Many sports have been added (and withdrawn) from the program since then. Since 1896, just five sports have been competed at each summerOlympic Games: Athletics, Cycling, Fencing, Gymnastics, and Swimming. There were 26 sports played in 2012, 28 in 2016, and 33 in 2020.
The only winter games to include every single sport are the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York and the 1980 Winter Olympics in Moscow.
Of the non-Olympic sports, only two have been included in every single Summer and Winter Olympics since their inception: Athletics and Swimming. Neither of them is considered major by most experts.
Athletics was originally planned as a demonstration event at the 1948 London Olympics, but which became an official sport later that year. It remains so today, with events for men and women held over two days. The 100m race is the only one still used at the modern Olympics, but there are also long jump, high jump, pole vault, triple jump, shot put, and hammer throw competitions.
Swimming was introduced at the 1900 Paris Olympics and remains one of the most popular sports at these games. It is known for its simplicity and ease of learning. All you need is a body of water and a lane in which to swim. Events can either be individual or team, depending on the type of competition.
In 1920, a sixth sport, Baseball/Basketball, was added to the program.
Athletics is by far the most popular sport at these events, with athletes in track and field competitions accounting for nearly two-thirds of all participants. Next most common are cyclists and fencers (each around 10%). The remaining sports range from a few participants each to those who have never won an Olympic medal: Golf, Wrestling, Rowing, Sailing, and Skiing.
All forms of athletics are held on different levels, called "events". There are three types of events: individual, team, and relays. In individual events, only one athlete competes per race. On the other hand, teams consist of four athletes who compete as one unit. Relays are combinations of two or more individuals who run or swim together as a group of four or more people. Each country can enter up to six athletes in each event, but often only four or five will actually compete. The exceptions are places where there is no limit on the number of entrants.
Sports of the Olympic Games In 2012, there were 26 sports contested, increasing to 28 in 2016, and 33 in 2020. This number is given by the increase in the number of spots available for competition.
There are two ways to compete in an Olympic sport: individually or in a team. Each athlete participates in one individual event and then one group event. For example, an athlete might be able to swim 100 meters (0.9 miles) in heat 1, but only 150 meters (1.5 miles) in heat 2. We will assume for this lesson that heat 1 is on day 1 and heat 2 is on day 2. The athlete would like to win both events so they practice more aggressively in their best events.
We can calculate the number of possible outcomes for each event using a combination formula. There are 6 competitors in our example so we need to multiply 6C2 which equals 36. We can divide this number by 2 because we are interested in the total number of outcomes rather than the number of different outcomes. There are therefore 72 possible results for each event.
It may seem like a lot of work to calculate all these possibilities but it gets much easier if we use some special methods.
The Summer Olympic Games in 2000 featured 300 events in the following 28 sports: Diving in the Sea (8) Swimming synchronized (2) swimming (32) swimming (32) swimming (32) scuba diving (32) swimming (3rd) Polo sur l'eau Archery (4) Sporting events (46) Table tennis (5) Ballgames (1) Basketball (2) Sport of boxing (12) Volleyball (13) Beach soccer (1) Squash (4) Tennis (6) Handball (5) Ice hockey (2) Inline skating (1)
The most popular sport at the 2000 Olympics was undoubtedly swimming, which included three of the four fastest growing sports at the time. It accounted for 25% of all gold medals awarded in these games. Second was diving (sea), with eight gold medals awarded. Other popular sports were archery, basketball, beach soccer, boxig, ice hockey, and inline skating. There were also two mixed martial arts matches held during this event.
These results are based on the number of gold medals won by a sport. If you count silver and bronze medals too, then swimming wins out again with 29 medals total. Baseball/Basketball is next with 13 medals, followed by rowing/canoeing with 12 medals.
Croquet, cricket, jeu de paume, pelota, polo, roque, rackets, tug-of-war, lacrosse, and motor boating have all been dropped from the calendar since the inaugural modern Olympic Games in 1896.
Lacrosse was supposed to make its debut at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, but the event was cancelled due to low numbers registered for this "non-contact" sport. Although no official decision has ever been made, many believe that this may have been the last time that lacrosse would have appeared at an Olympic games.
However, this did not stop the International Lacrosse Federation (ILF) from continuing to organize international tournaments throughout the 1940's and 1950's. The first such tournament after the Olympics was held in 1945, just three years after the last game was played at those events. The 1952 Helsinki Games are considered the first World Championships in Lacrosse. The first American National Championship was also held in 1952, with Johns Hopkins winning their first title ever.
After these early successes, lacrosse began to decline in popularity. There were calls during the 1960's to include it in the program of the next Olympics, but they were never acted upon. By the time of the 1972 Munich Games, only 15 countries had teams entered in the tournament.
The Summer Olympic Games in 1996 featured 271 events across 26 sports. Softball, beach volleyball, and mountain biking joined women's football, lightweight rowing, women's fencing, and a team rhythmic gymnastics event on the Olympic program. Hardball baseball was scheduled to make its debut at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing but was removed after concerns about China's baseball development program.
Olympic softball debuted at the Atlanta Games in 1996. Previously, softball had been an exhibition game at most international games.
Beach volleyball made its Olympic debut at the 2004 Athens Games. Mountain biking also made its debut at Athens. Both events were part of the Olympic cycling program. Before these events were added to the Olympic schedule, cycling had been limited to road racing, time trials, and individual pursuits. Since 1964 when it first appeared at the Olympics, tennis has been the only sport that does not include any form of ball play in its events.
Rhythmic gymnastics makes its Olympic debut at the 2012 London Games. This is the only sport on the program where individuals from different countries can compete against each other because there are no rules regarding what type of music or dance can be performed as part of the routine. As with traditional gymnastics, there is a balance beam, horizontal bar, rope climb, and vaulting horse for men and women to use during their performances.