Demonstration and Unofficial Sports at the Olympics
It is fascinating the large number and variety of sports that have at one time been part of the Olympic Games, either as official or unofficial demonstration (exhibition) sports.
Up until recently, most Olympic Games have had a variety of demonstration sports held as part of the Games, held at the same time as official sports but not eligible for medals. Atthe first few Games, there were many sporting contests held at the same time, but not all have been given Olympic status.
There are some interesting sports that were included as demonstration sports at the Olympic Games, some later becoming part of the official program (such as baseball), others disappearing from world sport althgether (as maybe they should). Some of the more unusual sports include taxi and delivery van racing and cannon shooting in 1900. See the complete list of demonstration sports. See also our list of demonstration sports at the Winter Olympics.
Demonstration sports were not "officially" introduced until 1912, though before then some sports competitions were held simultaneously to the games, and today are considered "unofficial" or demonstration sports as well. A well known example is Pigeon Shooting in 1900.
Originally, demonstration sports and events were included to showcase sports or events which were unique to the country hosting the Games, but recently they were often used as a stepping stone in the application for consideration as a future Olympic medal sport. In 1989, the IOC voted to disallow unofficial demonstration events at Olympics, starting with the 1996 Games.
These days, specific rules that must be followed in order for a sport to be accepted as part of the official program. That means unfortunately for some, fortunately for others, many of the sports described on this website will never be seen again on the world's stage.
- List of Demonstration Sports (summer sports, sorted by alphabetical order)
- List of Demonstration Sports (summer sports, sorted by year)
- List of Demonstration Sports (winter sports)
- Read about Anthropology Days - early scientific experiments with natives that were part of the History of the Olympics.
- list of discontinued sports
- If you are searching for more information, see the Resources section or try these Books on Olympic History.
- For information about sports currently on the Olympic program, see the Olympic Games Summer Sports and Winter Sports pages.
- Try our Discontinued Olympic Events Quiz as part of the Olympic Games Quiz Questions.
- Read about other major World Sporting Events.
- Read the Olympics entries on the sporting blog.
- Olympic symbols and images in the clipart section.
- Videos of Olympic Games Discontinued Sports and Demonstration Sports.
- The Olympic Poodle Clipping event in 1900 did not happen.
- Unusual Sports and New Sports
- Olympic Games fun