Team sport

Cricket is a popular team sport played at international level
Ice hockey is the most popular winter team sport
Based on the number of participating athletes, bandy is the second most popular winter sport in the world[1]

A team sport includes any sport which involves two or more players working together towards a shared objective. A team sport is an activity in which individuals are organized into opposing teams which compete to win. Examples are basketball, volleyball, water polo, handball, lacrosse, cricket, baseball, and the various forms of football and hockey.


Team sports are practiced between opposing teams, where the players interact directly and simultaneously between them to achieve an objective. The objective generally involves teammates facilitating the movement of a ball or similar object in accordance with a set of rules, in order to score points.

However, other types of team sports do not involve teammates facilitating the movement of a ball or similar item in accordance with a set of rules, in order to score points. For example, swimming, rowing, sailing, dragon boat racing, and track and field among others are also team sports.[2] In other types of team sports there may not be an opposing team or point scoring, for example, mountaineering. Instead of points scored against an opposing team, the relative difficulty of the climb or walk is the measure of the achievement.

In some sports where participants are entered by a team, they do not only compete against members of other teams but also against each other for points towards championship standings. For example, motorsport, particularly Formula One. In cycling however, team members whilst still in competition with each other, will also work towards assisting one, usually a specialist, member of the team to the highest possible finishing position. This process is known as team orders and although previously accepted was banned in Formula One[3] between 2002 and 2010. After a controversy involving team orders at the 2010 German Grand Prix however, the regulation was removed as of the 2011 season.[4]


Main article: History of sport

Sprinting as a team sport has ancient history of several thousand years as evidenced in the engravings on the cave in Lascaux in France which depicts people running after animals or vice versa; this was an issue of survival of the fittest.[5]

Ancient Greek wrestlers
Rock paintings of humans in the cave of swimmers

Organized sports in athletics, started in Greece in 796 BC, is recorded up to 393 BC. These games, which are Olympic games, were a form to test the skills of warriors, consisted of running, jumping or leaping, wrestling (combat sport), and javelin throw. [6] In the Bayankhongor Province of Mongolia cave paintings dating back to Neolithic age of 7000 BC depict a wrestling match surrounded by crowds.[7] Cave paintings of the Prehistoric times in Japan show a sport similar to sumo wrestling.[8] In Wadi Sura, near Gilf Kebir in Libya, Neolithic in the cave of swimmers shows evidence of swimming in a rock painting and archery being practiced around 6000 BC.[9]

The name "athletes" is derived from Aethelius, the King of Elis in Olympia, Greece. The practice of carrying flaming torches by young athletes is also traced to the King of Elis, under whose super vision the games were held; it is claimed by some Historians as the first record of Olympic Sprint racing. Before the start of the races gods were invoked by offering of mostly fruits and vegetables. The winner of the race was crowned with a wreath of olive or laurel and cereal sticks were offered as a trophy. In subsequent years monetary attractions were introduced as prize money. However, the practice of offering celery sticks is still in vogue in the 100 m sprint in the Olympics.[6]

The present pattern of Olympic Games is akin to the practice followed in the ancient days. Sprint was the coveted event. The 200 m sprint is known in Greek as "short foot race". The 400 m race is equivalent to two stades and called Diaulos in Greek.[6]

Late 20th and early 21st centuries

With the advent of computer gaming and the Internet, Esports which is in vogue for quite a few years was recorded in October 1972 as a video game. A Space war tournament was organized by Stanford University which was titled "Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics" with a prize offering of one-year subscription to Rolling Stone.[10]

Olympic team sports

Seven team sports are currently on the program of the Summer Olympics. Cricket's inclusion in the 2024 Summer Olympics depends on the decision of the International Cricket Council and its members.[11] A cricket tournament formed part of the Summer Olympics in 1900, although only one match was played, between teams representing Great Britain and France. However, the British team was effectively a club touring side and the French players were drawn partly from expatriates living in Paris.[12]

Ice hockey and curling are team sports at the Winter Olympics together with the bobsleigh competition where the men's event has classes for both two-man and four-man sleds, but the women's class is restricted to two persons only.[13]

All Olympic team sports include competitions for both men and women.

Sport Men Women
First edition Editions First edition Editions
Rugby sevens at the Summer Olympics Rio de Janeiro 2016 1 Rio de Janeiro 2016 1
Football at the Summer Olympics Paris 1900 25 Atlanta 1996 5
Field hockey at the Summer Olympics London 1908 21 Moscow 1980 8
Basketball at the Summer Olympics Berlin 1936 17 Montreal 1976 9
Volleyball at the Summer Olympics Tokyo 1964 12 Tokyo 1964 12
Handball at the Summer Olympics Berlin 1936 11 Montreal 1976 9
Water polo at the Summer Olympics Paris 1900 26 Sydney 2000 4
Ice hockey at the Winter Olympics Chamonix 1924 21 Nagano 1998 4
Curling at the Winter Olympics Chamonix 1924 5 Nagano 1998 4
Bobsleigh at the Winter Olympics Chamonix 1924 24 Salt Lake 2002 4

See also


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Team sports.
Look up team sport in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
  1. Bandy versus the 50 Olympic Winter Games Disciplines
  2. Baofu 2014, p. 202.
  3. 2008 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations
  4. 2010 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations
  5. Barber 2006, p. 25.
  6. 1 2 3 Barber 2006, p. 26.
  7. Hartsell, Jeff. "Wrestling 'in our blood". Bulldogs' Luvsandor. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  8. Robert Crego (2003). Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th Centuries. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 34–. ISBN 978-0-313-31610-4. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  9. Győző Vörös (2007). Egyptian Temple Architecture: 100 Years of Hungarian Excavations in Egypt, 1907–2007. American Univ in Cairo Press. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-963-662-084-4. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  10. Hiltscher & Scholz 2015, p. 9.
  11. "Cricket edges closer to Olympic roster". AFP. 11 February 2010. Archived from the original on 15 August 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  12. "Cricket at the 1900 Paris Summer Games". Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  13. "BOBSLEIGH". International Olympic Committee. 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
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