Sports of the Olympic Games

At the first Olympic Games in 1896, there were nine sports contested. Since that time many sports have been added (and removed too) from the program. Only five sports have been contested at every summer Olympic Games since 1896: Athletics, Cycling, Fencing, Gymnastics and Swimming. In 2012 there was 26 sports contested, and in 2016 there will be 28 (see list). There are pages about the number of sports at each Olympiad, and also the changes over time.

Recent Changes

After the 2008 Olympics the sports of Baseball and Softball were dropped from the program. In August 2009 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted on which two sports will be added to the program for Rio 2016. There was a list of seven sports that they chose from: golf, rugby union, roller sports, karate, softball, baseball and squash. They selected golf and rugby union.

Cycling Olympic PosterThere are many other possible new sports for future Games. In February 2013, wrestling was dropped from the core sports list, and joined with baseball and softball (joint bid), climbing, karate, roller sport, squash, wakeboard and wushu to attempt to gain a place on the program for 2020. In May 2013 the IOC cut Karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu from this list, leaving Baseball-softball, squash and wrestling to be shortlisted. Then in September 2013, they voted to return wrestling to the list of sports for the 2020 Olympic program.

2016 Summer Olympic Sports

(follow the links for more info about each sport)

Recently Added Sports

mountain climber

Recently Removed Sports

Previous Olympic Sports

(these are just some of the sports that have once been part of the Olympic program. More can be found on Discontinued Olympic Sports)

Ancient Olympics

These were the events at the ancient Olympic Games. There is more information on the Ancient Events page.

  • Boxing
  • Equestrian events: Chariot racing, Riding
  • Pankration
  • Pentathlon: Discus, Javelin, Jump, Running, Wrestling
  • Running
  • Wrestling

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