Olympic sports

Archery competition held during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics. Dropped from the Olympic program after the 1920 Antwerp games, it was reinstated in 1972.

Olympic sports are contested in the Summer Olympic Games and Winter Olympic Games. The 2020 Summer Olympics included 33 sports;[1] the 2022 Winter Olympics will include seven sports.[2][3] Each Olympic sport is represented by an international governing body, namely an International Federation (IF).[4]

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) establishes a hierarchy of sports, disciplines, and events.[4] According to this hierarchy, each Olympic sport can be subdivided into multiple disciplines, which are often mistaken as distinct sports. Examples include swimming and water polo, which are in fact disciplines of the sport of "Aquatics" (represented by the International Swimming Federation),[5] and figure skating and speed skating, which are both disciplines of the sport of "Ice skating" (represented by the International Skating Union).[6] In turn, disciplines are subdivided into events, for which Olympic medals are awarded.[4] The number and types of events may change slightly from one Olympiad to another. A sport or discipline is included in the Olympic program if the IOC determines it to be widely practiced around the world, that is, the popularity of a given sport or discipline is indicated by the number of countries that compete in it.[a]

Previous Olympic Games included sports that are no longer included in the current program, such as polo and tug of war.[7] Known as "discontinued sports", these have been removed due to either a lack of interest or the absence of an appropriate governing body for the sport.[4] Some sports that were competed at the early Games and later dropped by the IOC, have managed to return to the Olympic program, for example archery, which made a comeback in 1972, and tennis, which was reintroduced in 1988. The Olympics have often included one or more demonstration sports, normally to promote a local sport from the host country or to gauge interest in an entirely new sport.[8] Some such sports, like baseball and curling, were added to the official Olympic program (in 1992 and 1998, respectively). Baseball was discontinued after the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, only to be revived again for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which saw the introduction of new disciplines within a number of existing Summer Olympic sports as well as several new sports, such as karate and skateboarding, making their Olympic debuts. Breakdancing will make its debut at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

  1. ^ Bruner, Raisa (24 March 2020). "Everything You Need to Know About the 2020 Summer Olympics". Time magazine. Retrieved 16 September 2021. The 2020 Summer Olympics will award medals across 339 events, representing 33 different sports.
  2. ^ Merrell, Chloe (17 August 2021). "Beijing 2022: Here's what you need to know about the next Winter Olympic Games". olympics.com. International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 16 September 2021. A total of 109 medal events across seven Olympic winter sports will be held...
  3. ^ "Olympic Sports". olympic.org. International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d "Olympic Sports, Disciplines & Events". HickokSports.com. 4 February 2005. Archived from the original on 18 April 2007. Retrieved 18 March 2007.
  5. ^ "Aquatics". olympic.org. International Olympic Committee. Archived from the original on 25 March 2007. Retrieved 6 April 2007.
  6. ^ "Skating". olympic.org. International Olympic Committee. Archived from the original on 19 February 2007. Retrieved 6 April 2007.
  7. ^ "Olympic Sports of the Past". olympic.org. International Olympic Committee. Archived from the original on 7 March 2007. Retrieved 6 April 2007.
  8. ^ Wood, Robert (2010). "Demonstration, Exhibition and Unofficial Sports at the Olympics". TopendSports.com. Retrieved 15 September 2021.


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