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Summer Olympics Sports List

There are currently 48 sports in the Summer Olympic games. Here's a complete list of sports in the Summer Olympics.

Table of Contents



Archery was originally invented for protection and survival purposes. However, through the centuries, archery became more and more of a recreational and competitive sport. Much different than shooting from horseback or to kill, archery events debuted in the Olympics in 1900.

Artistic Swimming

artistic swimming

Artistic Swimming, also known as "synchronized swimming", is a relatively new sport added to the Olympic games. Included in the Summer Olympic program in 2000, artistic swimming is offered in both a duet and a team event. The combination of water acrobatics, music, and well-thought-out choreography, makes synchronized swimming a highly entertaining sport to watch and participate in.



Firstly, male and female athletics events are almost identical to one another. Athletics events entail running, jumping, walking, throwing and this sport dates back to the ancient Olympic games. These events have been in the Summer Olympic program since around 1896 and have grown in popularity since then.



Recently, badminton has been dominated by many Asian countries, however, the game's popularity developed in England. Badminton is played by both men and women and in both singles and doubles events. It was in 1992 when Badminton was officially included in the Summer Olympics program and has been captivating fans and players ever since.



Learn More: Baseball



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 across the world ever since. Two teams of five vigorously competing to score the most baskets. Both men and women's basketball is rather simple to pick up on when tuning into the Olympic Games.

Beach Volleyball

beach volleyball

What started out as a leisure activity turned into a highly entertaining and competitive Olympic sport. Beach volleyball is played on a sand covered court with two players on each team. Both men and women's beach volleyball joined the Olympics in 1996 and has been fun, fast-paced, and intriguing to watch since.



Anciently, boxing often ended with the death of one of the opponents. However, boxing has evolved into a vigorous and mentally strategic sport and has been a part of the Olympic program since 1904.

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, both upstream and downstream in whitewater rapids. With three events for men and one event for women over the same course, this competition was initially debuted in the 1972 Summer Olympic Games.

Canoe Sprint

canoe sprint

The Canoe Sprint, also known as the Olympic canoe/kayak flatwater program, has a total of 12 events in the Summer Olympics. Including both men and women, this race is intense and can be performed over different distances and using different mediums.

Cycling BMX

cycling bmx

Firstly, BMX is known to be specific bikes used on dirt tracks. Cycling BMX includes 8 riders racing on a track, with numerous hills and turns. This is a newer sport and first made an appearance at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

Cycling Mountain Bike

cycling mountain bike

As different bikes were being invented, different sports followed behind. Cycling Mountain Bike became popular in California and quickly spread internationally. Since 1996, there has been a cross-country event for this sport and has continued to be that way in the following years.

Cycling Road

cycling road

Cycling is one of the few sports that has always been incorporated in the Summer Olympics. This specific version called cycling road is performed outdoors on different terrain and has been included since about 1912. Women's Cycling Road was later added to the program in 1984.

Cycling Track

cycling track

Cycling Track is performed on an indoor wooden track. An entertaining and rather simplistic in concept, cycling track races were a part of the inaugural Olympic Games and have been incorporated ever since. In recent years, the event has been offered to both men and women.



Diving was originally used for gymnasts who were looking to practice their tumbling. Over time, diving became a sport of its own, a highly intriguing and impressive one. In addition to diving, synchronized diving also joined the program in the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Equestrian / Dressage

equestrian dressage

Equestrian dressage is known as the "highest form of horse training". This sport has been around for hundreds of years. 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.

Equestrian Eventing

equestrian eventing

Known as the most profound and pressing of the equestrian sports in the Olympics, this sport combines jumping, dressage, and cross-country. Introduced to the Summer Olympic program in 1900, this sport has held its prestige and significance.

Equestrian Jumping

equestrian jumping

Simplistically, it was discovered that this sport originated when fences were built in the English countryside. Through time, this 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.



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, a different type of "weaponry", and both single and team matches.

Field Hockey

field hockey

This game dates back to almost 2000 BC, being one of the oldest known "stick and ball" sports played. In 1908, men's hockey joined the summer Olympics and in 1980, women's hockey joined the program. This intense game has often been dominated by India's men's hockey team. Let's see if they can hold that reputation in 2020.



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. A rather simple sport that has been around for over two centuries, it is focused around using a club (a metal stick with a head on the end) to hit a ball into a hole.

Gymnastics Artistic

gymnastics artistic

The origination 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 to the Olympics around the 1920s and later in the 1950's female gymnastics also joined the program. Both included individual and team events.

Gymnastics Rhythmic

gymnastics rhythmic

Rhythmic Gymnastics is an event held for women only. It entails music, gymnastics (of course), different dance styles, and props (hoops, balls, ribbons, ropes, etc.). This highly entertaining and quite impressive sport was added to the Summer Olympic Program in 1984, after many years of being test trialed and perfected for the Olympic games.



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 faced paced team sport is not only enjoyable to watch, but exciting to play.



Originating from Japanese wrestling, Judo comes from the ancient practice of 'Jujitsu'. Judo debuted in the Olympics in 1964, but was officially included in 1972 Summer Olympics. This sport is open to both men and women, with seven weight categories.



Learn More: Karate

Marathon Swimming

marathon swimming

Marathon swimming is relatively self-explanatory. This sport is simply defined as a long-distance competitive race. The distance in the summer Olympics is 10 km for both men and women.

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, comprised of an abundance of skills and abilities.



Rowing can be performed by individuals, or in pairs of two, four, or eight. Rowing has been a part of almost all the Summer Olympic games since 1896. This race includes a boat and an oar, to make for a challenging and alluring sport.



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) was recently played in the 2016 Summer Olympics.



Sailing has evolved from transportation to leisure activity, and now to a competitive sport in the Olympics. Interestingly, 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.



For hundreds of years, shooting has been a popular sport. Shooting in the Olympic program has 15 events, for men and women. The combination of different guns and different ranges make for an exciting and stimulating event in the Summer Olympics.



Learn More: Skateboarding

Soccer (Association Football)


The Summer Olympic Game "football" is known in the United States as "soccer". With the roots of this sport being one of the oldest, it has now become one of the most beloved and watched Summer Olympic events in the world. Evolving through time, men and women's football includes eleven players on each team and a common objective of scoring the highest number of goals.



Learn More: Softball

Sport Climbing

sport climbing

Learn More: Sport Climbing



Learn More: Surfing



The art of swimming has been around for a tremendous amount of years. However, over time, swimming has turned into one of the most competitive sports in the world. Men and women's swimming competitions are almost identical, entailing the same strokes, teams, events, intriguingly, the only difference is in the length of the freestyle event.

Table Tennis

table tennis

Similar to Tennis, Table Tennis in the Summer Olympics includes both men and women's, singles and team competitions. This intense game has the most participants in the world, due to its high accessibility. This Olympic sport can be watched, played competitively, or played in one's home.



Derived from Korean martial arts, Taekwondo has spread globally and is now practiced all over the world. Taekwondo officially became a part of the Summer Olympics in 2000, for both men and women. It is an art of "kicking and punching", ultimately to break down and 'conquer' one's opponent.



What started as a game played with a ball and the palm of one's hand, turned into an international competitive sport. The Summer Olympics holds both men and women's, single and double, tennis competitions. With a long Olympic history, tennis has now been consistently in the program since 1988.



This Olympic sport was first used for astronauts and athletes for training purposes. Trampoline now has two events in the Summer Olympics, one for men and one for women. This event entails acrobatic and gymnastic movements, all while on a trampoline.



Joining the Summer Olympics in 2000, Triathlon has two events, one for men and one for women. This event consists of a 0.93 mile (1.5 kilometers) swim, 6.2 mile (10 kilometers) run, and a 24.8 mile (40 kilometers) bicycle route.


As opposed to beach volleyball, indoor volleyball, just 'volleyball' is played with 6 players on each team. Volleyball was created to be a less intensive sport, an alternative to basketball. However, this energetic and speedy game was added to the Summer Olympics in 1964 and has maintained popularity ever since.

Water Polo

Originally, water polo was a highly aggressive sport. Over time and with rules put in place, it has developed into a fast and physically intense game. While men's water polo has been around for many years, women only made its first debut in the 2000 Summer Olympics.


Weightlifting was initially used to determine power and strength, hundreds of years ago. Transforming through the years, it is now a competitive Olympic sport since around the 1900s. Weightlifting has a total of 15 events for both men and women since the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Wrestling Freestyle

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 known to be one of the oldest competitive sports. More recently, men and women's wrestling has been included in an abundance of the Summer Olympic games in many different events.

Wrestling Greco-Roman

As opposed to using one's whole body, Wrestling Greco-Roman, 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.


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