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What is the Oldest Sport?

Obviously, Not Cricket and Football!

Related Questions

Isn’t learning about the oldest sport the absolute most fun thing? If you ask the youth or adults interested in sports, you will hear their views on most modern Western culture-inspired sports. For instance, cricket, lawn tennis, football, and similar. But only a handful of people know when the sporting contests evolved. At the same time, many Ancient Greek sporting games have a history associated with the ancient Olympics. So we are sure you don’t know about them. 

Unknown to many, the first polo club was established in 1862 under the British Empire, and its name was Calcutta Polo Club. Surprising to many, the world’s first polo club is still in existence. Consequently, track and field were invented in 776 BC. And hence, simple running races were introduced at the Ancient Olympics. So if you want to learn in-depth info on the same, we suggest checking out the earliest Greek writings. 

Such an experience where people can easily speak about modern-day sports is common. However, what’s rare these days is when someone talks about the scenarios that take you virtually to the British Empire era. How about the idea of learning about the other early race types and the history of elite training matches in boxing? What about the less competitive leisure sports nominated for the Olympics in the 19th century? 

This article will talk about some of the oldest sports globally that no one talks about. By the end of this article, you will have a great understanding of the oldest document sports. Let’s get started!

How Fascinating is the Ancient History of Oldest Sports in the World? 

Various sports in the world are still even played today. Unknown to many, their history dates back thousands of years ago. For example, the javelin throw was a part of the early Olympics in 708 BC. Consequently, running competition has a history from Ancient Greece from 776 BC. 

Furthermore, the documented evidence of a few sports like chariot racing dates back to 700 BC in Ancient Greece time. In a nutshell, one can learn a lot about the oldest documented sports in the world. 

Most of the competitive contests in sports have their roots in distinct parts of the world like Rome, England, America, and France. Lastly, a handful of the world’s ancient sports are still practiced and played even in Olympic Games. Continue reading to learn about the same in detail because you will explore the unexplored history and stories of the various team sports. 

What is the Oldest Sport in the World?

What is the Oldest Sport in the World?
What is the Oldest Sport in the World?

There are dozens of oldest sports globally, not one or two or three. For example, Gymnastics dates back to 500 BCE in Ancient Greece. Mesoamerican Ballgame in 2500 BCE. Simultaneously, elaborate funeral games have roots in ancient Rome in 264 BCE. In addition, chariot races were a hugely popular sport played in ancient Rome. 

You have got the idea of the bunch of oldest sports globally by now. We will try to include as much as ancient sports and their stories in the further write-up. To be more specific, we will give you an overview of the oldest sports of England, the Winter Olympics, America, and more! 

Let’s dive in!

What’s the Oldest Sport in America?

What's the Oldest Sport in America?
What’s the Oldest Sport in America?

Different people have distinct answers to this. But the majority believe Lacrosse is the oldest sport in America. The native Americans played it in 1636. You can trace about the same in the Washington Post. Lately, in the 18th century, basketball games were on the sports radar. As a result, baseball got hugely popular in the 19th century, and till now, it has been one of the most played sports of modern-day sports. 

What is the Oldest Professional Sport?

What is the Oldest Professional Sport?
What is the Oldest Professional Sport?

The documented evidence suggests that wrestling is the oldest pro-documented sport if you talk globally. Its history dates back to 15,000 years. Some say it was developed under the Roman Empire. A few believe it was the Greek Empire under which wrestling rose to prominence.

On the flip side, if you ask about the oldest professional sport on American soil, it is baseball. It was one of the first professional team sports introduced in America. Moreover, the sports history books in American libraries depict Major League Basketball; baseball is one of the oldest professional sports. The best bet? They were recently introduced to Olympic sports in the early and late 19th century. 

What is the Oldest Sport in the Winter Olympics?

What is the Oldest Sport in the Winter Olympics?
What is the Oldest Sport in the Winter Olympics?

Let’s give you a hint – the oldest sport in the Winter Olympics requires freestyle movements of jumps and footwork gracefully. Can you guess it? Okay, let us give you another hint – the snowy surface in the playground. Now easy for you? You guessed it right, Figure Skating is the oldest sport in the Winter Olympics. 

What Do You Mean By Winter Olympics?

What Do You Mean By Winter Olympics?
What Do You Mean By Winter Olympics?

Winter Olympics translates to major international multi-sport events practiced on the snow surface. It is held once every four years and displays the winter version of the Olympics to the extreme. The world’s first Winter Olympics was played in 1924 in France’s Commune – Chamonix. Currently, 15 sports are under the Winter Olympic umbrella, including freestyle skiing, Bobsleigh, snowboarding events, etc. 

What is the Oldest Sport in England?

What is the Oldest Sport in England?
What is the Oldest Sport in England?

To your surprise, cricket is not the oldest sport in England. This is the most common notion about the oldest sports in England for the right reasons. Most of the time, we see news of the cricket invented in England in the 17th century. But unknown to many, Polo in England has its roots in 600 B.C. Lately, English football rose on the radar in the 17th century, along with the cricket games. 

What is the Oldest Sports Trophy in the World?

People keen on horse riding must have heard about the Carlisle Bells. It is the horse racing trophy dating back to 559 and 1599. Elizabeth first awarded it for the race run in Cumbria, United Kingdom. 

On the other hand, there are many if you ask about America’s oldest international sporting trophies. For example – Stanley Cup and America’s Cup date back to the 18th century. 

What Are Famous Oldest Sports in the World


The Sumerian civilization has traces of boxing and its origin story. Boxing was supposed to be invented in 3000 BCE. And hence, it is labeled the oldest document sport by many people. Since its inception, only two players have been allowed to play. But there was no gloves concept during that era. Lately, in the 23rd Olympiad in 688 BCE, boxing was introduced to the Olympics. Plus, leather gloves were added to the boxer’s arsenal. 


This family sport is now significant in the world. Two teams have competed against each other since the game’s inception until now. One can trace the history of Hockey in 1363 from Edward III of England’s proclamation. However, few documented events support that hockey was mentioned in 600 BC in several Ancient Greece paintings. In modern-day sports, hockey is one of the best sports. 

Horse Riding

It is no brainer to understand that horse riding was also one of the earliest commute methods. From kings to their soldiers, they used horses to commute. Lately, it has become popular as a sport. If you look at the earliest textual traditions, you will find Ancient Greek and Ancient Rome are fascinated with horse riding. And hence, horse riding is a famous Ancient Greek sport. 


This is another oldest documented sport but not a team sport. Plus, it is touted to be the oldest Olympic sport. Gymnastics is all about balance, physical endurance, and agility, and many people believe the Greeks conceptualized it. This sport was nominated in 1896 to be a part of the modern Olympics. 


There was no strong evidence of the history when Polo was invented. Still, many believe it has its history from 316 AD. People first played polo under the Persian empire. Lately, it has become a popular sport in Asia as well. During the heydays of the British Empire, Polo became very famous in India. 


This is another very early sport that has history from France to 15,300 years ago! Even during its heydays, this sport requires no equipment. But browse the earliest evidence on running a contest. You will find sprinting/running dates back to half a million years ago! The foot race held in the Olympics in 776 BCE was an iconic move. 

Final Words – What is the oldest sport?

Whether you engage yourself in modern sports or not, it’s a great idea to educate yourself about the oldest documented sports. Let us know if you want to learn about decade-specific ancient sports. We will try to craft the article on the same. 

Also, not all the sports, even in ancient times, were for the team. In a nutshell, a few competitive sports require no team. For example, running, Javelin, etc. Whether it belongs to ancient Greeks or any other region, any competitive sport had a series of transformations in each decade. 

Lastly, we have also taken references from the internet. So we don’t take any accountability for the ancient sport dates listed.

Written by:
Editor-in-Chief and lead author at WhyDo