athlete (n.) Look up athlete at
early 15c., from Latin athleta "a wrestler, athlete, combatant in public games," from Greek athletes "prizefighter, contestant in the games," agent noun from athlein "to contest for a prize," related to athlos "a contest" and athlon "a prize," which is of unknown origin.

Until mid-18c. usually in Latin form. In this sense, Old English had plegmann "play-man." Meaning "Anyone trained in exercises of agility and strength" is from 1827. Athlete's foot first recorded 1928, for an ailment that has been around much longer.