The aesthetic appeal of sport is an intrinsic part of its appeal for participation, and one of the qualities which draws spectators.
Ice skating and Tai chi for example are sports which come close to artistic spectacles in themselves: to watch these activities comes close to the experience of spectating at a ballet. Similarly, there are other activities which have elements of sport and art in their execution, such as performance art, artistic gymnastics, Bodybuilding etcetera.
A sporting performance such as jumping doesn't just impress us as being an effective way to avoid obstacles or to get across streams. It impresses us because of the ability, skill and style which is shown.
Art and sport were probably more clearly linked at the time of Ancient Greece, when gymnastics and calisthenics evoked admiration and aesthetic appreciation for the physical build, prowess and arete displayed by participants. The modern term 'art' as skill, is related to this ancient Greek term arete. The closeness of art and sport in these times was revealed by the nature of the Olympic Games which were celebrations of both sporting and artistic achievements, poetry scupture and architecture.
Sports art, including sport in film, attempts to capture this aesthetic appeal