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Ironman Triathlon, the World's Fittest Sport

ESPN held a competition to determine the World's Greatest Athlete. Using a similar format, we decided to hold our own competition, but this time compare the sports themselves rather than the athletes, to determine which sport is the world's most demanding sport.

Starting from an initial list of 32 sports, each sport went head to head in an online vote, before only one sport was left. Read about each matchup and voting results.


It could be argued that many sports are worthy of the title of the world's fittest sport. The results of a few similar sports comparisons, testing and analysis came up with the sports of boxing, skiing and squash as the owners of the title of the World's Fittest Sport. Comments that we have had to the ESPN greatest sport poll have suggested that motorsports should be number one. On our original poll using only a limited number of sports: What do you think is the world's fittest sport? soccer and AFL were sports to also rate highly. Using information from all these sources, we came up with this list of 32 sports from which the World's Fittest was determined.

Below are the 32 sports (in alphabetical order) which were compared in our online competition to find the world most fittest sport, and now in the single poll - Which Sport Is The Most Physically Demanding?

  1. Badminton
  2. Baseball
  3. Basketball
  4. Boxing
  5. Cycling (Road)
  6. Cycling (Mountain Bike)
  7. Formula1
  8. Football (Aussie Rules)
  9. Football (American)
  10. Football (Soccer)
  11. Gymnastics (Artistic)
  12. Hockey (Ice)
  13. Hockey (Field)
  14. Lacrosse
  15. MMA
  16. Motocross
  17. Rowing
  18. Rugby
  19. Skiing (X-Country)
  20. Skiing (Downhill)
  21. Speed Skating
  22. Squash
  23. Surfing
  24. Swimming
  25. Team Handball
  26. Tennis
  27. Track and Field (Decathlon)
  28. Track and Field (Marathon)
  29. Triathlon (Ironman)
  30. Volleyball
  31. Water Polo
  32. Wrestling

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Lists Extra

Football/Soccer is clearly the world's most popular sport, and has the most popular athletes, but which sport has the fittest players (but not necessarily the greatest athlete). These players do not always earn the most. The best of the best have made it to our 7 Sporting Wonders Lists.

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