Olympic Games are an international sports event the world looks forward to. To know about the various sports that are a part of Summer and Winter Olympics, go through this list of Olympic sports.
Olympic Games – an international multi-sport event that hosts a variety of sports. It is one of the most important and immensely popular international events. Sports fans around the world wait for it. The Games are hosted in a different country every four years and every country awaits a chance to host them. Beijing hosted the event in 2008. In 2012, it was London. In 2016, it’s Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Today’s Olympic Games trace their roots to ancient Greek Olympics. In Ancient Greece, sports competitions were held as a means to please God Zeus. Over time, these games took an all new shape. They changed from amateur to professional and invited wide participation from many countries across the globe. Changing times added glamor to the event and brought commercialization to a considerable extent. Olympic Games had started small. Today, they are a big event the world awaits to witness. Olympic sports include the ones contested during Summer Olympics as also those contested during Winter Olympics. Let’s look at a list of those.
Summer Olympic Games include 26 sports with 39 disciplines. Winter Olympic Games comprise 7 sports with 15 disciplines. Each Olympic sport or discipline consists of a distinct number of events, which may vary.
Summer Olympic Sports
It was introduced in the Summer Olympic Games in 1900. The International Archery Federation regulates this Olympic sport. After the London Olympics in 1908, archery was dropped from the Olympic sports list. In 1920, it was back. This sport consists of four events, namely, men’s individual, men’s team, women’s individual and women’s team.
When the modern Olympic movement originated at the 1896 Summer Olympics, athletics became a part of the Summer Olympic Games. Several men’s and women’s athletic events have been a part of this sport. Athletics includes track and field, racewalking and road running events. 100 to 10,000 meter races, hurdle races, relay races, 20 and 50km walks, marathon races, long jump, high jump, triple jump, pole vault, shot put, decathlon, discus throw, javelin throw and hammer throw come under athletics.
This sport has been divided into four disciplines, namely, diving, swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo. The International Swimming Federation regulates these disciplines.
It was first introduced in the 1904 Games of St. Louis and is a part of Summer Olympics since then. It was a male-dominated sport until 1912. Women divers participated for the first time in 1912. China was allowed to compete for the first time in 1984. Diving consists of Springboard, Platform, Synchronized Springboard and Synchronized Platform, for both men and women. Athletes dive from as high as 10m above water.
It has always been a part of the modern Summer Olympics and has been among the most popular sports. It is also one among sports with the largest number of events. 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m and 1500m Freestyle, Butterfly, Breaststroke and Backstroke (100m and 200m), 200m and 400m Individual Medley, 10km Marathon, 4x100m and 4x200m Freestyle Relay and 4x100m Medley Relay are among the men’s events in swimming. Women’s events comprise the same set, except for 800m Freestyle which is 1500m for men.
Included in the Summer Olympics since 1984, synchronized swimming is contested as a duet and team event. It includes women’s team and women’s duet events. It is among the two sports only contested by women. As the name suggests, this sport needs great coordination skills.
Since 1900, this sport has been a part of Summer Olympics. But, until 2000 it included only men. Women’s Water Polo was introduced only in the 2000 Olympics at Sydney. Of the first five water polo tournaments in Olympics, four were won by Great Britain.
It was introduced in the Summer Olympics during the 1992 Olympic Games at Barcelona where 4 badminton events comprising singles and doubles for men and women were held. The mixed doubles event was added in 1996. The Badminton World Federation is in charge of this Olympic sport. In badminton, China has been the most successful.
Basketball was held as a demonstration sports event in 1904. Since 1936, it is a part of the Summer Olympic Games. The first tournament was held outdoors on a court made of sand. Men’s basketball appeared in 1936, while women’s event was introduced much later, which was in 1976. The United States’ men’s and women’s teams have dominated the sport for long.
Since 1904, boxing has been a part of the Summer Olympics. It was excluded from the 1912 Games held in Stockholm, Sweden, because Swedish law banned this sport. Till 2008, only men’s boxing events were included. For the first time in 2012, women participated in the sport. Light Fly, Fly, Bantam, Light, Light Welter, Welter, Middle, Light Heavy, Heavy and Super Heavy are included in the men’s boxing events while women’s events include Fly, Light and Middle.
Paddling a canoe is known as canoeing. It is classified into two disciplines, flatwater and slalom. The two types of boats used in this sport are canoes with canoers or kayaks with 1, 2 or 4 kayakers. Men’s events include Kayak Single (200m and 1000m), Kayak Double (200m and 1000m), Kayak Four (1000m), Canoe Single (200m and 1000m) and Canoe Double (1000m), while women’s events include Kayak Single (200m and 500m), Kayak Double (500m) and Kayak Four (500m). The Canoe Sprint 200m race was introduced in the 2012 London Olympics.
This Olympic sport is contested as a group of four disciplines, namely, BMX, mountain biking, road cycling and track cycling. Cycling is a part of the Summer Olympic games since 1896. That year, it was in the form of an 87km race. Road cycling was not a part of the 1900, 1904 and 1908 Olympic Games. It has returned to the Olympic sports list in 1912. Women have been participating in the sport since 1984. There are men’s and women’s events for each discipline of cycling. Road cycling comprises Individual Time Trial and Road Race for both men and women. Similarly, mountain biking and BMX have both men’s and women’s events.
It became a part of the Summer Olympics in 1900 and has been contested till date except for the 1912 Olympics when it was excluded. Dressage, Jumping and Eventing are the three disciplines of Equestrianism. It is one of the only two Olympic sports that involve animals. As a rule, the horses used for Dressage and Eventing should be at least 8 years old and those used for Jumping should be at least 9 years old. The three disciplines are divided into two categories, namely, Individual and Team.
Ever since the modern Olympic movement began, fencing is a part of Summer Olympics. It is done with the help of one of these three weapons: a foil, an epee or a sabre. Fencing is contested in the form of individual and team events for men and women.
It became a part of the Olympics in 1908 after which it was removed in 1924. However, it was brought back to Olympics in the very next Summer Olympic Games in 1928. India and Pakistan were Olympic champions in hockey. Women’s hockey was held for the first time in 1980.
It has been a part of every Olympiad except for the years 1896 and 1932. It used to be a men’s sport. In 1900, it was introduced as a medal sport. Women’s football was introduced in 1996.
It is divided into three forms, which comprise the disciplines of this sport. Artistic, Rhythmic and Trampoline gymnastics are the three disciplines. Artistic gymnastics includes events like Floor Exercise, Vault, Parallel Bars, Horizontal Bar and Rings, among others, for men and women. Rhythmic gymnastics consists of individual and team events for women while trampoline includes individual events for men and women. For the first 32 years after its introduction, only men were allowed to participate. In 1928, women took part in artistic gymnastics for the very first time. Rhythmic gymnastics made a debut during the 1984 Summer Olympics. Trampolining was introduced in the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Handball is considered to be one of the oldest sports. It debuted in the 1936 Summer Olympics after which it was excluded. After a long gap of 36 years, it reappeared in 1972. Women’s handball was introduced in 1976.
It became a part of Summer Olympics as a medal sport in 1964. Till 1988, only men were included and women took part in the demonstration sport. Female judoka were recognized for the first time in 1992.
Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Games introduced modern pentathlon to Summer Olympics. It is a blend of five disciplines, namely, epee fencing, pistol shooting, show jumping on horseback, 3km cross-country running and 200m freestyle swimming. It was introduced in the Stockholm Olympics held in 1912. Women participated for the first time in this sport during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Since the Summer Olympics of 1900, rowing is a part of Olympic events. Women’s events were introduced in 1976 and lightweight-rowing events began in 1996. Interestingly, rowing is the only sport where the finish line is crossed backwards.
This sport debuted at the Summer Olympics of Paris in 1900. Except for 1904 when it was excluded, sailing has always appeared on the Olympic sports list. Before the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the sport was called yachting.
Since the origin of the modern Olympic movement, shooting has always been a part of Olympic games. It was excluded in 1904 and in 1928.
Dominated by the Chinese, table tennis became a part of Summer Olympics in 1988. Singles and doubles for men and women are the events included in this discipline. During the early 20th century, the Soviet Union had banned this sport considering that it was harmful to one’s eyes.
After being a demonstration sport in 1988 and 1992, Taekwondo found a place in the list of Olympic sports in the Summer Olympics of 2000.
Tennis is a part of the Summer Olympics since 1896. After being excluded in 1924 and being played as a demonstration sport twice, it reappeared in 1988. Tennis comprises men’s and women’s singles and doubles as also mixed doubles.
It was introduced during the Summer Olympics in 2000. The International Triathlon Union is in charge of the management and regulation of this sport. It includes men’s and women’s events. Brigitte McMahon from Switzerland and Simon Whitfield from Canada were the first Olympic Triathlon champions.
This Olympic sport has two disciplines, namely, beach volleyball and indoor volleyball. Both have events for men and women. Indoor volleyball was introduced during the Summer Olympics of 1964 while beach volleyball debuted in the 1996 Games. United States has dominated this sport.
It made its first appearance in the Summer Olympics in 1896 and reappeared in 1904. It is a part of the Olympic Games since the Summer Olympics of 1920. Since then, there has been a defined set of weight classes with weight limits for each. The classes and weight limits have changed over time. The one interesting rule that remains is, in case of a tie the lifter with lesser body weight wins.
It is a part of Summer Olympic Games since the modern Olympic movement began. It consists of events for both men and women. It is one of the oldest sports and was first included in the Ancient Olympics held in 708 BC. The longest wrestling match in the Olympic history was the one between Martin Klein (Russia) and Alfred Asikainen (Finland) during the Stockholm Olympics of 1912. It had lasted for 11 long hours!
Winter Olympic Sports
The men’s individual event of 20km first appeared in the 1960 Olympic Games. Men’s relay was introduced in 1968 while the sprint event of Biathlon debuted in the Winter games of 1980. Women debuted in the 15km individual event and sprint in 1992. Military patrol, one of the events of Biathlon became a medal event in 1924.
It is an Olympic sport that consists of two disciplines, namely, bobsleigh and skeleton. Here’s more about the two.
Bobsleigh: It was introduced in the Winter Olympics in 1924. It comprises the four-man and two-man events as also the two-woman events.
Skeleton: It was included in the Winter Olympics of 1928 and 1948, after which it was excluded from the Olympic Games. It reappeared in 2002. It includes events for both men and women.
It debuted in the Winter Olympic games in 1924. It was contested as a demonstration sport in 1932 and was added to the official Olympic program in 1998.
It was a part of the Summer Olympics since 1920 but was transferred to the Winter Olympic Games in 1924. Since 1998, women’s ice hockey is also a part of the Olympic event.
Included in the Winter Olympics since 1964, luge consists of events for both men and women as also mixed doubles. Luge is a racing sled for one or two people. It is also the name of an Olympic sport that belongs to the class of sliding sports. It is a very precisely timed sport as players are timed to one thousandth of a second. It’s also considered as a dangerous sport.
Skating that is enlisted as one of the popular Olympic sports is classified into three disciplines, namely, figure skating, short track speed skating and speed skating. Here’s more on them.
In 1908, it was a part of the Summer Olympics. However, since 1924, this sport is a part of the Winter Olympic Games.
Governed by the International Skating Union, it is included in the list of Winter Olympic Games since 1924. Women’s events were introduced in 1960.
Short Track Speed Skating
After being a demonstration game in 1988, it earned an official entry into the list of Winter Olympic sports in 1992. It comprises both men’s and women’s events.
It is a group of sports including disciplines like alpine, cross-country and freestyle skiing as also snowboarding, ski jumping and Nordic combined.
Alpine Skiing: It was introduced in the Winter Olympics in 1936. It consists of combined downhill and slalom events for both men and women.
Cross-country Skiing: It is a part of Winter Olympics since 1924. Women’s events were introduced only in 1952.
Freestyle Skiing: After being a demonstration game at the Winter Olympics of 1988, it is an official part of the Olympic Games since the 1992 Winter Games.
Nordic Combined: These events are a part of the Winter Olympics since 1924. It has often been contested as a pair of two sports, namely cross-country skiing and ski jumping.
Ski Jumping: Starting from 1924, till 1956 ski jumping involved jumping from a hill. The jump’s length varied every time. It was only in 1960 that the height of the hill to jump from, was standardized to 80m.
It is being contested since the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. It consists of events for both men and women. It is the only sport which had not been a demonstration or medal event before its inclusion in the Olympic Games.
It’s been years since Olympics began. They have a long history and many interesting stories to tell; of successes and failures, inclusions and deletions, among many more. Their lasting popularity is a promise of their evolution into something grander.