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Robot Athlete

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"Dr. Wily had sent his greatest robot creations like Skull Man, Wood Man, Needle Man and Pharaoh Man to rule the soccer world. But Mr. Light was prepared for this new tactic. Almost instantly a reserve of Mega Man robots appeared to take on the evil forces in the strangest game of soccer ever seen."
Back of the box for Mega Man Soccer

In the future, robots are projected to have all kinds of uses: science, engineering, and... sports?

Speculative Fiction frequently uses shorthand for the audience to know it's The Future, and there's often no better way than demonstrating something high tech being used for Mundane Utility. In comes the robots which are widespread enough to cater to an entire entertainment industry. Whether they're the center of the work, used for a one off gag, or using sports as a visual motif these robots are a spectator sport regardless of whether they're fully autonomous or piloted by humans.

Sister Trope to Robot Clown and Robot Maid. Compare Muggle Sports, Super Athletes.


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  • The Super Bowl uses a CGI version of these modeled after football players.
  • A commercial for Absolut Vodka features three robotic greyhounds racing across a vast desert while humans in vaguely futuristic garb observe through telescopes. The robot dogs are remotely piloted by humans.


    Anime and Manga 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series book Blue Adept. In the tournament Stile is competing in, one category is team sports that use android players. Each contestant chooses androids that have the specific skills used in the game.
  • The short story "Steel" by Richard Matheson served as the basis for Real Steel and the Twilight Zone episode.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Get Smart. In "Run Robot Run", KAOS has arranged for all the Free World athletes to have accidents so as to leave the field clear for the Iron Curtain to win. CONTROL's Ridiculously Human Robot Hymie takes their place, and Hilarity Ensues as he effortlessly wins the Track and Field without even changing out of his suit, though there's a last-minute crisis when his battery runs down just before the finish line.
  • How I Met Your Mother has Barney buy tickets for the gang to see a live entertainment event, "Robots Versus Wrestlers".
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • In "The Mighty Casey", the robot Casey becomes the pitcher for the Hoboken Zephyrs. After he has a heart installed and can't bring himself to strike out the members of the opposing team, Mouth has Stillman create a series of robot pitchers to help the Zephyrs win championships.
    • In "Steel", human boxers were replaced by robots in 1968. When Battling Maxo is too damaged to fight, his human manager "Steel" Kelly enters the ring in his place.
  • TekWar: At one point in the story, a robot hockey player is used to try and kill Detective Cardigan.
  • Super Sentai has a few examples every now and then as a Monster of the Week.

    Video Games 
  • ARMS Several fighters fill the niche completely (Barq & Byte, Springtron, Hedlok) while an arguable case could be made for others (Dr. Coyle and Helix).
  • Cyber Stadium Series:Base Wars was a sports game about robots who replaced humans in baseball.
  • Custom Robo does this for robots that are no bigger than ten inches.
  • Mario Strikers: The first game has the Super Team, which are a team of robots made by Bowser that appears as the final opponent of Tournament Mode.
  • Metal Sonic is this in the Olympic Games.
  • Medabots are an entire sport of competitive "ro-battling".
  • Mega Man 6 began with what was meant to be a robot combat competition. Mega Man Battle Network has a Spiritual Successor to this plot's setup in the third and fourth games, but with computer programs instead of robots.
  • Super Baseball 2020 was similar to Base Wars, except it still featured humans playing alongside the robots.
  • Body Blows: One newcomer introduced in the sequel, Body Blows Galactic, is a robot named Tekno from a planet called Titanica. Subverted in the case of another Robotic character named T-17 which had far more malicious aims for the Body Blows tournament.
  • Zero Divide: Invoked in that all of the fighters have appearances that make them look like robots. However, the in-universe story is that the setting is in cyberspace and the fighters are all A.I.s pitted against each other.


    Western Animation 
  • The BOTS Master has a team called "The Sports Boyzz", which is made up of battling robots themed after various sports. They usually use their automated athletic abilities for fighting, but in one episode, Batzz joins a Little League team and utterly creams the competition.
  • Futurama:
    • When discussing Blernsball in "Fear of a Bot Planet", Bender mentions another league for robot athletes, which Leela finds unimpressive on a conceptual level.
      Bender: Now Wireless Joe Jackson, there was a blern hitting machine!
      Leela: Exactly! He was a machine designed to hit blerns! I mean come on! Wireless Joe was nothing but a programmable bat on wheels.
      Bender: Oh and I suppose Pitchomat 5000 was just a modified howitzer.
      Leela: Yep.
    • In "Bend Her", the Olympics has separate events for robots (like bending) and humans (like limbo). Bender pretends to be a fembot to face less competition and undergoes a sex change in order keep his winnings (after he and the gang hear, "All medalists are required to report for gender testing").
  • The Jetsons featured robot football for an episode.
  • The premise of Bolts & Blip is that in the future, conflicts big and small on Earth will be decided by having representative teams of robot athletes on the moon duke it out with each other.
  • Robozuna is centered on a robot sport, Robozuna, and the bots that play are held in higher esteem by the general populace than workbots, robots used for other, more mundane tasks.

    Real Life