Sports & Recreation

Physical contests and recreational games have long played a part in human society. In both team and solo sports, the human body has been pushed to its limits in the name of improving athletic performance and to break record upon record. The ancient Olympic Games are an early example of the contests in which humans have engaged to showcase physical prowess. In modern times, sports and games have evolved into a lucrative and competitive industry, while other leisure activities, such as card and video games, can be competitive or can just be a way to unwind or socialize.
Browse Subcategories

Featured content, June 01, 2020

Olympics: Football (Soccer)
The women’s and men’s medal matches at the Rio Games are played on August 19 and 20, respectively.
Spotlight / Sports & Recreation
Chelsea's German player Michael Ballack (R) watched by Hull City's Dutch player George Boateng during the Premier League football match between Chelsea and Hull City at Stamford Bridge in London, England on Aug. 15, 2009. 2010 FIFA World Cup Soccer 2010
10 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time
Check out the best baseballers ever!
List / Sports & Recreation
Baseball laying in the grass. Homepage blog 2010, arts and entertainment, history and society, sports and games athletics
Why Do Tennis Players Wear White at Wimbledon?
Players at the prestigious Wimbledon Championships always wear white clothing. Why is that?
Demystified / Sports & Recreation
Rafael Nadal of Spain returns ball during second round match against Robin Haase of the Netherlands at Wimbledon in London, England on June 24, 2010
Olympics: A Survey of Banned Substances
Learn about the major groups of substances on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List.
Companion / Sports & Recreation
Doping in sport concept, olympic
Gridiron football
Gridiron football, version of the sport of football so named for the vertical yard lines marking the rectangular field. Gridiron…
Encyclopedia / Sports & Recreation
Walter Camp.
Basketball
Basketball, game played between two teams of five players each on a rectangular court, usually indoors. Each team tries to…
Encyclopedia / Sports & Recreation
March Madness
Online gaming
Online gaming, electronic game playing over a computer network, particularly over the Internet. Electronic game worlds have…
Encyclopedia / Sports & Recreation
Screen from World of Warcraft, a “massively multiplayer” online game (MMOG).
Chess
Chess, one of the oldest and most popular board games, played by two opponents on a checkered board with specially designed…
Encyclopedia / Sports & Recreation
Figure 1: Position of chessmen at the beginning of a game. They are queen's rook (QR), queen's knight (QN), queen's bishop (QB), queen (Q), king (K), king's bishop (KB), king's knight (KN), king's rook (KR); the chessmen in front of these pieces are the pawns.

Sports & Recreation Quizzes

Surfers balance on surfboards as they ride a breaking wave.
Physical Education: Fact or Fiction?
Is the high jump a type of dance? In bicycling, does BMX stand for "backward motion, extra strong?" Sort through the facts…
Men jumping hurdles (track sport; athletics; athlete)
Let’s Move: Fact or Fiction?
Is the length of a standard outdoor track 1 kilometer? Is there any competitive sport without rules? Sort through facts about…
Billiards. Woman playing pool game.
Sports Culture: Fact or Fiction?
In football (soccer), can goalies always use their hands? From billiards to polo, use your head in this study of sports and…
Auto racing. Formula One. F1. FIA Formula One World Championship. A race car on the track at Nurburgring, a motorsports complex in Nurburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.
Sports Authority: Fact or Fiction?
Did Ernie Banks play both shortstop and first base? Did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar invent the skyhook? From curling to kite fights,…
2:054-55 Baseball: How Pitchers Fool Batters, pitcher pitches the ball to the batter, batter swings, umpire and catcher behind him
This or That?: American League vs. National League
Does your favorite team play for the AL or NL? Test your baseball league knowledge with this quiz.
Miyamoto Musashi. An actor playing Mukojima Miyamoto Musashi (artist, soldier, samurai, swordsman, ronin) in a Kabuki play. Woodcut, color; 36.4 x 24.8 cm., 1852. Signed: Ichiy-sai Kuniyoshi. Ukiyo-e Japanese woodblock printing. (see notes)
Swords: Fact or Fiction?
Are all swords made of metal? What’s a "pommel"? Test your knowledge of swords with this quiz.
Assorted sports balls including a basketball, football, soccer ball, tennis ball, baseball and others.
American Sports Nicknames
Do you know "The Mailman" from "The Admiral"? Test your knowledge of nicknames from American sports.
Gouda, The Netherlands - July 5th, 2015: Tour de France 2015, stage 2, 166km from Utrecht to Zelande. The Peloton at Gouda
Tour de France: Fact or Fiction?
How much do you know about the Tour de France? Race through this quiz to test your knowledge.
MASON, OH - AUGUST 17: Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a backhand against Mardy Fish during day seven of the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 17, 2012 in Mason, Ohio
Wimbledon
Tennis, anyone? Test your knowledge of the infamous championship with this quiz.
Girl on a balance beam. Gymnastics. Sports
Gymnastics: Fact or Fiction?
Are you a gymnast or a fan of the gymnastic arts? Test your knowledge of Olympic events, Saltos, and more with this quiz.
Image Gallery
Sports & Recreation
Never Miss a Day in History
Sign up for daily fun facts about this day in history, updates, and special offers delivered right to your inbox.

Sports & Recreation Subcategories

subcategory placeholder Football
Although baseball has traditionally been seen as America’s national pastime, gridiron football has made its own indelible impact on the American sports landscape. Decades of informal, student-organized collegiate games ultimately gave rise to a thriving college football scene and to the hugely popular professional version of the game. Despite early and continued concerns about the game’s violence, gridiron football eventually became the United States’ leading spectator sport, and it has achieved a degree of international popularity through television.
Articles
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    American football team
  • Green Bay Packers
    American football team
  • Tom Brady
    American football player
  • Babe Ruth Baseball
    Although the United States can be credited with developing several popular sports that were adopted internationally, it is baseball that Americans have traditionally recognized as the “national pastime.” Baseball’s early history was interwoven with and reflective of major social and cultural cleavages, but the sport also proved to possess great unifying power, as the experience of playing, watching, and talking about baseball became one of the nation’s great common denominators. Additionally, we have baseball to thank (or point fingers at) for the continued status of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” as one of the best-known songs among Americans.
    Articles
  • Babe Ruth
    American baseball player
  • Johnny Bench
    American baseball player
  • Ichiro Suzuki
    Japanese baseball player
  • Johnson, Magic Basketball
    Basketball, game played between two teams of five players each on a rectangular court, usually indoors. Each team tries to score by tossing the ball through the opponent’s goal, an elevated horizontal hoop and net called a basket.
    Articles
  • Stephen Curry
    American basketball player
  • Golden State Warriors
    American basketball team
  • Sheryl Swoopes
    American basketball player
  • subcategory placeholder Hockey
    Ice hockey, game between two teams, each usually having six players, who wear skates and compete on an ice rink. The object is to propel a vulcanized rubber disk, the puck, past a goal line and into a net guarded by a goaltender, or goalie. With its speed and its frequent physical contact, ice hockey has become one of the most popular of international sports.
    Articles
  • Sidney Crosby
    Canadian ice hockey player
  • Jaromir Jagr
    Czech hockey player
  • Stanley Cup
    ice hockey trophy
  • Lloyd, Carli Soccer
    Football, also called association football or soccer, game in which two teams of 11 players, using any part of their bodies except their hands and arms, try to maneuver the ball into the opposing team’s goal. Only the goalkeeper is permitted to handle the ball and may do so only within the penalty area surrounding the goal. The team that scores more goals wins.
    Articles
  • Carli Lloyd
    American association football player
  • Lionel Messi
    Argentine-born football player
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
    Portuguese football player
  • subcategory placeholder Olympic Sports
    Olympic Games, athletic festival that originated in ancient Greece and was revived in the late 19th century. Before the 1970s the Games were officially limited to competitors with amateur status, but in the 1980s many events were opened to professional athletes. Currently, the Games are open to all, even the top professional athletes in basketball and football (soccer).
    Articles
  • Torvill and Dean
    English figure skaters
  • Gymnastics
  • Michael Phelps
    American swimmer
  • subcategory placeholder Games, Hobbies & Recreational Activities
    This general category includes a selection of more specific topics.
    Articles
  • Gardening
    art and science
  • Fishing
    recreation
  • Bridge
    card game
  • subcategory placeholder Other Sports
    This general category includes a selection of more specific topics.
    Articles
  • Twenty20 cricket
    sport
  • Danica Patrick
    American race car driver
  • Softball
    sport
  • Your preference has been recorded
    Check out Britannica's new site for parents!
    Subscribe Today!