Sports refer to games played by athletes. The definition of sports varies from culture to culture. Some cultures place an emphasis on the aesthetic value of play. Others place an emphasis on quantitative performance. A common distinction is between recreational sports and competitive sports. Recreational sports are those in which athletes compete to improve their physical performance. Athletes train systematically to maximize their physical capacity.
Many countries have distinct national sports. However, they share certain characteristics. For example, some countries are more competitive in sports than others. Many of these nations are divided by geography. The United States, Russia, Australia and South Korea are among the core sports world. The other countries are considered to be semiperipheral. In the case of rugby, a sport’s success is a measure of its nationhood.
Sport has a strong history of shaping national identity. Some argue that the association between sports and nationalism goes deeper than patriotism. In fact, some countries have even accused sports of being chauvinistic or xenophobic, pointing to the existence of football hooligans. On the other hand, sports have also played a role in liberal nationalist political movements. For example, the 19th century Slavic gymnastics movement, known as the Falcon, and gymnastic clubs in northern Europe played a key role in national liberation movements.
In the modern world, sports have become economically interdependent with mass media. The media coverage of sports events is crucial to the growth of professional sports. It is also essential to the development and evolution of sports culture.