History of Sports Tourism

It is his insatiable appetite and a fiery passion to win physical competitions demanding strength, speed and skill that has lured man to organize sports meets dating far back into history.


These sports meets invited massive viewership response. Enthusiasts travelled on foot, horse backs and horse drawn carriages from one corner of a country to another to witness the battle among athletes, wrestlers and sportsmen in the competition arenas. History says that during the reign Roman Emperors, competitive sports was held and enjoyed in the amphitheatres by the nobility and the commoners as well. The competitions were brutal and ruthless and basically culminated in a bloodbath to the loud applause of the spectators overwhelmed by a delirium of frenzy. Gladiators were trapped in win or die fights. Strong and valiant men were confined within enclosures and made to fight with unequal opponents where the most popular choice was either a hungry lion or a tiger. The second option was a raging bull with a bundle of power and ferocity packed in!

The strong crowd of spectators with a competitive mood cheered on, the drums beat in collective concert and the champion emerged. It was his day, and the rewards were usually a wreath of olive foliage weaved together.

If we travel back in time, the immense popularity of sports and competitions based upon physical power was a plain reality. It drew huge masses of enthusiasts, and the events received royal patronage. The winner wore a halo of glory, and the loser was slipped into doom and disappointment. But, the competitions continued inspiring more and more visitors to participate or to watch the exciting spectacle.


The Olympics, known has the greatest show on earth has indeed a chequered history. The colossal sporting event capturing the strongest, the fastest and the highest was started by Heracles, son of Zeus, the mythological Greek god. The first Olympic was held way back in 776 BC. Amid a throng of spectators, a naked runner named Coroebus who was a cook from a place called Elis won the race to a dramatic applause around. He covered approximately a distance of 192 meters, and his win made him the first Olympic champion. The legendary competition ran at a stretch for approximately 1200 years jumping every 4 years in between. However, Olympics faced an embargo when the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, who was a Christian by faith, banned the games for some reason connected with the religion.

The spectacular sporting event grinded to a halt only to be revived by a French aristocrat, Pierre De Coubertin, around 1500 years later. Since then till this date, the wheel of Olympics has been running nonstop. There had been terrorist assaults, and the game had witnessed massacre of athletes. But the spirit of The Olympics has neither been defeated nor its extreme worldwide popularity among visitors, tourists and sports enthusiasts reduced.

Similarly, the World Cup Soccer tournament has a rich history. It was started in 1930 in Uruguay as the host nation when the president of FIFA, Jules Rimet made up his mind to hold a World Cup football tournament among different football playing nations. The tournament was a massive hit expanding over the years opening its portal to invite more and more competing nations. This tournament is held every four years and known as FIFA World cup which was formerly known as Jules Rimet cup. It has become immensely popular over the years producing prodigies like Pele, Maradona and Messi, and has attracted millions of frenzied tourists and soccer fans bitten by the soccer passion bug.

Olympic and World Cup Soccer history is a clear indication that sports tourism was very much in existence in the past with an intense ardor and love for the darling athletes and participating nations.

Dr Prem Jagyasi (c)

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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