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Olympic sports facts for kids

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Athens archery
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 2016 Summer Olympics included 28 sports, with five additional sports due to be added to the 2020 Summer Olympics program; the 2014 Winter Olympics included seven sports. The number and types of events may change slightly from one Olympiad to another. Each Olympic sport is represented by an international governing body, namely an International Federation (IF). The International Olympic Committee (IOC) establishes a hierarchy of sports, disciplines, and events. 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), and figure skating and speed skating, which are both disciplines of the sport of ice skating (represented by the International Skating Union). In turn, disciplines are subdivided into events, for which Olympic medals are awarded. 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. The IOC's requirements also reflect participation in the Olympic Games – more stringent conditions are applied to men's sports/disciplines (as men are represented at the Games in higher numbers than women) and to summer sports/disciplines (as more nations compete in the Summer Olympics than in the Winter Olympics).

Summer Olympics

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Volleyball has been part of the Summer Olympics since 1964.

At the first Olympic Games, nine sports were contested. Since then, the number of sports contested at the Summer Olympic Games has gradually risen to twenty-eight on the program for 2000–2008. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, however, the number of sports fell back to twenty-six following an IOC decision in 2005 to remove baseball and softball from the Olympic program. These sports retain their status as Olympic sports with the possibility of a return to the Olympic program in future games. At the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen on 9 October 2009, the IOC voted to reinstate both golf and rugby to the Olympic program, meaning that the number of sports to be contested in 2016 was once again 28.

In order for a sport or discipline to be considered for inclusion in the list of Summer Olympics sports, it must be widely practiced in at least 75 countries, spread over four continents.

Current and discontinued summer program

The following sports (or disciplines of a sport) make up the current and discontinued Summer Olympic Games official program and are listed alphabetically according to the name used by the IOC. The discontinued sports were previously part of the Summer Olympic Games program as official sports, but are no longer on the current program. The figures in each cell indicate the number of events for each sport contested at the respective Games; a bullet () denotes that the sport was contested as a demonstration sport.

Eight of the 34 sports consist of multiple disciplines. Disciplines from the same sport are grouped under the same color:

     Aquatics     Basketball     Canoeing/Kayaking     Cycling     Gymnastics     Volleyball     Equestrian     Wrestling

Sport (Discipline) Body 96 00 04 06 08 12 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20
 
Current summer sports
 
Diving Diving pictogram.svg FINA 2 1 2 4 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 8 8 8 8 8 8
Marathon swimming Open water swimming pictogram.svg 2 2 2 2
Swimming Swimming pictogram.svg 4 7 9 4 6 9 10 11 11 11 11 11 11 13 15 18 29 29 26 26 29 31 31 32 32 32 32 32 32 35
Synchronized swimming Synchronized swimming pictogram.svg 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2
Water polo Water polo pictogram.svg 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2
 
3-on-3 basketball 3-on-3 basketball pictogram.svg FIBA 2
Basketball Basketball pictogram.svg 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
 
Canoe/kayak (sprint) Canoeing (flatwater) pictogram.svg ICF 9 9 9 9 7 7 7 7 11 11 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12
Canoe/kayak (slalom) Canoeing (slalom) pictogram.svg 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
 
BMX freestyle BMX freestyle pictogram.svg UCI 2
BMX racing Cycling (BMX) pictogram.svg 2 2 2 2
Mountain biking Cycling (mountain biking) pictogram.svg 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Road cycling Cycling (road) pictogram.svg 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Track cycling Cycling (track) pictogram.svg 5 2 7 5 7 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 4 4 5 6 7 8 12 12 10 10 10 12
 
Artistic Gymnastics (artistic) pictogram.svg FIG 8 1 11 4 2 4 4 9 8 11 9 9 15 15 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14
Rhythmic Gymnastics (rhythmic) pictogram.svg 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Trampoline Gymnastics (trampoline) pictogram.svg 2 2 2 2 2 2
 
Volleyball (beach) Volleyball (beach) pictogram.svg FIVB 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Volleyball (indoor) Volleyball (indoor) pictogram.svg 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
 
Equestrian / Dressage Equestrian Dressage pictogram.svg FEI 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Equestrian / Eventing Equestrian Eventing pictogram.svg 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Equestrian / Jumping Equestrian Jumping pictogram.svg 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
 
Freestyle wrestling Wrestling Freestyle pictogram.svg UWW 7 5 5 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 11 11 11 12 12
Greco-Roman wrestling Wrestling pictogram.svg 1 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 8 7 7 7 6 6
 
Baseball Baseball pictogram.svg WBSC 1 1 1 1 1 1
Softball Softball pictogram.svg 1 1 1 1 1
 
Archery Archery pictogram.svg WA 6 6 3 10 2 2 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5
Athletics Athletics pictogram.svg WA 12 23 25 21 26 30 29 27 27 29 29 33 33 33 34 36 36 38 37 38 41 42 43 44 46 46 47 47 47 48
Badminton Badminton pictogram.svg BWF 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Boxing Boxing pictogram.svg AIBA 7 5 8 8 8 8 8 8 10 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 12 12 12 12 12 11 11 13 13 13
Fencing Fencing pictogram.svg FIE 3 7 5 8 4 5 6 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 12
Field hockey Field hockey pictogram.svg FIH 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Football Football pictogram.svg FIFA 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Golf Golf pictogram.svg IGF 2 2 2 2
Handball Handball pictogram.svg IHF 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Judo Judo pictogram.svg IJF 4 6 6 8 8 7 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 15
Karate Karate icon.svg WKF 8
Modern pentathlon Modern pentathlon pictogram.svg UIPM 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2
Rowing Rowing pictogram.svg FISA 4 5 6 4 4 5 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14
Rugby sevens Rugby Sevens pictogram.svg WR 2 2
Sailing Sailing pictogram.svg ISAF 7 4 4 14 3 3 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 8 10 10 11 11 11 10 10 10
Shooting Shooting pictogram.svg ISSF 5 9 16 15 18 21 10 2 3 4 7 7 6 6 7 8 7 7 11 13 13 15 17 17 15 15 15 15
Skateboarding Skateboarding pictogram.svg WS 4
Sport climbing Climbing pictogram.svg IFSC 2
Surfing Surfing pictogram.svg ISA 2
Table tennis Table tennis pictogram.svg ITTF 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5
Taekwondo Taekwondo pictogram.svg WT 8 8 8 8 8 8
Tennis Tennis pictogram.svg ITF 2 4 2 4 6 8 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5
Triathlon Triathlon pictogram.svg ITU 2 2 2 2 2 3
Weightlifting Weightlifting pictogram.svg IWF 2 2 2 5 5 5 5 5 6 7 7 7 7 7 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 15 15 15 15 15 14
 
Discontinued summer sports
 
Equestrian / Vaulting EQ Vaulting pictogram.svg FEI 2
 
Handball / Field Handball Handball Field Handball pictogram.svg IHF 1
Rugby / Rugby union Rugby union pictogram.svg WR 1 1 1 1
 
Basque pelota Basque pelota pictogram.svg FIPV 1
Cricket Cricket pictogram.svg ICC 1
Croquet Croquet pictogram.svg WCF 3
Lacrosse Lacrosse pictogram.svg FIL 1 1
Jeu de paume Jeu de paume pictogram.svg 1
Polo Polo pictogram.svg FIP 1 1 1 1 1
Rackets Racquets pictogram.svg 2
Roque Roque pictogram.svg 1
Tug of war Tug of war pictogram.svg TWIF 1 1 1 1 1 1
Water motorsports Water motorsports pictogram.svg UIM 3
 
Figure skating Figure skating pictogram.svg ISU 4 3 Rescheduled during winter games
Ice hockey Ice hockey pictogram.svg IIHF 1
 
Total events 43 85 94 78 110 102 156 126 109 117 129 136 149 151 150 163 172 195 198 203 221 237 257 271 300 301 302 302 306 339
Total Sports 10 21 17 14 25 18 29 23 20 20 25 23 23 23 23 25 24 28 27 27 29 31 34 37 40 40 42 40 42 50
Sport (Discipline) Body 96 00 04 06 08 12 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20

Demonstration summer sports

The following sports or disciplines have been demonstrated at the Summer Olympic Games for the years shown, but have never been included on the official Olympic program:

Gliding was promoted from demonstration sport to an official Olympic sport in 1936 in time for the 1940 Summer Olympics, but the Games were cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II.

Tenpin bowling, demonstrated separately from the Olympics in 1936 in Germany (alongside forms of ninepin bowling), but part of the demonstration sports at Seoul in 1988, has been a regular medal sport of the World Games since 1981 and the Pan American Games since 1991.

Classification of Olympic sports for revenue share

Summer Olympic sports are divided into categories based on popularity, gauged by: television viewing figures (40%), Internet popularity (20%), public surveys (15%), ticket requests (10%), press coverage (10%), and number of national federations (5%). The category determines the share the sport's International Federation receives of Olympic revenue.

The current categories, as of 2013, are as follows, with the pre-2013 categorizations also being available. Category A represents the most popular sports; category E lists either the sports that are the least popular or that are new to the Olympics (golf and rugby).

Category Individual Sport Team Sport
A athletics, aquatics, gymnastics ——
B cycling, tennis basketball, football, volleyball
C archery, badminton, boxing, judo, rowing
shooting, table tennis, weightlifting
——
D canoe/kayaking, equestrian, fencing,
sailing, taekwondo, triathlon, wrestling
handball, field hockey
E modern pentathlon, golf rugby

Winter Olympics

Ice hockey at the 2014 Winter Olympics – Men's tournament Czech Republic vs Slovakia 2
Ice hockey was first introduced at the 1920 Summer Olympics and later transferred to the Winter Games in 1924.

Before 1924, when the first Winter Olympic Games were celebrated, sports held on ice, like figure skating and ice hockey, were held at the Summer Olympics. These two sports made their debuts at the 1908 and the 1920 Summer Olympics, respectively, but were permanently integrated in the Winter Olympics program as of the first edition. The International Winter Sports Week, later dubbed the I Olympic Winter Games and retroactively recognized as such by the IOC, consisted of nine sports. The number of sports contested at the Winter Olympics has since been decreased to seven, comprising a total of fifteen disciplines.

A sport or discipline must be widely practiced in at least 25 countries on three continents in order to be included on the Winter Olympics program.

Current winter program

The following sports (or disciplines of a sport) make up the current Winter Olympic Games official program and are listed alphabetically, according to the name used by the IOC. The figures in each cell indicate the number of events for each sport that were contested at the respective Games (the red cells indicate that those sports were held at the Summer Games); a bullet () denotes that the sport was contested as a demonstration sport. On some occasions, both official medal events and demonstration events were contested in the same sport at the same Games.

Three out of the seven sports consist of multiple disciplines. Disciplines from the same sport are grouped under the same color:

     Skating     Skiing     Bobsleigh

Sport (Discipline) Body 08 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 94 98 02 06 10 14 18
 
Figure skating Figure skating pictogram.svg ISU 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5
Speed skating Speed skating pictogram.svg   5 4 4 4 4 4 4 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 12 12 12 14
Short track speed skating Short track speed skating pictogram.svg   4 6 6 8 8 8 8 8
 
Ice hockey Ice hockey pictogram.svg IIHF   1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2
 
Curling Curling pictogram.svg WCF   1 2 2 2 2 2 3
 
Cross-country skiing Cross country skiing pictogram.svg FIS   2 2 2 3 3 4 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 8 8 10 10 10 12 12 12 12 12
Alpine skiing Alpine skiing pictogram.svg   2 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 11
Ski jumping Ski jumping pictogram.svg   1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4
Nordic combined Nordic combined pictogram.svg   1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3
Freestyle skiing Freestyle skiing pictogram.svg   2 4 4 4 4 6 10 10
Snowboarding Snowboarding pictogram.svg   4 4 6 6 10 10
 
Biathlon Biathlon pictogram.svg IBU   1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 6 6 6 8 10 10 11 11
 
Luge Luge pictogram.svg FIL   3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4
 
Bobsleigh Bobsleigh pictogram.svg IBSF   1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3
Skeleton Skeleton pictogram.svg   1 1 2 2 2 2 2
 
Discontinued winter sports
 
Biathlon / Military Patrol Military patrol pictogram.svg IBU   1
Total events 16 14 14 17 22 22 24 27 34 35 35 37 38 39 46 57 61 68 78 84 86 98 102
Total Sports 9 8 7 8 9 8 8 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 12 12 14 15 15 15 15 15

The official website of the Olympic Movement designates men's military patrol at the 1924 Games as an event within the sport of biathlon. The Official Report of the 1924 Games regards it as an event within the sport of skiing.

Demonstration winter sports

The following sports have been demonstrated at the Winter Olympic Games for the years shown, but have never been included on the official Olympic program:

Ice climbing was showcased at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, was on the non-competition program at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games, and aims to become an official competition sport. Ski ballet was a demonstration event under the scope of freestyle skiing. Disabled sports are now part of the Winter Paralympic Games.

Recognized international federations

1904 tug of war
Tug of war was contested at the 1904 Summer Olympics. It was later dropped from the Olympic program but remains a recognized sport.

Many sports are not recognized as Olympic sports although their governing bodies are recognized by the IOC. Such sports, if eligible under the terms of the Olympic Charter, may apply for inclusion in the program of future Games, through a recommendation by the IOC Olympic Programme Commission, followed by a decision of the IOC Executive Board and a vote of the IOC Session.

The governing bodies of the following sports, though not contested in the Olympic Games, are recognized by the IOC:

1 Official sport at the World Games
2 Discontinued Olympic sport
3 Ineligible to be included because the Olympic Charter bans sports with motorization elements
4 The governing bodies for baseball and softball merged into a single international federation in 2013.
5 Included at the 2020 Summer Olympics
6 Skateboarding, now a discipline within roller sports, is Included at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

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