Summer Olympics Sports List

summer olympic sports

There are currently 49 sports in the Summer Olympic Games. New sports are being added to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, while others are being removed. Here’s a complete list of sports in the Summer Olympics.

Current Summer Olympic Sports

3x3 Basketball

Basketball 3x3

New to the Summer Olympics in 2020, 3x3 basketball takes place on a half-court, similar to half-court basketball played across the world. Eight men’s and eight women’s teams qualify for the Olympic tournament, and games are played to 21, or whoever has the highest score after 10 minutes of play. Overtime will be played if the score is tied after 10 minutes. The first team to score two points in overtime is declared the winner. There is no jump ball in Olympic 3x3 basketball; instead, a coin will be flipped to decide the first possession. The shot clock is set at 12 seconds in Olympic play. Scoring also differs from normal basketball; shots within the typical three-point line are only worth one point, and baskets made from outside of the line are worth two. This is a fast-paced sport that can be incredibly exciting to watch. 



Through the centuries, archery has evolved from a survival technique into more of a recreational and competitive sport. The sport demands extreme accuracy and comfort with a bow. Archery events debuted in the Olympics in 1900. Today, Olympic archery consists of both individual and team events. Participants shoot a varying number of arrows, depending on the event and round, at a target from 70 meters away. The target is 122 centimeters in diameter, with 10 scoring rings divided into five colors. Every color includes two rings which each have different point values. The central gold rings score 10 or nine points when hit, the red rings score eight or seven points, the blue rings score six or five points, the black rings score four or three points, and the white rings score two or one point. If the target is missed altogether, no points will be awarded. 

Artistic Gymnastics

Artistic Gymnastics

The origin of artistic gymnastics came from the Ancient Greeks, who believed this practice was the “perfect symmetry between mind and body.” The emergence of male gymnastics came at the very first Olympics in 1896, and later, in 1928, female gymnastics also joined the program. Both include individual, all-around, and team events. Men’s events include floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, and horizontal bar. The women’s events are the vault, uneven bars, vault, and floor. Judges score the events based on the difficulty and execution of each technique.

Artistic Swimming

artistic swimming

Artistic swimming, also known as “synchronized swimming,” is a women’s sport originally added to the Olympic games in 1984. In 2020, artistic swimming was offered in both a duet and a team event, with each team performing a technical and free routine. The performers are scored by three panels of judges, with each panel consisting of five judges. Each panel scores separate aspects of the performance, with different panels scoring the execution, choreography, and the required elements of the performances. The combination of water acrobatics, music, and well-thought-out choreography, makes artistic swimming a highly entertaining sport to watch and participate in. 



Athletics is the largest sport discipline at the Olympics, consisting of 48 total events. Male and female athletics events are almost identical to one another. The events are divided into track, field, road, decathlon, and heptathlon events. Athletics events entail numerous different skills including running, jumping, walking, and throwing. This sport dates back to the ancient Olympic games, and has been a part of the modern Olympic program since 1896. 



Badminton is played by both men and women, and in both singles and doubles events. The sport was first included in the Summer Olympics program in 1992, and has been captivating fans and players ever since. In Olympic badminton, all events are played in a best-of-three games format, with each game played to 21 points. Games must be won by a margin of two points. However, if a score of 29-29 is reached, the first to get to 30 points is declared the winner. A rally points system is used; this means that whichever side wins the rally gets a point and serves the next rally. Points are scored when the shuttlecock hits the ground on the opponent’s half of the court, if a shot goes outside of the court’s boundaries, or if an athlete hits the birdie twice in a row. Recently, badminton has been dominated by many Asian countries; however, the game’s popularity developed in England.



The Summer Olympics includes both men and women’s basketball competitions. Basketball became a part of the Summer Olympics in 1936, and has been watched and enjoyed around the world ever since. Two teams of five vigorously compete to score the most baskets in the allotted 40 minutes of regulation time, which is divided into 10-minute quarters. Baskets made outside of the three-point arc are worth three points, while baskets within the arc are worth two. Free throws are always worth one point each. Olympic basketball follows FIBA rules and regulations, with the shot clock set to 24 seconds and a limit of five fouls per player, per game. Both men’s and women’s basketball are rather simple to pick up on when tuning into the Olympic Games.

Beach Volleyball

beach volleyball

What started out as a leisure activity in beach volleyball has now turned into a highly-entertaining and competitive Olympic sport. Beach volleyball is played on a sand-covered court with two players on each team. Each game is played in a best-of-three set format, and teams must win each set by two points. The first two sets are played to 25 points, and the third set is played to 15 points. Beach volleyball uses a rally points scoring system, meaning that each rally is worth one point and the winner of the rally will serve the next. Both men and women’s beach volleyball joined the Olympics in 1996. 

BMX Freestyle

BMX Freestyle

BMX freestyle made its debut in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. BMX freestyle features riders riding and jumping over obstacles such as rails, jumps, and walls. Competitors participate in two 60-second runs in which they are scored based on factors such as creativity, difficulty, execution, and originality. Both scores are averaged together, and the highest score gets to go last in the final round. Some common tricks performed on a BMX bike are tailwhips, backflips, and bar turns.

BMX Racing

BMX Racing

BMX racing is a form of cycling in which athletes race for the best time through a challenging track consisting of jumps and quick turns. Athletes wear full-face helmets, goggles, and gloves to protect them throughout the highly competitive, contact sport. BMX racing includes both men’s and women’s events, with each racing consisting of a maximum of eight riders. The sport made its first appearance at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, making it a relatively new Olympic sport. 



Boxing is a combat sport in which two competitors compete against one another, attempting to land hand strikes to their opponent’s head and torso. Boxers must have a sound understanding of both offensive and defensive tactics. The sport’s roots date back to the Ancient Olympic Games, but its official debut in the Modern Olympics came in 1904. Since 2012, Olympic boxing has featured events for both men and women. Olympic competition is split into eight weight classes for men, and five for women. Each match lasts three rounds and is judged by five judges, although matches can also frequently end by knockout or disqualification. Boxing is a highly competitive, vigourous, and physically taxing sport that requires athletes to embody mental and physical toughness to hit their opponent, while avoiding being hit themselves.

Canoe Slalom

canoe slalom

Canoe slalom is performed in a canoe or kayak, and the athlete’s goal is to navigate the fastest through a course consisting of both upstream and downstream gates in whitewater rapids. Competitors must pass through each gate without making contact with it; downstream gates are colored green and upstream gates are colored red. If an athlete touches a gate, they will be penalized by having two seconds added to their time. If they miss a gate altogether, fifty seconds will be added.  The sport initially debuted in the 1972 Summer Olympic Games. In 2020, canoe slalom featured four total events, the kayak single and canoe single for both men and women. Canoe slalom requires Olympic athletes to have extreme upper body strength, control, and endurance.

Canoe Sprint

Canoe Sprint

The canoe sprint, also known as canoe flatwater, is a dynamic sport in which athletes race through a flatwater course using either a canoe or kayak. In 2020, the sport had a total of 12 events for both men and women. These races are intense and can be performed over different distances ranging from 200 meters to 1000 meters. The Olympic canoe sprint is a fast-paced and entertaining sport in which athletes demonstrate extreme power, endurance, and skill.


olympic diving

Diving was originally used for gymnasts who were looking to practice their tumbling. Over time diving became a sport of its own, and a highly intriguing and impressive one at that. Diving currently has two disciplines on display at the Olympics, which are defined by the structure that divers jump off of: springboard and platform. Points are given to competitors on a 1-10 scale, with the main criteria covering various aspects of the dive, including aspects such as beauty of movement and lack of splash upon landing. Diving made its Olympic debut during the 1904 games held in St. Louis, and has since earned an expanded set of events in the Summer Olympics. In addition to standard diving, synchronized diving also joined the program in the 2000 Summer Olympics held in Sydney, Australia.

Equestrian Dressage

equestrian dressage

Equestrian dressage is known as the “highest form of horse training.” Dressage has been around for hundreds of years, with the first records of it dating back to 350 BC. Equestrian sports were first incorporated in the 1900 Olympic Games. This specific branch of equestrian sporting includes a horse and its trainer performing memorized actions in a performance-based style. In fact, many people actually compare dressage to ballet. Dressage events in the Olympics are scored by five judges who each give riders their score on a 0-10 scale, with zero representing the worst score and ten standing as the best possible score. Outside of this 0-10 format of grading, the five judges also hand out collective points for aspects of a performance such as pace, impulsion, submission, and position/form of the rider.

Equestrian Eventing

equestrian eventing

Equestrian eventing is known as the most profound and pressing of the equestrian sports in the Olympics. This sport combines jumping, dressage, and cross-country all into one event. Equestrian eventing was added to the Summer Olympic program in 1900, and has maintained its prestige and significance over the course of the last century. Eventing involves a complex scoring system, as the dressage, jumping, and cross country portions of this event all have their own scoring system. Equestrian eventing is a true show of skill in the world of equestrian sports, with horses and riders alike needing to master a wide variety of actions and abilities in order to succeed. 

Equestrian Jumping

equestrian jumping

Equestrian jumping is one of three different equestrian disciplines featured in the Summer Olympics. This sport originated when fences were built in the English countryside. Over time, equestrian jumping became a prestigious sport. Equestrian jumping was featured in the 1896 Olympic Games and in later years, women’s equestrian jumping was added in 1956. In Olympic competition, riders will accumulate penalty points during a timed round. At the end of the event, the rider with the least penalty points is deemed the winner. Different mistakes mid-match equate to a different number of penalty points given to the writer, with falling off your horse standing as the most highly penalized mistake a rider can make. This mishap will cost you a total of eight penalty points the first time a rider falls, and will result in elimination the second time the rider falls. 



Fencing’s origin comes from sword fighting and duels dating back to about 1190 BC. Through the years, this aggressive and thrilling sport began to be played recreationally. Fencing in the Summer Olympics includes both men’s and women’s competitions, different types of “weaponry,” and both single and team matches. The three different types of weaponry featured in Olympic fencing are foil, epée, and sabre. Each weapon has four events, with an individual and team event performed by both men and women. The team competition does not involve a large, group sword fight like you might imagine. Instead, team competitions involve nine different matches in which team members compete against individual’s on the opposing side one by one and attempt to reach a cumulative team score of 45. This 45 point total represents a victory, and each individual bout can earn the winner’s team five points.

Field Hockey

field hockey

Field hockey dates back to almost 2000 BC, making it one of the oldest known “stick and ball” sports played. Field hockey features 11 players on the field for each team at any given time. The objective of field hockey, like most other ball sports, is to score the most goals. Goals can only be scored off of shots taken within the striking circle, with each goal counting as one point. In 1908, men's field hockey joined the Summer Olympics, and, in 1980, women’s field hockey joined the program. This intense game has often been dominated by India’s men’s field hockey team.

Freestyle Wrestling

freestyle wrestling

With just the use of one’s body, wrestling is an intense and internationally known sport. Dating back to the Ancient Olympics in 708 BC, wrestling is thought to be one of the oldest competitive sports in the world. More recently, men’s and women’s wrestling has been included in an abundance of the Summer Olympic Games, in many different events. In one such event, freestyle wrestling, wrestlers are allowed to use both their arms and legs to grab and hold opponents both below and above their waists. The goal of freestyle wrestling is to secure a “fall” by pinning your opponent’s shoulders to the ground for one second, or by earning the most points from match scorers during the match. Freestyle wrestling was first incorporated in the Olympic Games back in 1904.

Greco-Roman Wrestling

greco roman wrestling

As opposed to using one’s whole body, Greco-Roman Wrestling uses just the upper body and arms in competition. This sport is currently only performed by men. Since the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, there have been seven weight categories for matches. The widely-acknowledged historical significance of Greco-Roman wrestling is a major factor as to why this discipline of wrestling is featured in the Olympics. In fact, Greco-Roman wrestling was featured during the first ever Olympics held in 1896 in Athens, Greece. A victory in Greco-Roman Wrestling is determined by holding your opponent's shoulders to the ground for one second or, in the event that neither wrestler can conclusively be determined the winner, a victor will be decided based on an accumulation of points given to wrestlers for various actions they perform during the match.



Interestingly, golf has only been featured in the Summer Olympic program three times. There are two formats of golf, stroke play and match play, for both men and women. Golf was featured for the first time since 1904 in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. It is a rather simple sport that has been around for over two centuries, centered on using a club (a metal stick with a head on the end) to hit a ball into a hole. Unlike other sports, in order to win a game of golf you need to have the lowest score. This score is an accumulation of each hole’s par, which is a measurement of the number of strokes required to complete the hole. When a golfer completes a hole with either a higher or lower score than par, this number will be added or subtracted from their total score. Match play is a discipline of golf that can best be described as a head-to-head between two golfers, while stroke play involves every athlete competing going up against one another in a larger competition format.



Originating in Scandinavia and Germany, men’s indoor handball has been a part of the Summer Olympic Games since 1972 and women’s handball was added shortly after in 1976. This highly competitive and fast-paced team sport is both enjoyable to watch and exciting to play. The game is centered on dribbling, passing the ball, and taking shots on the opponent’s net in hopes of scoring the most goals. The champion is decided via a 12-team tournament in both men’s and women’s competition, with two thirty-minute halves in each game. Unlike other goal-centric sports, handball can be remarkably high-scoring. For example, the men’s gold medal match in the 2020 Olympics had a final score of 25-23 in favor of France.



Originating from Japanese wrestling, Judo comes from the ancient practice of ‘Jujitsu’. Judo debuted in the Olympics in 1964, but was officially included in the 1972 Summer Olympics. Inclusion in the Olympics has been huge for the development and spread of the sport, with 26 different countries earning medals in Judo during the 2016 Olympics. This is a far cry from Judo’s Olympic debut in which Japan won every medal except for one. Judo is split into seven weight classes for both men and women, in order to ensure that competition is fair and matches are as competitive as possible. The goal of Judo is to defeat one’s opponent with a combination of skill and strength, with the main techniques officials look to record and score being Ippon, Waza-Ari, and Yuko. Each of these terms is used to describe a mid-match situation, with Ippon being the most impactful. Successfully recording two Ippons, the equivalent of a knockout, is one of the fastest ways to win.  

Marathon Swimming

marathon swimming

Marathon swimming is relatively self-explanatory. This sport is simply defined as a competitive long-distance swimming race. The distance in the Summer Olympics is 10 kilometers for both men and women. Marathon swimming is held in open water, such as a lake or river, as opposed to a pool. Unlike other forms of Olympic swimming, marathon swimming is still relatively new. The sport made its Olympic debut back in 2008, during the Summer Olympics held in Beijing. Long-distance swimming in a race format requires swimmers to have tremendous endurance and stamina, in order to maintain pace and ultimately come out on top.

Modern Pentathlon

modern pentathlon

Modern Pentathlon is an event made up of “fencing (one-touch épée), freestyle swimming (200m), equestrian show jumping (15 jumps), and a final combined event of pistol shooting and cross-country running (3200m).” First introduced to the Olympics in 1912 and available for both men and women, this is the most versatile event the Olympics has to offer, displaying an abundance of skills and abilities. Unlike other sports where competitors tend to train and focus on a select few skills, pentathlon athletes need to master skills used in a variety of completely different sports that have their own individual events in the Olympics.

Mountain Biking

mountain bike

As different bikes were being invented, sports utilizing these various bikes came to be. Mountain biking became popular in California back in the 1970s and quickly spread internationally. There has been a cross-country event for mountain biking since 1996, during the Olympics held in Atlanta. Since its debut in Olympic competition, mountain biking has featured a cross country event for both men and women. These races are seven laps each, with a total distance of 2.5 miles. As the race progresses, bikers are eliminated if they are 80% slower than the first place biker’s time on the first lap.

Rhythmic Gymnastics

Rhythmic Gymnastics

Rhythmic Gymnastics is an event held for women only. It entails music, gymnastics techniques, different dance styles, and props (hoops, balls, ribbons, ropes, etc.). These “props” are officially known as apparatuses, similar to other disciplines of gymnastics. This highly entertaining and quite impressive sport was added to the Summer Olympic Program in 1984, after many years of being tested and perfected for the Olympic Games. In Olympic competition, scoring is decided based on both the difficulty and execution of each performance. The execution score is on a scale of 1-10, while the difficulty score is accumulated throughout the performance and doesn’t come with any maximum score.

Road Cycling

Road Cycling

Cycling is a wildly popular activity, and the sport of cycling has a long-standing history of relevance in international competition. In fact, cycling is one of the few sports that has always been incorporated in the Summer Olympics. This specific version called road cycling is performed outdoors on different terrain and has been included in every Summer Olympic games since 1912. Participants race for the best times throughout a lengthy course with different ascents and descents. There are a few different disciplines within road cycling that you can find at the Olympics, including individual road race, individual time trial, and team time trial. Women’s road cycling was added to the program in 1984.



Rowing is another Olympic sport with a very rich history, particularly in relation to Ancient Greece. Before it was a sport, rowing was strictly used as a means of transportation in ancient civilizations like Greece, Egypt, and Rome. Rowing can be performed by individuals or in teams of two, four, or eight. It has been a part of almost all the Summer Olympic games since 1896. Ironically enough, this 1896 debut was actually called off due to poor weather conditions. Rowing races include a boat and oars, with a focus on coordination and communication amongst teammates, making for a challenging and alluring sport. 



Rugby, often known as one of the tougher and more physical team sports featured in Olympic competition, is yet another popular team sport featured in the Summer Olympics. Rugby involves passing backwards to teammates and kicking the ball forwards for teammates to chase, with the intention of disorienting the defense and creating gaps in the opposition to run up field. Similar to the end zone in football, rugby features a try line that players attempt to carry the ball over in order to score points. Each “try” is worth five points, and the team with the most points at the end of regulation time wins. Before the 2016 summer Olympics, Rugby had not been in the program since 1924. Interestingly, rugby has a few variations on how it is played. While rugby union (15 players on each team) was played in the Summer Olympics in previous years, rugby sevens (seven players on each team playing seven-minute halves) has been far more consistently included in the Olympics. The only Olympic games in which rugby union has been included are the 1900, 1908, 1920, and 1924 iterations. 



Sailing has evolved from a mode of transportation, to leisure activity, and now to a competitive sport in the Olympics. Sailing became a part of the Olympic program in 1900, and was originally called “yachting”. There were new versions included in the 2016 Summer Olympics for both men and women. Sailing events are intricately designed for certain waters, boats, and sailing angles. Not only do contestants compete against one another, they also have to battle large waves, wind, and other weather factors.



For hundreds of years, shooting has been a popular sport. Shooting in the Olympic program has 15 total events split between men and women, in addition to mixed team events. There are three main disciplines of shooting in the Olympics: rifle, pistol, and shotgun. Rifle and pistol feature competitors shooting at fixed targets, while contestants in shotgun shoot at moving targets. The combination of different guns and different ranges make for an exciting event in the Summer Olympics.



Skateboarding, a sport often known for its rebellious nature and strong ties to youth participants, made its debut in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Skateboarders ride their boards, performing various tricks and stunts by utilizing obstacles and objects in the field of play. Skateboarding offers men’s and women’s events in both the park and street disciplines of the sport. The first iteration of Olympic skateboarding garnered massive media attention from its collection of athletes who earned medals, three of which were just 13 years of age. One of these young competitors, Momiji Nishiya of Japan, even won the gold medal in the women’s street skateboarding event.

Soccer (Association Football)


The Summer Olympic Games’ “football” is known in the United States as “soccer.” This insanely popular team sport made its Olympic debut back in 1900 during the Olympic Games held in Paris. Since 1900, the only Summer Olympics to not include soccer was the 1932 Olympics held in Los Angeles. With the roots of this sport being one of the oldest in the world, it has become one of the most beloved and watched Summer Olympic events globally. Evolving through time, each men’s and women’s soccer team includes eleven players on the field and a common objective of scoring the highest number of goals.

Sport Climbing

sport climbingSport climbing is yet another event that made its Olympic debut in the 2020 Tokyo Games. The sport, as the name suggests, incorporates climbing using hand and foot holds on a vertical wall. In Olympic competition, the wall scaled by each athlete sits at just over 15 meters in height. There were three disciplines of sport climbing featured in 2020’s Summer Olympics: speed, bouldering, and lead. The first ever Olympic gold medals for sport climbing were earned by Alberto Ginés López of Spain and Janja Garnbret of Slovenia.



Surfing has long been prevalent in pop culture, however the sport finally reached Olympic competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This was done with the intention of tapping into a new, younger demographic and getting more people interested in the Olympics as a whole. The early rounds of surfing consisted of four-person heats, while later rounds featured two-person heats. Each surfer has 30 minutes to ride up to 25 waves, and will be scored based on the quality of maneuvers performed.



The art of swimming has been around for many years. However, over time, swimming has turned into one of the most competitive sports in the world. Swimming made its Olympic debut in 1986 at the first modern Olympic Games. Many swimmers compete in multiple events, giving them the chance to win more than one medal. Men’s and women's swimming competitions are almost identical, entailing the same strokes, teams, and events. The only major difference between men’s and women’s swimming is in the length of the freestyle event.

Table Tennis

table tennis

Similar to tennis, table tennis in the Summer Olympics includes both men’s and women’s singles and team competitions. This intense game has the most participants in the world due to its high accessibility. Points are scored when one competitor fails to return the ball back to their opponent’s side of the table or commits a fault. Each such instance is worth one point, and the first competitor to 11 points wins. Table tennis can be watched or played from the comfort of one's own home, making it a highly accessible sport. While it may seem like a relatively mundane sport by Olympic standards, professional table tennis players can send balls flying at speeds upwards of 150 kilometers per hour.



Derived from Korean martial arts, Taekwondo has spread globally and is now practiced all over the world. Taekwondo’s first incorporation into the Olympics was strictly as a demonstration sport back in 1988 during the Olympic Games held in Seoul. Taekwondo officially became a part of the Summer Olympics as a medal sport in 2000, with events for both men and women. It is an art of “kicking and punching”, ultimately to break down and “conquer” one’s opponent. In fact, the term Taekwondo carries a literal translation to “the art or way of kicking and punching.” It should come as no surprise given Taekwondo’s history and origins, South Korea currently holds the most gold medals in this Olympic sport with a total of 12.



What started as a game played with a ball and the palm of one’s hand turned into an international competitive sport. Tennis consists of two or four players using specially designed rackets to serve and volley a ball over a net at mid-court. Olympic tennis matches are played in a best-of-three sets format, with each set being first-to-six games wins. The Summer Olympics holds both men’s and women’s single and double tennis events, along with a mixed doubles event. Tennis has now been consistently in the Olympic program since 1988.

Track Cycling

Track Cycling

Track cycling is performed on an indoor wooden track. An entertaining and rather simplistic concept, track cycling races were a part of the inaugural Olympic Games in 1896. Track cycling has only been left out of the Olympics once, in 1912, since. In recent years, the event has been offered to both men and women. This Olympic sport has featured a variety of events at various Olympic Games since its original inclusion, including sprint, time trial, over one kilometer, tandem, and team pursuit. 



Trampoline was first used by astronauts and athletes for training purposes. The original inventors of the trampoline, George Nissen and Larry Griswold, also pictured the trampoline being used in a sport they tabbed “Spaceball.” As time went on, the sport developed and it became an Olympic event in 2000. Trampoline’s Summer Olympic debut featured two events, one for men and one for women. This organization of events has remained consistent ever since. Trampoline events entail acrobatic and gymnastic movements, all while on a trampoline.



Triathlon is far and away one of the most unique and intense events in the Summer Olympics. The sport was founded in the early 1970’s by the San Diego Track Club. Thirty years later, triathlon became a part of the Summer Olympics in 2000. Triathlon has two events, one for men and one for women. The sport is a true display of athleticism and the ability to adapt to different environments, consisting of a 0.93 mile (1.5 kilometers) swim, a 6.2 mile (10 kilometers) run, and a 24.8 mile (40 kilometers) bicycle route.



As opposed to beach volleyball, indoor volleyball is played with six players on each team. The original creator of volleyball, William G. Morgan, was inspired by watching a basketball game and sought to make a less intensive version. In volleyball, players utilize techniques like setting, bumping, spiking, blocking, digging, and passing in order to get the ball to hit the ground on their opponent’s side of the net. Each time the ball touches the ground on one side of the net, a point is given to the opposite team. Volleyball is an energetic and speedy game that was added to the Summer Olympics in 1964 and has maintained popularity ever since. 

Water Polo

Water Polo

Water polo is a sport that has displayed major transformations throughout the years. The first iteration of water polo featured athletes riding barrels in the water that were meant to resemble fake horses, and players also wielded sticks meant to be swung at the ball. Over time, it has developed into a fast and physically intense game with many new rules put in place. In recent years, water polo involves swimming and throwing a ball towards the net, as well as passing and defending with your teammates. While men's water polo has been a part of Olympic competition since 1900, women’s water polo made its debut in the 2000 Summer Olympics.



Weightlifting was initially used to determine power and strength hundreds of years ago. While it has transformed through the years, weightlifting has been a competitive Olympic sport since 1896 (aside from the 1900, 1908, and 1912 Olympic Games). In 2020, weightlifting had a total of 14 events for both men and women. These fourteen events were split evenly into seven for men, and seven for women. There are a wide variety of techniques and movements involved in Olympic weightlifting, however at the end of the day the sport is centered on strength and the ability to lift astonishing amounts of weight.

Former Summer Olympic Sports

Over the years the Summer Olympics itinerary has evolved and changed, which has naturally led some sports to be removed from the Games. Former Summer Olympic Sports include:



Baseball is considered to be America’s pastime, though it is highly popular in other countries such as Japan and the Dominican Republic. This sport consists of two teams alternating between batting and fielding, as they attempt to score runs by hitting the ball and running the bases before being called out. Baseball is unique in that it does not incorporate any sort of game clock, and rather is measured in 9 innings in which each team has a chance to bat. Baseball was a part of the 2020 Summer Olympics but has since been removed from the itinerary.



Karate is a global combat sport that was featured in the 2020 Olympics. The sport originated in Japan, and was added to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. This represents its first time being featured in an Olympic competition. In the 2020 Olympics, karate was featured with events in two forms: Kata (forms) and Kumite (sparring) for men and women. Each event has a set of three weight categories that competitors are divided into. Following Tokyo 2020, karate was removed from the Olympic program.



Softball is a Summer Olympics sport that holds particular popularity in the United States. Softball shares a very similar format to baseball, albeit with some minor differences in the way the game is played. Just like baseball, softball is centered on teams taking turns hitting and fielding. However, in softball, pitchers throw underhand, and the basepaths are 60 feet as opposed to baseball’s 90 feet. The ball is also larger and outfield fences stand at approximately 220 feet compared to baseball’s 300+ feet. Softball was removed from the Summer Olympics after 2008 and will not be featured in the 2024 Olympics, however it was brought back for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

New 2024 Summer Olympic Sports



Breaking, also known as breakdancing, is being added to the Olympic program in 2024. This sport became a part of the Youth Olympic games in 2018 and consists of head-to-head battles between breakdancers. Breaking at the Youth Olympic Games in 2018 featured a boys, girls, and mixed competition. Sixteen men and sixteen women compete in different competitions and are scored on creativity, personality, technique, variety, performativity, and musicality.


What are the oldest sports in the modern Summer Olympics?

The first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896 in Athens, Greece. The competition consisted of 43 separate events, that included the sports athletics (track and field), cycling, fencing, gymnastics, shooting, swimming, tennis, weightlifting, and wrestling. These nine sports were the original sports of the Olympic Games, all of which are still present in today’s Olympics.

What Olympic athlete has the most gold medals in the Summer Olympics?

Michael Phelps, a legendary American swimmer often tabbed the greatest Olympian of all time, holds the record for most gold medals earned in the Summer Olympics. During his Olympic career, spanning from 2000 to 2016, Phelps earned an astonishing 28 total medals, 23 of which were gold. This awe-inspiring total was epitomized by Phelp’s 2008 performance in Beijing, in which he earned gold medals in every single one of the eight swimming events he competed in.

What sports were added in the 2020 Summer Olympics?

The Summer Olympics has had multiple new sports added to its itinerary recently. In the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, 3x3 basketball, skateboarding, surfing, karate, and sport climbing were all new additions. Baseball and softball were also brought back after being removed following the 2008 Olympics. These two events will not be returning in 2024. Additionally, karate was added only for the 2020 Olympics, in part due to its connection to Japanese culture, and will not be returning in the 2024 Olympics either. Instead, it will be replaced by breakdancing in 2024.