Use the noun athletics to talk about sports, including team practice, games, and training. A serious baseball player might choose a college based on its athletics program.

In Britain, the word athletics specifically refers to track and field competitions, such as long-distance running, high jump, and javelin. In the US, you can use the word to talk about any kind of sporty activity. The noun athletics comes from the adjective athletic, based on the model of gymnastics. The Greek root is athletes, "prizefighter" or "contestant in the games."

Definitions of athletics
  1. noun
    an active diversion requiring physical exertion and competition
    synonyms: sport
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    funambulism, tightrope walking
    walking on a tightrope or slack rope
    rock climbing
    the sport or pastime of scaling rock masses on mountain sides (especially with the help of ropes and special equipment)
    contact sport
    a sport that necessarily involves body contact between opposing players
    field sport, outdoor sport
    a sport that is played outdoors
    gymnastic exercise, gymnastics
    a sport that involves exercises intended to display strength and balance and agility
    track and field
    participating in athletic sports performed on a running track or on the field associated with it
    a sport in which participants must travel on skis
    aquatics, water sport
    sports that involve bodies of water
    crew, row, rowing
    the act of rowing as a sport
    the sport of shooting arrows with a bow
    the sport of riding on a sled or sleigh
    the sport of gliding on skates
    the sport of engaging in contests of speed
    equitation, horseback riding, riding
    the sport of siting on the back of a horse while controlling its movements
    the sport of traveling on a bicycle or motorcycle
    blood sport
    sport that involves killing animals (especially hunting)
    athletic game
    a game involving athletic activity
    a sport adapted from jujitsu (using principles of not resisting) and similar to wrestling; developed in Japan
    spectator sport
    a sport that many people find entertaining to watch
    team sport
    a sport that involves competition between teams of players
    acrobatics, tumbling
    the gymnastic moves of an acrobat
    running, track
    the act of participating in an athletic competition involving running on a track
    the act of participating in an athletic competition in which you must jump
    cross-country skiing
    the sport of skiing across the countryside (rather than downhill)
    ski jumping
    the act of performing a jump on skis from a high ramp overhanging a snow covered slope
    swim, swimming
    the act of swimming
    surfboarding, surfing, surfriding
    the sport of riding a surfboard toward the shore on the crest of a wave
    skiing on water while being towed by a motorboat
    a stroke of the oar that either misses the water or digs too deeply
    rowing by a single oarsman in a racing shell
    boxing, fisticuffs, pugilism
    fighting with the fists
    riding on a long light sled with low handrails
    riding on a bobsled
    grappling, rassling, wrestling
    the sport of hand-to-hand struggle between unarmed contestants who try to throw each other down
    ice skating
    skating on ice
    roller skating
    skating on wheels
    the sport of skating on a skateboard
    speed skating
    competitive skating on speed skates (usually around an oval course)
    auto racing, car racing
    the sport of racing automobiles
    boat racing
    the sport of racing boats
    camel racing
    the sport of racing camels
    greyhound racing
    the sport of racing greyhounds
    horse racing
    the sport of racing horses
    equestrian sport
    a sport that tests horsemanship
    a sport in which people ride across country on ponies
    riding a bicycle
    riding a motorcycle
    dune cycling
    bicycling or motorcycling on sand dunes
    bullfighting, tauromachy
    the activity at a bullfight
    participation in the sport of matching gamecocks in a cockfight
    hunt, hunting
    the pursuit and killing or capture of wild animals regarded as a sport
    fishing, sportfishing
    the act of someone who fishes as a diversion
    hockey, hockey game, ice hockey
    a game played on an ice rink by two opposing teams of six skaters each who try to knock a flat round puck into the opponents' goal with angled sticks
    a game with two players who use rackets to strike a ball that is tethered to the top of a pole; the object is to wrap the string around the pole
    water polo
    a game played in a swimming pool by two teams of swimmers who try to throw an inflated ball into the opponents' goal
    outdoor game
    an athletic game that is played outdoors
    football, football game
    any of various games played with a ball (round or oval) in which two teams try to kick or carry or propel the ball into each other's goal
    court game
    an athletic game played on a court
    type of:
    diversion, recreation
    an activity that diverts or amuses or stimulates
  2. noun
    participation in sports events as an extracurricular activity
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    type of:
    extracurricular activity
    educational activities not falling within the scope of the regular curriculum
  3. noun
    a contest between athletes
    synonyms: athletic competition, athletic contest
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    an athletic contest consisting of ten different events
    Olympiad, Olympic Games, Olympics
    the modern revival of the ancient games held once every 4 years in a selected country
    Special Olympics
    an athletic contest modeled after the Olympic Games but intended for mentally or physically handicapped persons
    prelim, preliminary
    a minor match preceding the main event
    an athletic contest consisting of five different events
    meet, sports meeting
    a meeting at which a number of athletic contests are held
    hop-step-and-jump, triple jump
    an athletic contest in which a competitor must perform successively a hop and a step and a jump in continuous movement
    a contest in which teams pull of opposite ends of a rope; the team dragged across a central line loses
    an athletic contest consisting of three different events (typically running, swimming, and cycling)
    an athletic contest consisting of two different events (typically cross-country skiing and rifle shooting)
    Winter Olympic Games, Winter Olympics
    an Olympics for winter sports
    a meet at which riders and horses display a range of skills and aptitudes
    race meeting
    a regular occasion on which a number of horse races are held on the same track
    a series of boat races
    swim meet, swimming meet
    a swimming competition between two or more teams
    track meet
    a track and field competition between two or more teams
    type of:
    competition, contest
    an occasion on which a winner is selected from among two or more contestants
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