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 were 26 sports contested, and in 2016 there was 28, and 33 are scheduled for 2020 (see list). In addition to the official sports on the program, there are other recognized sports that are set for possible inclusion in the future. See also the 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 the two sports to 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. In 2015, further voting was held for the inclusion of more sports.

2020 Summer Olympic Sports

(follow the links for more info about each sport)

Recently Added Sports

Recently Removed Sports

Possible New 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


Related Pages

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Olympics Extra

The next Olympic Games will be the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, followed by the Winter Olympics 2022 in Beijing. Check out the list of Olympic Games sports, as well as discontinued and demonstration sports.

Major Events Extra

The largest sporting event in the world is the Olympic Games, but there are many other multi-sport games. In terms of single sport events, nothing beats the FIFA World Cup. To see what's coming up, check out the calendar of major sporting events.

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