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Summer Olympic Sports

All About Summer Olympic Sports

Summer Olympic Sports

Summer Olympics

At the first Olympic Games, nine sports were contested. Since then, the number of sports contested at the Summer Olympic Games has gradually risen to twenty-eight on the program for 2000–2008. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, however, the number of sports fell back to twenty-six following an IOC decision in 2005 to remove baseball and softball from the Olympic program. These sports retain their status as Olympic sports with the possibility of a return to the Olympic program in future games. At the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen on 9 October 2009, the IOC voted to reinstate both golf and rugby to the Olympic program, meaning that the number of sports to be contested in 2016 was once again 28.

In order for a sport or discipline to be considered for inclusion in the list of Summer Olympics sports, it must be widely practiced in at least 75 countries, spread over four continents.

Current and discontinued summer program

The following sports (or disciplines of a sport) make up the current and discontinued Summer Olympic Games official program and are listed alphabetically according to the name used by the IOC. The discontinued sports were previously part of the Summer Olympic Games program as official sports, but are no longer on the current program. The figures in each cell indicate the number of events for each sport contested at the respective Games; a bullet () denotes that the sport was contested as a demonstration sport.

Eight of the 34 sports consist of multiple disciplines. Disciplines from the same sport are grouped under the same color:

     Aquatics –      Basketball –      Canoeing/Kayaking –      Cycling –      Gymnastics –      Volleyball –      Equestrian –      Wrestling

Sport (Discipline)96 00 04 06 08 12 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20
 
Current summer sports
 
Diving     2 1 2 4 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 8 8 8 8 8 8
Marathon swimming                                                     2 2 2 2
Swimming 4 7 9 4 6 9 10 11 11 11 11 11 11 13 15 18 29 29 26 26 29 31 31 32 32 32 32 32 32 35
Synchronized swimming                                         2 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2
Water polo   1   1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2
 
3-on-3 basketball                                                           2
Basketball                 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
 
Canoe/kayak (sprint)                   9 9 9 9 7 7 7 7 11 11 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12
Canoe/kayak (slalom)                                   4         4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
 
BMX freestyle                                                           2
BMX racing                                                     2 2 2 2
Mountain biking                                               2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Road cycling 1     1   2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Track cycling 5 2 7 5 7   4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 4 4 5 6 7 8 12 12 10 10 10 12
 
Artistic 8 1 11 4 2 4 4 9 8 11 9 9 15 15 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14
Rhythmic                                         1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Trampoline                                                 2 2 2 2 2 2
 
Volleyball (beach)                                             2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Volleyball (indoor)                             2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
 
Equestrian / Dressage           1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Equestrian / Eventing           2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Equestrian / Jumping   3       2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
 
Freestyle wrestling     7   5   5 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 11 11 11 12 12
Greco-Roman wrestling 1     4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 7 7 7 6 6
 
Baseball                               1 1 1 1 1     1
Softball                                               1 1 1 1     1
 
Archery   6 6   3   10                     2 2 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5
Athletics 12 23 25 21 26 30 29 27 27 29 29 33 33 33 34 36 36 38 37 38 41 42 43 44 46 46 47 47 47 48
Badminton                                         4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Boxing     7   5   8 8 8 8 8 8 10 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 12 12 12 12 12 11 11 13 13 13
Fencing 3 7 5 8 4 5 6 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 12
Field hockey         1   1   1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Football   1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1   1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Golf   2 2                                                   2 2
Handball                                   1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Judo                               4   6 6 8 8 7 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 15
Karate                                                           8
Modern pentathlon           1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2
Rowing   4 5 6 4 4 5 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14
Rugby sevens                                                         2 2
Sailing   7     4 4 14 3 3 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 8 10 10 11 11 11 10 10 10
Shooting 5 9   16 15 18 21 10   2 3 4 7 7 6 6 7 8 7 7 11 13 13 15 17 17 15 15 15 15
Skateboarding                                                           4
Sport climbing                                                           2
Surfing                                                           2
Table tennis                                           4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5
Taekwondo                                             8 8 8 8 8 8
Tennis 2 4 2 4 6 8 5 5                       4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5
Triathlon                                                 2 2 2 2 2 3
Weightlifting 2   2 2     5 5 5 5 5 6 7 7 7 7 7 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 15 15 15 15 15 14
 
Discontinued summer sports
 
Equestrian / Vaulting             2                                              
 
Handball / Field Handball                     1                                    
Rugby / Rugby union   1     1   1 1                                            
 
Basque pelota   1                                                  
Cricket   1                                                        
Croquet   3                                                        
Lacrosse     1   1                                            
Jeu de paume       1                                                
Polo   1     1   1 1     1                                      
Rackets         2                                                  
Roque     1                                                      
Tug of war   1 1 1 1 1 1                                              
Water motorsports       3                                                  
 
Figure skating         4   3 Rescheduled during winter games
Ice hockey             1
 
Total events 43 85 94 78 110 102 156 126 109 117 129 136 149 151 150 163 172 195 198 203 221 237 257 271 300 301 302 302 306 339
Total Sports 10 21 17 14 25 18 29 23 20 20 25 23 23 23 23 25 24 28 27 27 29 31 34 37 40 40 42 40 42 50
Sport (Discipline)96 00 04 06 08 12 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20

1. The World Baseball Softball Confederation, which currently governs both baseball and softball, was created by a 2013 merger of two former governing bodies—the International Baseball Federation and the International Softball Federation, thus at the Olympic games until 2012 baseball and softball were presented as two different sports.

2. At the time skateboarding was announced as part of the 2020 Summer Games, the sport was governed by the International Skateboarding Federation. That body merged with Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports in September 2017 to form the current World Skate.

SportParticipantsMenWomenCountriesEditionsEventsTop Medalist(s)
Aeronautics 1 1 0 1 1 1 SUI Hermann Schreiber (1 medal)
Alpinism 25 24 1 6 3 1 25 athletes with 1 medal
Archery 1,113 613 500 98 16 29 BEL Hubert Van Innis (10 medals)
Art Competitions 1,814 1,610 204 51 7 29 DEN Josef Petersen and SUI Alex Walter Diggelmann (3 medals)
Athletics 22,074 15,541 6,527 227 29 83 FIN Paavo Nurmi (12 medals)
Badminton 811 399 412 69 7 5 CHN Gao Ling (4 medals)
Baseball 762 761 0 16 6 1 CUB Pedro Luis Lazo (4 medals)
Basketball 3,413 2,481 932 66 19 2 USA Teresa Edwards (5 medals)
Basque Pelota 2 2 0 1 1 1 ESP Francisco Villota and ESP Jose de Amezola (1 medal)
Beach Volleyball 383 194 189 41 6 2 USA Kerri Walsh Jennings (4 medals)
Boxing 5,262 5,197 65 175 25 15 9 athletes with 3 medals
Canoeing 3,206 2,502 702 99 19 27 GDR GER Birgit Fischer-Schmidt (12 medals)
Cricket 24 24 0 2 1 1 24 athletes with 1 medal
Croquet 10 7 3 1 1 3 3 athletes with 2 medals
Cycling 5,819 5,104 714 145 29 44 GBR Bradley Wiggins (8 medals)
Diving 1,466 831 635 82 27 10 EUN RUS Dmitry Sautin (8 medals)
Equestrianism 2,345 1,886 459 76 25 18 GER Isabell Werth (10 medals)
Fencing 4,123 3,243 880 101 29 18 ITA Edoardo Mangiarotti (13 medals)
Football 6,177 5,427 734 92 27 2 USA Christie Pearce-Rampone (4 medals)
Golf 218 148 70 42 3 3 3 athletes with 2 medals
Gymnastics 4,135 2,636 1,499 93 29 27 URS Larysa Latynina (18 medals)
Handball 2,702 1,675 1,027 47 13 2 KOR Oh Seong-Ok and URS EUN RUS Andrey Lavrov (4 medals)
Hockey 3,825 2,829 996 43 23 2 4 athletes with 4 medals
Jeu De Paume 11 11 0 2 1 1 3 athletes with 1 medal
Judo 2,724 1,966 757 180 13 15 JPN Ryoko Tamura-Tani (5 medals)
Lacrosse 61 60 0 3 3 1 60 athletes with 1 medal
Modern Pentathlon 864 750 114 57 24 3 URS Pavel Lednyov (7 medals)
Motorboating 14 13 1 2 1 3 3 athletes with 2 medals
Polo 87 87 0 9 5 1 4 athletes with 2 medals
Racquets 7 7 0 1 1 2 3 athletes with 2 medals
Rhythmic Gymnastics 567 0 567 48 9 2 12 athletes with 2 medals
Roque 4 4 0 1 1 1 3 athletes with 1 medal
Rowing 7,689 6,204 1,483 101 28 25 ROU Elisabeta Oleniuc-Lipă (8 medals)
Rugby 155 155 0 7 4 1 7 athletes with 2 medals
Rugby Sevens 299 151 148 14 1 2  
Sailing 4,480 3,850 629 120 26 38 3 athletes with 5 medals
Shooting 4,882 4,144 737 150 27 83 USA Carl Osburn (11 medals)
Softball 367 0 367 13 4 1 4 athletes with 4 medals
Swimming 8,765 5,142 3,620 201 29 55 USA Michael Phelps (28 medals)
Synchronized Swimming 562 0 561 47 9 3 6 athletes with 5 medals
Table Tennis 749 372 376 103 8 6 CHN Wang Nan and CHN Wang Hao (5 medals)
Taekwondo 470 241 229 105 5 8 4 athletes with 3 medals
Tennis 1,246 760 486 93 16 9 FRA Max Decugis (6 medals)
Trampolining 93 49 44 25 5 2 CAN Karen Cockburn and CHN Dong Dong (3 medals)
Triathlon 355 180 175 54 5 2 5 athletes with 2 medals
Tug-Of-War 160 160 0 13 6 1 3 athletes with 3 medals
Volleyball 2,505 1,374 1,129 48 14 2 4 athletes with 4 medals
Water Polo 2,601 2,262 337 52 27 2 HUN Dezso‘ Gyarmati (5 medals)
Weightlifting 2,883 2,526 356 150 26 21 4 athletes with 4 medals
Wrestling 4,988 4,766 222 131 28 30 GER FRG Wilfried Dietrich (5 medals)

Demonstration sport

A demonstration sport is a sport which is played to promote it, most commonly during the Olympic Games, but also at other sporting events.

Demonstration sports were officially introduced in the 1912 Summer Olympics, when Sweden decided to include glima, traditional Icelandic wrestling, in the Olympic program, but with its medals not counting as official. Most organizing committees then decided to include at least one demonstration sport at each edition of the Games, usually some typical or popular sport in the host country, like baseball at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and taekwondo at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. From 1912 to 1992, only two editions of the Summer Olympics did not have demonstration sports on their program. Some demonstration sports eventually gained enough popularity to become an official sport in a subsequent edition of the Games. Traditionally, the medals awarded for the demonstration events followed the same design as the Olympic medals, but of a smaller size. They are never included in the medal count.

Demonstration sports were suspended after the 1992 Summer Olympics, as the Olympic program grew bigger and it became more difficult for the organizing committees to give them the appropriate attention, since the IOC required the same treatment to be dispensed for official and demonstration sports. It is unlikely that they will be reintroduced as a requirement for future Olympic organizing committees. However, the Beijing Olympic Committee received permission from the IOC to run a wushu (martial arts) competition parallel to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008.

From the 1984 Summer Olympics until the 2004 Summer Olympics, two Paralympic events (a men's and a women's wheelchair racing event) were included in the athletics programme of each Games. These events are considered by many as a demonstration sport, but are, in fact, used to promote the Paralympic Games. Disabled events in alpine and Nordic skiing (1988 only) were also held as demonstration sports at the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics.

Summer Olympics

Here is the list of demonstration sports played at the Summer Olympic Games:

Games Demonstration sports Entered the
Olympic program
(where applicable)
1900 Paris1 • angling (men)
• ballooning (men)
• boules (men)
• cannon shooting (men)
• fire fighting (men)
• kite flying (men)
• jeu de paume (men)
• lifesaving (men)
• longue paume (men)
• motorsport (men)
• pigeon racing (men)
• water motorsports (men)
 
1904 St. Louis1 • basketball (men)
• American football (men)
• Gaelic football (men)
• hurling (men)
• motor cycling (men)
• 1936




1908 London1 • cycle polo (men)
• dueling (men)
 
1912 Stockholm • baseball (men)
• glima (men)
• 19922

1920 Antwerp • korfball (mixed)  
1924 Paris • Basque pelota (men)
• la canne (men)
• canoeing and kayaking (men)
• savate (men)
• volleyball


• 1936

• 1964
1928 Amsterdam • kaatsen (men)
• korfball (mixed)
• lacrosse (men)
 
1932 Los Angeles • American football (men)
• lacrosse (men)
 
1936 Berlin • baseball (men)
• gliding (men)
• kabaddi (men)
• 19922

1948 London • lacrosse (men)
• Swedish (Ling) gymnastics (men and women)
 
1952 Helsinki • Finnish baseball (men)
• handball (men)

• 19723
1956 Melbourne • Australian rules football (men)
• baseball (men)

• 19922
1960 Rome none  
1964 Tokyo • baseball (men)
• budō (men)
• 19922

1968 Mexico City • Basque pelota (men)
• tennis (men and women)

• 19884
1972 Munich • badminton (men and women)
• water skiing (men and women)
• 1992

1976 Montreal none  
1980 Moscow none  
1984 Los Angeles • baseball (men)
• tennis (men and women)
• 19922
• 19884
1988 Seoul • badminton (men and women)
• baseball (men)
• bowling (men and women)
• judo (women)
• taekwondo (men and women)
• 1992
• 19922

• 1992
• 2000
1992 Barcelona • Basque pelota (men and women)
• roller hockey (men)
• taekwondo (men and women)


• 2000
1996 Atlanta none  
2000 Sydney none  
2004 Athens none  
2008 Beijing none5  
2012 London none  
2016 Rio de Janeiro none6  
2021 Tokyo • Sumo (men)7  
  • 1 Although demonstration sports were "officially" introduced only in 1912, at the first Olympics some sports competitions were held simultaneously to the games, and today are considered "unofficial" or demonstration sports as well.
  • 2 Removed from Olympic program after 2008.
  • 3 Was part of the program in 1936.
  • 4 Was part of the program between 1896 and 1924.
  • 5 The IOC permitted a parallel Wushu competition to be run (Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008), but this was not an official demonstration sport.
  • 6 The IOC permitted a parallel esports competition to be run (known as the eGames), but this was not an official demonstration sport.
  • 7 Though not explicitly listed as an demonstration sport, the Japan Sumo Association will hold a special two-day exhibition tournament between the Olympics and Paralympics as part of a larger official Olympics cultural festival.

Classification of Olympic sports for revenue share

Summer Olympic sports are divided into categories based on popularity, gauged by: television viewing figures (40%), Internet popularity (20%), public surveys (15%), ticket requests (10%), press coverage (10%), and number of national federations (5%). The category determines the share the sport's International Federation receives of Olympic revenue.

The current categories, as of 2013, are as follows, with the pre-2013 categorizations also being available. Category A represents the most popular sports; category E lists either the sports that are the least popular or that are new to the Olympics (golf and rugby).

Category Individual Sport Team Sport
A athletics, aquatics, gymnastics ——
B cycling, tennis basketball, football, volleyball
C archery, badminton, boxing, judo, rowing
shooting, table tennis, weightlifting
——
D canoe/kayaking, equestrian, fencing,
sailing, taekwondo, triathlon, wrestling
handball, field hockey
E modern pentathlon, golf rugby
 
 

 

 

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