Running—Greece: Although humans have been engaging in long distance running to hunt down prey since the beginning of time, humans first ran as a competitive sport during the first Olympics in 776 B.C., when competitors raced down a 200-yard track.
Baseball—New Jersey: The Garden State is home to the first recorded home plates. In 1846, Alexander Cartwright’s Knickerbockers lost to the New York Baseball team during the first recorded baseball game. The sport’s popularity grew fast, as it eventually came to be known as the United States’ “national pastime.”
Tennis—France: Tennis was developed from the French pastime “Jeu de Paume,” or “game of the palm”. Players struck the ball with their hands and played indoors, where they could hit it off the walls.
Lacrosse—North America: Variations of lacrosse were first played by the American Indians and included heavy contact, netted sticks, and a ball that could not touch the hands of the participants. The oldest surviving sticks date back to the early 1900s.
Ice Hockey and Field Hockey—Ireland: Both of these sports have origins in the Irish sport Hurling, which was started over 3,000 years ago. In hurling, players use a wooden stick (called a hurley) to hit a baseball-like ball called a sliotar ball into a goal at either end of the field.
Basketball—Springfield, Massachusetts: YMCA teacher Dr. James Naismith invented basketball in 1892 to keep football players in shape during the winter. The game was originally played with teams of nine, and peach baskets were used as the hoops.
Soccer—England: The origins of soccer can be dated back to the 14th century in England. The game was originally very violent, and was banned by King Edward III in 1365. It is called soccer in the US, a name that originated as a slang term derived from “soc” in “association football,” which is its name in England.
Golf—Scotland: Modern-day golf was created in Scotland during the 15th century. The birthplace of golf is often considered to be the Old Course at St. Andrews.
Fencing—Spain: Fencing first appeared in Spain in the 14th century. It was spread around Europe through the various wars that Spain fought.