Past Sports of 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 sports.
Since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, as many as twelve sports have disappeared completely from the schedule. These are croquet, cricket, Jeu de Paume, pelota, polo, roque, rackets, tug-of-war, lacrosse, baseball, softball, and motor boating. The Winter Olympics also has a few sports and events that have been discontinued.
The most recent sports to become discontinued are baseball and softball which were dropped from the 2012 Games. This was the first time in 69 years that a sport itself had been removed from the Olympic program, with the previously dropped sport polo removed in 1936.
Added to this is a large number of discontinued events from sports that are still on the program, such as the swimming events of plunge for distance and underwater swimming, the track and field events of the standing highjump and tug-of-war, and the shooting events of pigeon shooting and dueling pistol. There are many more, you can have a look at the complete list of all discontinued sports, or my list of some the more unusual sports.
In the past, the host country often included their own sports. Some of the discontinued events were simply updated to metric distances or modified into the well-known events of today, especially in track and field and swimming.
There are also some interesting sports that were included as demonstration sports at the Olympic Games, some eventually becoming part of the official program, others disappearing as maybe they should. See more about demonstration sports and the complete list of demo sports. There have also been demonstration sports at the Winter Olympics.
- 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.
- Unusual Sports and New Sports
- Olympic Games fun