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Sport has always contained parallels to war. Historically, sporting events often entailed controlled combat, complete with the prospect of death. Today, sports continue to hold athletes to expectations of duty and physical sacrifice that reflect social values born out of martial need. Then and now, the significance of sport can be found in the way it represents and reinforces such communal values. In both ancient and modern societies, athletic competition has continually simulated, substituted for, or augmented warfare.

The need to promote the values and skills necessary for an effective fighting force led to the creation of most sports. Greek wrestling, for example, initially provided training for Greece’s soldiers and promoted competition to create a stronger, more capable army. In ancient Egypt, where many sports originated, ...

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