Sports are activities in which people actively participate and compete against one another. They provide physical exercise and improve mental health. They can also form social bonds. Some sports require skill, and others may involve competition with other teams. Some activities, such as dance, are considered a sport. Other activities include fishing, cheerleading, and motorsports.
Sports are played in many countries around the world, from the United States to China. In the early twentieth century, international sport organizations began to spread across borders and cultures. Sports tended to be dominated by Western countries, but Soviet-bloc nations were outcompeting Western nations for a period of time. These countries eventually developed state-sponsored programs in their respective sports.
As a result, sports and mass media became increasingly interdependent. Without billion-dollar broadcast rights and saturation in sports pages, professional sports would not be possible. There are few other cultural forms that can attract billions of viewers. In addition, the development of new technologies and market growth has shaped the relationship between mass media and sports.
Though no one knows when sports started, they have been a part of human play since ancient times. Various ancient cultures, including the Chinese and Aztecs, had ball games as part of their rituals and contests. In ancient Greece, ball games were considered sport, and were even recommended by the Greek physician Galen as a way to improve health.