Tegan Marie competes at Craig Campbell's 6th Annual Celebrity Cornhole Challenge. Photo: Leah Puttkammer/Getty Images

The emergence of esports and breakdancing's Olympics debut in 2024 got me thinking: What is a "sport" exactly?

I wondered: Is any competition considered a sport? Does someone need to be keeping score? Is physical exertion required?

Sport, defined:

  • Oxford: "An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or a team competes against another or others for entertainment."
  • Dictionary.com: "An athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature."
  • Merriam-Webster: "A source of diversion," or "physical activity engaged in for pleasure or exercise."

Some thoughts:

  • By the first two definitions, non-competitive fishing wouldn't qualify as a sport, but Merriam-Webster accepts it with open arms — and many weekend fishermen likely consider themselves "sportsmen."
  • If I, as an amateur, decide to go skiing, that's not a sport. But if I challenge my friend to a race down the mountain, are we now engaged in a sport? If not, what would make it one? A set of rules? A trophy? Stephen A. Smith's expert analysis?
  • Board games like Monopoly are clearly not sports, but many consider chess to be one. In fact, former SI writer Tim Crothers said "chess is as pure a sport as there is."
  • In 2015, former ESPN president John Skipper famously said of esports: "It's not a sport — it's a competition." Ya know, just to introduce another word into the mix: competitions, sports, activities, games, the list goes on.
  • "Competition is the basis of all hip-hop culture," says longtime breakdancer Michael Holman, per NYT. "The DJ's compete … The MC's and rappers battle … the breakers battle." Absolutely true, but isn't that art?

The bottom line: There will always be activities that exist on the fringe of sports. In that case, perhaps the best definition comes from the Australian Sports Commission: A sport is a sport if it is ... "generally accepted as being a sport."

Go deeper: Check out Kendall's Axios Sports newsletter for coverage of fringe sports in "The Ocho"

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Coronavirus cases rise in 33 states

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise, Naema Ahmed, Danielle Alberti/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic keeps getting worse, all across the country. Thirty-three states saw their caseloads increase this week, continuing a scary nationwide trend that’s been getting worse since mid-June.

Why it matters: The U.S. is right back in the situation we were afraid of earlier this year, with a rapidly spreading outbreak, strained hospitals, and projections of more than 200,000 deaths by the end of the year.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 12,009,301 — Total deaths: 548,799 — Total recoveries — 6,561,969Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 3,053,328 — Total deaths: 132,256 — Total recoveries: 953,420 — Total tested: 37,532,612Map.
  3. Public health: Houston mayor cancels Republican convention over coronavirus concerns Deaths are rising in hotspots — Déjà vu sets in as testing issues rise and PPE dwindles.
  4. Travel: United warns employees it may furlough 45% of U.S. workforce How the pandemic changed mobility habits, by state.
  5. Education: New York City schools will not fully reopen in fallHarvard and MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring foreign students from online classes.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: A misinformation "infodemic" is here.

Transcripts show George Floyd told police "I can't breathe" over 20 times

Photo: Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Newly released transcripts of bodycam footage from the Minneapolis Police Department show that George Floyd told officers he could not breathe more than 20 times in the moments leading up to his death.

Why it matters: Floyd's killing sparked a national wave of Black Lives Matter protests and an ongoing reckoning over systemic racism in the United States. The transcripts "offer one the most thorough and dramatic accounts" before Floyd's death, The New York Times writes.