Entries linking to championship
early 13c., "doughty fighting man, valorous combatant," also (c. 1300) "one who fights on behalf of another or others, one who undertakes to defend a cause," from Old French champion "combatant, champion in single combat" (12c.), from Late Latin campionem (nominative campio) "gladiator, fighter, combatant in the field," from Latin campus "field (of combat);" see campus.
The word had been borrowed earlier by Old English as cempa. Sports sense in reference to "first-place performer, one who has demonstrated superiority to all others in some matter decided by public contest or competition" is recorded from 1730.
word-forming element meaning "quality, condition; act, power, skill; office, position; relation between," Middle English -schipe, from Old English -sciepe, Anglian -scip "state, condition of being," from Proto-Germanic *-skepi- (cognates: Old Norse -skapr, Danish -skab, Old Frisian -skip, Dutch -schap, German -schaft), from *skap- "to create, ordain, appoint," from PIE root *(s)kep-, forming words meaning "to cut, scrape, hack" (see shape (v.)). It often forms abstracts to go with corresponding concretes (friend/friendship, etc.).