Depictions of sporting activities such as archery, swimming, wrestling, and weightlifting are found in cave drawings and documents of ancient civilizations across the globe. But it is the Greeks who are credited with bringing organized sport tournaments to the masses.
The first recorded Olympic Games occurred in 776 BC, although it is thought that the games had run for several hundred years before then. Those games featured running, chariot races, boxing, wrestling, and displays of skill with the javelin, discus, and archery. The first recorded sporting event for women came shortly afterward, with the Heraean Games - named in honor of the goddess Hera - taking place in the 6th century BC. Not much is known about these games, but it is thought that rather than combat and weaponry, they would have focused on running races of various distances.
What about ball games?
Team and ball games have also been evident throughout ancient civilizations as far back as the Aztecs. But soccer as we know it is thought to have developed in England in the 12th century. It was sculpted into the modern game in the 19th century, with the first documented international game occurring in 1872 between Scotland and England. American football can trace its roots back to both soccer and rugby, both of English origin, but the first American football game was played in the US in 1869 between Rutgers and Princeton Universities. They used a variation on the rules laid down by the London Football Association.
Ice Hockey also has its origins in England before the Canadians shaped it with the rules we play by today. The first official game was played in Montreal in 1875. Lacrosse, however, is a game that originates on the North American continent and was played throughout Native American history.