In July 2007, the International Olympic Committee adopted more flexible rules to add new Olympic sports. This has given renewed hope to many sports that have been on the waiting list for many years, such rugby, golf, karate, squash and roller sports. In 2009, Rugby and Golf were selected to make a comeback to the Olympic program for Rio in 2016. In 2013, wrestling was dropped from the core sports list, opening up a place for another sport to be included in the program, but later that year was surprisingly voted back on the list.
A new system was introduced, which consisted of 25 core sports with three “floating” sports. This new system was set to start from the Olympics from 2020. The cap of 28 sport was then lifted to a more flexibile model. However, it is not all good news, as all sports would be up for review after each Olympics. New sports will be included or others dropped by a simple majority vote (compared to currently requiring a 2/3’s majority).
List of 28 Sports
- Modern pentathlon
- Swimming (aquatics)
- Table tennis
- Track and field
- Weight lifting
There needs to be exceptional circumstances for a core sport to be dropped from the program, such as a drug scandal, corruption or a massive drop in popularity. There were 28 different sports on the program for the Beijing Games, which was reduced to 26 for London when baseball and softball were dropped from the program. In 2013, wrestling was dropped from the sports list (but reinstated later).
There are always new and ex-Olympic sports vying for a place on the Olympic program. Recently, the popular choices have included baseball and softball (joint bid), climbing, karate, roller sport, squash, wakeboard and wushu. Surfing, dancing, bowling and netball have also been considered. See our article about future Olympic sports for more details.
The Tokyo 2020 committee listed the following criteria for new sports: added value; youth appeal; attractiveness for TV, media and the general public; gender equality; minimum impact on the number of events and/or quotas, infrastructure and operational costs and complexity.
- Current List of Olympic Sports
- Future Olympic Sports
- Discontinued Olympic Sports
- POLL: Which summer Olympics sport should be dropped?
- POLL: Which sport should be next included in the 2020 Olympic Games?