(Latin > French: to seek amusement, literally, "to carry oneself in the opposite direction")

sport (s) (noun), sports (pl)
1. An athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.: Randy excelled in many sports; however, he especially liked baseball.
2. A diversion; a recreation; or a pleasant pastime: Going hiking whenever possible was Ed's favorite sport.

The Meaning of the Word Sport:

One of the most commonly used English words which we hear and see is sports along with "sports events", "sports programs", "sports activities", "multi sports", and many other applications having to do with sports; however, did you every wonder where the word came from? Well, maybe you don’t care where it came from, but if you are even a little curious, read on:

From about 1400, sport meant a pleasant pastime, amusement, diversion; shortened from an earlier dysporte from about 1303; and borrowed from Anglo-French disport, from Old French desport meaning "a pastime", "recreation", "pleasure", from desporter "to divert", "to amuse" (one- self), "to please", and "to play".

The sense of a game, usually one involving physical exercise, was first recorded in English in 1523. The meaning of "good fellow" (as in “be a good sport”) developed about 1905 from the earlier sense of someone who was concerned with sports, sportsman (1861).

Disport Is the Original Form of the Word Sport

Another word that dictionaries refer to as contributing to the origin of the word sport is "disport" which was borrowed from Old French desporter, literally, "to carry away", as of from Old French desporter, literally, to carry away , as of the attention from serious matters (des- “away”, from Latin dis-, + porter “to carry" or "to bear”, from Latin portare).

So, the result of this discussion about such a well-known word may be summarized by saying, sport is an abbreviation of the original "disport" and the noun originally meant “to carry away”, especially “to carry away from work” and, by extension, “amusement” or “recreation”, which is what people do by amusing themselves when playing a sport; that is, if they are not “professional athletes”. It was not used in its main modern sense as “athletic contests” until the mid 19th century.

—Partly compiled from information located in
Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson;
Facts On File, Inc.; New York; 1997; page 636.

Emperor Nero, Chariot Racer

It is a matter of historical record that the emperor of Rome won every event in which he entered during the Olympics held in A.D. 67. In fact, when Emperor Nero on one occasion fell from his chariot during a race, the other contestants politely, and wisely, waited until he had remounted and sped on before they continued the race.

Nero [Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus] (32-68), Roman emperor