How Many Sports Are Included in the Olympics?

Quck answer

There are currently 33 sports in the Olympics. These sports include traditional events like athletics, swimming, and gymnastics, as well as newer additions like skateboarding, surfing, and sport climbing. Each sport is divided into various disciplines or events, such as sprinting, long jump, and high jump in athletics. The number of sports in the Olympics can change over time, as new sports are added and some are removed. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decides which sports are included based on factors like global popularity, athlete participation, and the sport’s adherence to Olympic values.

Are you a fan of watching the Olympics? There’s nothing quite like supporting your country’s athletes in your favorite sports. Whether it’s gymnastics, swimming, or track and field, there’s an event for everyone to enjoy. Have you ever wondered how many sports are actually part of the Olympics?

At first glance, this might seem like an easy question to answer. However, the number of sports in the Olympics can vary from one set of games to another. In fact, it can even be a topic of debate within a particular Olympic Games. The answer often depends on how sports are defined.

The first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896 in Athens, Greece. It featured nine sports: athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, shooting, swimming, tennis, weightlifting, and wrestling. These sports are still part of the Summer Games today. However, there have been numerous changes over the past century.

In the past, the host country had significant influence over which sports were included. However, today, these decisions are made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Over the years, many sports have come and gone, including demonstration sports that were tried but never officially added to the games.

The IOC uses different terms to describe the competitions that take place during the Summer Games. An “event” is a specific competition that results in the awarding of a medal. For example, the 100-meter freestyle is an event within the wider discipline of swimming. Swimming is part of the “sport” of aquatics, which also includes other disciplines like diving and water polo.

When counting sports, some people only consider the sports as defined by the IOC. This is why some may say there were 28 sports in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. However, others count each discipline as a separate sport. This is why the official website of the 2016 Summer Olympics listed 42 sports.

For instance, the count of 28 sports includes aquatics as a single sport. On the other hand, the count of 42 sports breaks it down to include swimming, diving, and water polo as four separate sports.

How does the IOC decide which sports to include in the Olympic Games? It takes various factors into consideration. For example, the sport must be popular among both men and women across many parts of the world. New sports can start as demonstration sports and later become officially added to the games. On the other hand, declining sports may be removed. Baseball and softball, for instance, were removed by the IOC after the 2008 Olympic Games but have now been reinstated.

So, how can a sport be reinstated in the Olympics? People can lobby the IOC for the revival of a sport. Golf, for example, returned to the Olympic Games in 2016 after being absent for 112 years. Similarly, rugby made a comeback after a 92-year absence.

Do you and your family watch the Olympics every four years? Which events are your favorites? If you could choose one sport to add to the games, what would it be? That’s a tough decision as there are many great options from around the world!

Give It a Try

Are you ready to join in the fun? Make sure to explore the following activities with a friend or family member:

During the summer of 2016, various sports were contested at the Olympic Games in Brazil. To find out which sports were played, you can visit the Olympic Sports page. Each sport is represented by a pictogram, which you can hover over to see. Clicking on the picture will provide more information about the sport and its rules. Discuss with a friend or family member which sport you would like to watch in the next Olympic Games.

Football is a beloved sport in Brazil, also known as soccer in America and football in most other parts of the world. The football competition in Brazil was highly competitive. To learn more about this popular sport, you can visit the Football page on the Olympics site. Write a letter or email to explain the differences between football and American football to a friend or family member.

After being absent for 92 years, rugby made its comeback at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. To understand how this game is played, you can visit the Rugby page on the Olympics site. Conduct some independent research on the internet to discover where rugby is played worldwide.

Here are some sources of information about the Olympics:

– (accessed 10 Aug. 2020)

– (accessed 10 Aug. 2020)

– (accessed 10 Aug. 2020)

– (accessed 10 Aug. 2020)


1. How many sports are included in the Olympics?

The Olympics comprise a wide range of sports. Currently, there are 33 different sports that are officially recognized and included in the Olympic Games. These sports vary from athletics, such as track and field events, to team sports like basketball, soccer, and volleyball. Additionally, there are sports like swimming, gymnastics, and cycling that are also part of the Olympic program. Over the years, the number of sports in the Olympics has evolved, with new sports being added and some being removed.

2. Are there any sports that were previously part of the Olympics but are no longer included?

Yes, several sports have been discontinued from the Olympic program. Some of these sports include polo, tug-of-war, and even croquet. In the early years of the Olympics, there were also sports like motor boating and hot air ballooning that were part of the Games but are no longer included. The International Olympic Committee regularly reviews and evaluates the sports included in the Olympics, making changes based on factors such as popularity, global participation, and relevance to the Olympic values.

3. How are new sports added to the Olympic program?

New sports are added to the Olympic program through a careful selection process. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) assesses various factors such as the sport’s popularity, international participation, gender equality, and the sport’s alignment with the Olympic values. The process begins with sports federations expressing their interest in being part of the Olympics. The IOC then evaluates each sport’s merits and potential impact on the Games. If a sport meets the criteria and is approved, it can be added to the Olympic program for future editions of the Games.

4. Are there any sports that are unique to the Olympics?

Yes, there are some sports that are unique to the Olympics and are not widely practiced outside of the Games. One example is the modern pentathlon, which combines five different events: fencing, swimming, equestrian show jumping, pistol shooting, and cross-country running. Another unique sport is the triathlon, which involves swimming, cycling, and running. These sports were specifically created for the Olympics and are not commonly seen in other international competitions.

5. How many sports are included in the Summer Olympics versus the Winter Olympics?

The number of sports in the Summer Olympics is higher compared to the Winter Olympics. The Summer Olympics typically feature around 33 sports, which include a wide variety of disciplines. On the other hand, the Winter Olympics have around 15 sports, which mainly revolve around winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, and figure skating. The difference in the number of sports reflects the different nature and climate of the two seasons, with more sports being suitable for the warmer summer conditions.

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