Following on from what I've just scanned through in the curling thread, where it is suggested that curling isn't a sport, I ask "What is a Sport?".
This is a debate that has raged in my family for years, and always comes up when the Olympics is on. It centres around where the border between a sport and an art or pastime lies. The argument usually starts off with 'rythmic gymnastics' (basically people dancing around with bits of paper), and then progresses onto dance, before getting to a finish on the subject of 'synchronised swimming'.
Many people feel that these 'sports' are not 'sports', more pursuits. I am not saying that these pastimes are not technically difficult, nor disinteresting (actually I do think they are disinteresting), just that they are not sports.
So after having a week mooching around the North Devon coastline, and trying to find something to take my mind off the fact my mouth was frozen with wind chill, I sought to answer this problem:
My theory: "A sport is a physical pursuit, relying more so on physical technique, strength, or ability than mental aspects (although this is also part of every sport), that ends up with a clear result determined not by opinions of judges, but by a definite number."
The physical bit comes in to seperate games such as chess, bridge, Hungry Hippos from being classed under my definition as a sport.
The most important part is the opinionated/definite dertermination of a result. Gymnastics, synchronised swimming, ice dancing, diving etc rely soley on judges' interpretations of their performance, whereas sports rely on a figure. This can be time (any type of race, e.g. swimming, running), distance (throwing events) or points (football, rugby, cricket). The outcome is (barring controversy) certain - you cannot argue with numbers. This is why there has been lots of controversy surrounding the figure skating recently, as the winner is determined by people's opinions, and humans make mistakes.
There are two stand-out fifty/fifty exceptions:
The winner should be the jumper with the longest distance, but they also get judged on their style - knock this off and it becomes a 'legitimate sport'
Simple at first glance - first boxer who can't get up loses - but judges' decisions make it a borderline 'sport'.
Your thoughts as I flee from the hoardes of rythmic gymnastics fans...