelin and discus throwing are two ancient sports that featured in some of the very first Olympic games. The first recorded instance of their use as competitive games dates back to 708 BC, but it was only in 1870 when the poles currently used for javelin throwing were introduced in Germany and Sweden, revolutionising the industry.

Both sports were reintroduced to modern Olympic games in 1906, and in 1932, they were also added to the roster for the Women’s Olympics.

#4: Polo

Polo is traditionally played in a team on horseback. Similar to hockey, the objective here is for the two teams involved to outscore one another by hitting a small wooden ball through a series of goal posts.

Polo dates back to the peak of the Persian Empire (around 316 AD), where Persian emperors would regularly ride horses and eventually developed the practice that would later become known as an official sport. Nowadays, most fans of horse-related sports simply enjoy tote betting online instead!

#5: Boxing

It should come as no surprise that boxing is one of the world’s oldest and most iconic combat sports. Nowadays, much of boxing is staged for entertainment purposes, but back in 2,000 BC, the sport of ‘fist fighting’ with protection was well known among ancient people.

Even the Romans had rudimentary boxing gear that they wrapped around their hands to prevent injury. Later in the 1600s, England introduced rules to govern ‘bar-knuckle fighting’, including a 30 second count rule and another that forbade participants from hitting their rivals while they were down. Amateur boxing was added to the Olympics in 1908.

#6: Gymnastics

Gymnastics date back to ancient Greek times, and its training techniques were originally used to train military soldiers for battle. Modern gymnastics, on the other hand, arose during the 18th century when two educators from Germany created special equipment for children to train with.

The International Gymnastics Federation was later established in 1891, allowing both men and women to take part on a competitive level.

#7: Soccer

According to FIFA, football and soccer have been around in various forms since 300 BC at least. Plenty of matches involving balls took place across Europe during medieval times, and many of them were very similar to modern football.

In 10th century England, a game called ‘mob football’ came into being, although it had very few true rules to govern it. Eventually, English colleges began developing codes of conduct and rules for the pastime, and the modern game of soccer was born in the mid 1800s.