How did sport, a social phenomenon that emerged in the West with the transformation to modernity, arrive in Brazil, a peripheral country in the global system? What forms did modern sport take in Brazil? How did its development articulate with the formation of Brazil as a nation? Conversely, how did the political, economic, and cultural dynamics within Brazil manifest in sport? In answering these questions here I look at the case of Rio de Janeiro, the capital of Brazil in the nineteenth century and the first city in Brazil to experience modernity and modern sport.