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The Most Olympic Sport Articles in 2004

The most popular world sport as measured by other methods is soccer, which is also very popular at the Olympics, though swimming and athletics reach their peak in popularity at the Olympics and give soccer some competition. In 2004, based on newspaper articles, athletics was clearly the most popular.

This data is from the 2004 Olympic Games. Since then, after the 2008 Olympics the sports of Baseball and Softball were dropped from the program and in 2016 golf and rugby are set to return. See also the analysis of traffic to the IOC website and the ranking of most widely played Olympic Sport based on the number of National Federations.

The table below uses data from the Olympic Program Commission, Report to the 117th IOC Session from 24 May 2005. The data presented is the average number of articles per publication for a period of two weeks before the Games, during the Games and a further two weeks after the Athens 2004 Olympic Games (from 30 July to 12 September 2004 inclusive). The sample was 67 publications from 25 countries that were selected to be representative of the global coverage.

The sport with the most articles published, and therefore the most popular Olympic Sport by this measure, is by a long way Athletics (Track and Field), and this does not include articles related to race walking and the marathon. Swimming is second with Soccer third. Artistic gymnastics was fourth on the list, though the other gymnastics disciplines of Rhythmic and Trampoline were at the bottom of the list. If all of these were included as one figure for gymnastics, it would have moved up to third position.

Number of articles published during the 2004 Olympics

rank Federation Sport Sub-Sport Articles
1 IAAF Athletics Track and field 1987
2 FINA Aquatics Swimming 1135
3 FIFA Football (Soccer)   633
4 FIG Gymnastics Artistic 598
5 FIBA Basketball   584
6 IJF Judo   436
7 ITF Tennis   356
8 IAAF Athletics Marathon 328
9 IWF Weightlifting   325
10 ISAF Sailing   307
11 FIH Field Hockey   303
12 AIBA Boxing   300
13 FISA Rowing   299
14 UCI Cycling Track 295
15 ISSF Shooting   267
16 FIVB Volleyball Indoor 248
17 FINA Aquatics Diving 243
18 IBAF Baseball   207
19 FIE Fencing   198
20 UCI Cycling Road 196
21 ICF Canoeing Flatwater 195
22 FIVB Volleyball Beach 186
23 FINA Aquatics Water Polo 177
24 IHF Handball   176
25 FITA Archery   150
26 ISF Softball   150
27 FILA Wrestling Freestyle 135
28 IAAF Athletics Race walking 125
29 ITTF Table Tennis   122
30 FEI Equestrian Eventing 117
31 FILA Wrestling Greco-Roman 99
32 IBF Badminton   96
33 FINA Aquatics Synchro 95
34 ITU Triathlon   87
35 WTF Taekwondo   80
36 ICF Canoeing Slalom 72
37 FEI Equestrian Dressage 72
38 FEI Equestrian Jumping 64
39 UCI Cycling Mountain Bike 55
40 UIPM Modern Pentathlon   54
41 FIG Gymnastics Rhythmic 51
42 FIG Gymnastics Trampoline 32

Reference: IOC - Olympic Program Commission, Report to the 117th IOC Session, 24 May 2005.

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