Historical Chronology

c. 5000
The first water craft are developed in various indigenous cultures throughout the world (canoes, kayaks, and wind-powered vessels).
c. 3500 BC
The traditional Indian holistic medicine practices known as Ayurveda are traced to this period, as is the practice of yoga.
c. 3000 BC
The oldest written references to traditional chinese medicine (TCM), including various herbal medicine techniques and acupuncture, are dated to this period.
c. 1000 BC
Baggataway, the forerunner to lacrosse, is first played by the indigenous peoples of North America during this period.
c. 1000 BC
The ancient Scottish highland sports, including the caber toss and putting the stone, originated with the clan gatherings of this period.
c. 800 BC
The Mayan peoples of southern Mexico participate in organized high diving from cliffs into the Pacific Ocean.
c. 776 BC
The first Olympic Games is held at Athens. The competitions are restricted to men only; the credo of the ancient Games, "Higher, Faster, Stronger," remains the inspiration of the modern Olympics.
c. 700 BC
The use of anatomical models is established in India.
490 BC
Phillipides, a messenger with the Greek army, dies after running from the site of the Battle of Marathon to the city of Athens to proclaim the victory over the Persian army. The modern marathon is named for his feat.
c. 275 BC
Herophilus's younger colleague, Eristra-tus (c. 310–c. 250 BC), asserts that veins and arteries are connected.
36 BC
The first swimming races are held in Japan, as a part of the training of the Samurai warrior class.
c. 100
The sport of sumo, a competition that first evolved within the Shinto religion of Japan as a means of appeasing the gods, was developed in this period.
c. 393
The Olympics are abolished by Roman emperor Theodosius I, on the grounds that the Games were pagan.
c. 850
Arab scholar Yaqub ibn-Ishaq al-Kindi (c. 800–870) advances an anatomical and physiological explanation of vision.
c. 1200
Versions of football (soccer) are being played in various regions of Europe.
c. 1275
William of Saliceto creates the first established record of a human dissection.
c. 1300
Cricket is being played in a variety of forms across the south of England.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) designs the world's first bicycle.
Leonardo da Vinci adds to a series of anatomical studies by creating the first wax cast of oxen brain ventricles.
Servetus offers the first description of the pulmonary circulation of blood.
c. 1550
Early forms of tennis are being played in various regions of Europe.
Dutch naturalist Jan Swammerdam publishes records of observations of red blood cells.
Marcello Malpighi makes publishes works describing vascular capillary beds and individual capillaries.
The idea of reflex action, formulated by René Descartes (1596–1650), French philosopher and mathematician, is made public. The assertion is included in a French edition of his posthumously published work on animal physiology. In his analysis Descartes applied his mechanistic philosophy to the analysis of animal behavior and first used the concept of reflex to denote any involuntary response the body makes when exposed to a stimulus.
Robert Hooke publishes Micrographia, an account of observations made with the new instrument known as the microscope. Hooke presents his drawings of the tiny box-like structures found in cork and calls these tiny structures "cells." Although the cells he observes are not living, the name is retained. He also describes the streaming juices of live plant cells.
Posthumous publication of On Motion in Animals by Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (1608–1679), Italian mathematician and physicist. Borelli studied the human body from the standpoint of Descartes's mechanistic philosophy, describing physiology as a branch of physics and offering a mechanical analysis of the skeletomuscular system.
Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis publishes Venus Physique. Maupertuis criticizes preformationist theories because offspring inherit characteristics of both parents. He proposes an adaptationist account of organic design. His theories suggests the existence of a mechanism for transmitting adaptations.
c. 1750
Cricket increases in popularity throughout England. The rules are codified and formal cricket clubs are established in London.
Albrecht von Haller 1757–1766), publishes the first volume of his eight-volume Elements of Physiology of the Human Body, subsequently to become a landmark in the history of modern physiology.
Captain James Cook, English explorer, observes the sport of surfing practiced by native people in the Hawaiian Islands.
Luigi Galvani (1737–1798), Italian anatomist, discovers the electric nature of nervous impulses.
Joseph Priestley (1733–1804), English theologian and chemist, discovers that plants give off oxygen.
Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier (1743–1794), French chemist, discovers that oxygen is consumed during respiration.
Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles Darwin, and Francis Galton, publishes his Zoonomia. In this work, Darwin argues that evolutionary changes are brought about by the mechanism primarily associated with Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, that is, the direct influence of the environment on the organism.
First United States Pharmacopoeia is published.
The invention of rugby is credited to William Webb Ellis at Rugby School, England. The rules of rugby are formalized in England in 1845, the first stage in a rise in rugby's popularity as a world game.
The first Oxford-Cambridge rowing race is held on the Thames River, London.
Theodore Schwann extends the theory of cells to include animals and helps establish the basic unity of the two great kingdoms of life. In Microscopical Researches into the Accordance in the Structure and Growth of Animals and Plants, Schwann asserts that all living things are made up of cells, each of which contains certain essential components. He also coins the term "metabolism" to describe the overall chemical changes that take place in living tissues.
The first recorded game of organized baseball is played at Elysian Fields, New Jersey. Alexander Cartwright (1820–1892) had written the first comprehensive set of rules for baseball in 1845.
The Cambridge Rules, the first codefica-tion of the rules of soccer, are created at Cambridge University, England.
The first race of what would become the America's Cup yacht racing series was contested.
Gregor Mendel begins his study of 34 different strains of peas. Eventually, Mendel selects 22 kinds for further experiments. From 1856 to 1863, Mendel will grow and test over 28,000 plants and analyze seven specific pairs of traits.
Barolomeo Panizza (1785–1867), Italian anatomist, first proves that parts of the cerebral cortex are essential for vision.
Rudolf Ludwig Carl Virchow publishes his landmark paper "Cellular Pathology" and establishes the field of cellular pathology. Virchow asserts that all cells arise from preexisting cells (Omnis cellula e cellula). He argues that the cell is the ultimate locus of all disease.
Charles Robert Darwin publishes his landmark book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.
The Football Association, the world's oldest soccer league, is founded in London, England.
Gustav Theodor Fritsch (1838–1927), German anatomist and anthropologist, and Eduard Hitzig (1838–1907), German physiologist and neurologist, discover that electric shocks to one cerebral hemisphere of a dog's brain produces movement on the other side of the animal's body. This is the first clear demonstration of the existence of cerebral hemispheric lateralization.
Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet shows the importance of statistical analysis for biologists and provides the foundations of biometry.
Franz Anton Schneider describes cell division in detail. His drawings included both the nucleus and chromosomal strands.
John Trudgen introduces a swimming stroke to swimmers in England that is a precursor to the modern front crawl. The Trudgen technique dramatically increases the speed and the efficiency of swimmers; the Trudgen stroke remains the staple in swim races for 30 years.
Walther Flemming discovers chromosomes, observes mitosis, and suggests the modern interpretation of nuclear division.
The first American football game, a variation of rugby, is played between McGill University (Montreal, ON, Canada) and Harvard. Harvard will play Yale in the first ever American intercollegiate game in 1875.
The first organized ice hockey game is played in Montreal, ON, Canada.
North American baseball's National League is founded.
A.G. Spalding establishes the sporting goods company that bears his name in Chicago. Spalding products form the backbone of the first ever sporting goods empire.
Charles-Emanuel Sedillot introduces the term "microbe." The term becomes widely used as a term for a pathogenic bacterium.
FIG, the international governing body of gymnastics, is founded in Paris.
Robert Koch (1843–1910), German bacteriologist, discovers the tubercle bacillus and enunciates "Koch's postulates," which define the classic method of preserving, documenting, and studying bacteria.
Shihan Kano of Japan develops the sport of judo.
Walther Flemming publishes Cell Substance, Nucleus, and Cell Division, in which he describes his observations of the longitudinal division of chromosomes in animal cells. Flemming observes chromosome threads in the dividing cells of salamander larvae.
Elie Metchnikoff discovers the antibacterial activity of white blood cells, which he calls "phagocytes," and formulates the theory of phagocytosis.
Louis Pasteur and coworkers publishes a paper entitled "A New Communication on Rabies." Pasteur proves that the causal agent of rabies could be attenuated and the weakened virus could be used as a vaccine to prevent the disease. This work serves as the basis of future work on virus attenuation, vaccine development, and the concept that variation is an inherent characteristic of viruses.
The game of softball is invented by George Hancock in Chicago, Illinois.
Heinrich Wilhelm Gottfried Waldeyer coins the term "chromosome." Waldeyer introduces the use of hematoxylin as a histological stain.
Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard suggests the concept of internal secretions (hormones).
Hermann Henking distinguishes between the sex chromosomes and the autosomes.
James Naismith, a physical education instructor with the YMCA, invents the sport of basketball in Springfield, Massa-chussets.
Senda Berenson Abbott, a physical education instructor at Smith College, Massa-chussets, revises the Naismith rules of basketball to create a version of basketball for women.
Physical education instructor William Morgan, a friend of James Naismith, invents volleyball in Springfield, Massa-chussets.
The Olympic Games are revived by Baron Pierre de Coubertin (1863–1937), and are held in Paris. The International Olympic Committee is established to organize all successive Olympic Games.
The inaugural Boston Marathon (26.2 mi [42.2 km]) is run on a course from Hopkington, Massachussets, to Boston; 15 runners take part. The Boston Marathon becomes the most famous road race in the world.
The world's first bobsled run is constructed at St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Scientist Felix Hoffman invents aspirin (acetysalicylic acid) in Germany. Aspirin, originally designed as an analgesic is the most consumed medication in history.
Karl Landsteiner discovers the blood-agglutination phenomenon and the four major blood types in humans.
Jokichi Takamine (1854–1922), Japanese-American chemist, and T.B. Aldrich first isolate epinephrine from the adrenal gland. Later known by the trade name Adrenalin, it is eventually identified as a neurotransmitter. This is also the first time a pure hormone has been isolated.
Walter Sutton presents evidence that chromosomes have individuality, that chromosomes occur in pairs (with one member of each pair contributed by each parent), and that the paired chromosomes separate from each other during meiosis. Sutton concludes that the concept of the individuality of the chromosomes provides the link between cytology and Mendelian heredity.
The first Tour de France is organized, a 1,500-mi (2,500 km) race. Over one hundred years later, the Tour de France is the most famous cycling race in the world.
Nettie Maria Stevens, American geneticist, discovers the connection between chromosomes and sex determination. She determines that there are two basic types of sex chromosomes, which are now called X and Y. Stevens proves that females are XX and males are XY. Stevens and Edmund B. Wilson independently describe the relationship between the so-called accessory or X chromosomes and sex determination in insects.
The Isle of Mann motorcycle races are organized for the first time. The Isle of Mann competition remains one of the most famous motorcycle challenges in the world.
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849–1910) investigates the conditioned reflex (1904–1907). A great stimulus for behaviorist psychology, his work establishes physiologically-oriented psychology.
Jean de Mayer, French physiologist, first suggests the name "insulin" for the hormone of the islet cells.
The Indianapolis Speedway is constructed; this race track becomes the permanent home of the annual Indianapolis 500 auto race.
The National Football League (NFL) commenced play.
German-born Joseph Pilates, developer of the exercise training program of the same name, opens his first studio in New York.
Alexander Fleming (1881–1955), Scottish bacteriologist, discovers penicillin. He observes that the mold Penicillium notatum inhibits the growth of some bacteria. This is the first antibacterial, and it opens a new era of "wonder drugs" to combat infection and disease.
The Summer Olympics held at Amsterdam are the first to provide a significant number of women's events.
c. 1930
Anabolic steroids are discovered by German scientists. The chemicals are not used in sport applications until the 1950s.
The first World Cup of soccer is held in Uruguay; the host nation beat Argentina in the championship final. The World Cup is today second only to the Olympics in global sporting popularity.
Charles "Chuck" Taylor puts his signature on the logo of the Converse All Star basketball shoe; Converse are the most popular basketball shoe in the world for almost 40 years.
George Nissen of Iowa builds the first trampoline intended for the commercial market.
Effa Manley becomes the first woman to both own and administer the day to day operations of a professional baseball club when she assumes control of the Newark Eagles of the Negro League.
Bloch and Purcell develop nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) as viable tool for observation and analysis.
Jackie Robinson becomes the first black man to play major league baseball when he is signed to a contract by the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The Stoke Mandeville Games for disabled persons, the forerunner to the modern Paralympics, are held at Stoke-on-Trent, England.
Joseph Sobek of Conneticut creates a new game that he calls "paddleball" the game is ultimately named racquetball and it would be come a very popular sport by the 1970s throughout North America.
The first Maccabiah Games to be hosted by the state of Israel are held in Tel Aviv. Styled in the manner of the Olympic Games for Jewish athletes from around the world, the Maccabiah Games become a quadrennial event in 1957.
Rosalind Franklin obtains sharp x-ray diffraction photographs of DNA.
Danny Biasone of the National Basketball Association (NBA) devises the 24-second shot to clock to speed the game. His innovation will become an integral part of the game both in the United States and in all international championships.
Roger Bannister of England, a medical student, becomes the first person to run one mile in under four minutes. Bannister's rivalry with Australian John Landy and American Wes Santee to be the first sub-four-minute runner is one of the most compelling in the history of sport.
Mary F. Lyon proposes that one of the X chromosomes of normal females is inactivated. This concept became known as the Lyon hypothesis and helped explain some confusing aspects of sex-linked diseases. Females are usually "carriers" of genetic diseases on the X chromosome because the normal gene on the other chromosome protects them, but some X-linked disorders are partially expressed in female carriers. Based on studies of mouse coat color genes, Lyon proposes that one X chromosome is randomly inactivated in the cells of female embryos.
Francis Crick proposes that during protein formation each amino acid is carried to the template by an adapter molecule containing nucleotides, and that the adapter is the part that actually fits on the RNA template. Later research demonstrates the existence of transfer RNA.
The Daytona 500 auto race, the most prestigious of the American NASCAR events, is first run at the Daytona speedway this year.
"Wide World of Sports," the groundbreaking American weekly sports program, airs for the first time. "Wide World of Sports," featuring host Jim McKay, runs until 1998.
James D. Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins are awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for their work in elucidating the structure of DNA.
A primitive form of the modern snowboard, the "Snow Surfer" is developed in the United States.
Dr. Robert Cade of the University of Florida and a team of researchers create the sports drink Gatorade, a product that became the largest selling sports drink in the world.
François Jacob, André Lwoff, and Jacques Monod are awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for their discoveries concerning genetic control of enzymes and virus synthesis.
Marshall Nirenberg and Har Gobind Khorana lead teams that decipher the genetic code. All of the 64 possible triplet combinations of the four bases (the codons) and their associated amino acids are determined and described.
Sex testing (gender verification testing) is introduced at the European track and field championships.
Kathryn Switzer becomes the first woman to enter and to complete the Boston Marathon.
The sport of windsurfing claims a number of different inventors; it begins to receive popular attention this year.
American long jumper Bob Beamon shatters the world record by over 21 inches (53 cm) at the 1968 Summer Olympics at Mexico City.
Dick Fosbury, American high jumper, introduces a revolutionary style of jumping, nicknamed the "Fosbury Flop." Fos-bury wins the Olympic gold medal in the event.
Eleven Israeli Olympic team members are taken hostage and ultimately murdered by an Arab terrorist cell, "Black September" at the Summer Olympics at Munich.
The shoe soon to be popularized as the Nike "waffle" sole is designed by U.S. track coach Bill Bowerman.
The United States government passes Title IX of the Civil Rights Act into law; Title IX establishes a framework within which female athletes are entitled to equality of opportunity in all aspects of American amateur sport. Title IX was the impetus for the creation of female athletic scholarships and female sports organizations across the United States.
Dr. Frank Jobe of Callifornia performs revolutionary elbow ligament surgery on American baseball pitcher Tommy John. This procedure will prolong the careers of thousands of athletes.
The Iditarod sled dog race is run from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. The Idiatord established a reputation as one of the toughest sporting challenges in the world.
Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, coached by Bela Karolyi, is awarded the first ever perfect score in the history of gymnastics at the Summer Olympics in Montreal.
The International Olympic Committee institutes testing for anabolic steroids and other prohibited substances at the Summer Olympics in Montreal.
The Hawaii Ironman is started as a 2.4-mi (4 km) swim, a 112-mi (191 km) cycle, and a 26.2-mi (42 km) run. Twelve athletes finish in the 15-person starting field. Ironman events are now held throughout the world.
The United States men's hockey team defeats the favored Soviet Union to win the Olympic gold medal at Lake Placid.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the first genetically engineered drug, a form of human insulin produced by bacteria.
c. 1983
Dr. James Andrews continues to develop arthroscopic surgery techniques that both repair athletic injuries and reduce the time require for rehabilitation.
Michael Jordan is selected in the National Basketball Association draft by the Chicago Bulls. Jordan wins six league championships with the Bulls and acclaim as the greatest player in NBA history.
Former world-class marathoner Brian Maxwell invents the PowerBar, a popular energy bar used by endurance athletes.
Greg Lemond of the United States becomes the first American to win the Tour de France.
The United States Department of Energy officially initiates the Human Genome Initiative.
Canadian Ben Johnson is disqualified as the Olympic men's 100-m champion and world record holder when he tested positive for steroids at the 1988 Summer Olympics. Johnson is the highest profile drug cheat in the history of sport.
The Human Genome Project officially adopts the goal of determining the entire sequence of DNA comprising the human chromosomes.
Jackie Joyner Kersee, American heptath-lete, wins the Olympic gold medal at Barcelona, Spain, to become one of the most decorated female athletes in Olympic history.
The United States passes the Dietary Supplements Health Promotion Act, a law intended to regulate aspects of the growing supplements market in America.
Several cyclists in the Tour de France are found to have taken the hormone erythro-poetin, EPO, a practice known as "blood doping." Allegations of EPO use will plague the Tour and leading riders such a seven-time champion Lance Armstrong through 2006.
Scientists announce the complete sequencing of the DNA making up human chromosome 22. The first complete human chromosome sequence is published in December 1999.
The World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA, is created after several years of international organizational efforts in the sports community. WADA will become one of the most influential sports organizations in the world.
Tiger Woods becomes the only golfer in history to hold all four major championships simultaneously.
Paul Lauterbur is awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in recognition of his contributions to the invention of the magnetic resonance imaging technology, MRI; the technology is a extremely important diagnostic tool in assessing athletic injuries.
The BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative) scandal surfaces in the United States; BALCO principals are involved in the distribution of nandrolone, an anabolic steroid, and other prohibited substances, to high profile American athletes, including world record sprinter Tim Montgomery and baseball home run hitter Barry Bonds.
Following initial publication in 2001, The Human Genome Project for the National Institutes of Health culminates in the completion of a more complete human genome sequence, published in the journal Nature.
Lance Armstrong wins his record seventh Tour de France and retires from competition.
Major League Baseball (MLB) players are subpoenaed to testify before Congress concerning the use of steroids in the sport.
Several leading riders are banned from competition on the eve of the start of the 2006 Tour de France under suspicion of links to use of performance enhancing drugs raised by a Spanish sport and police inquiry.