ARCHERY The archery mixed team event may have only been added to the roster for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2021 at the beginning of June, but already it is a prime target for one of the sport’s top competitors.
ATHLETICS was contested in the first ancient Olympic Games, and champions have been recorded from as far back as 776 BC.
BADMINTON has a cosmopolitan history. The rules of the modern game were developed in England, but it is in Asian countries that dominate the sport.
BASKETBALL is a relatively new sport, invented in 1891. It has now grown into one of the most popular sports in the United States.
BEACH VOLLEYBALL Due to its popular appeal it developed into a thriving professional sport
BOXING The earliest evidence of boxing dates back to Egypt around 3000 BC. The sport was introduced to the ancient Olympic Games by the Greeks in the 7th century BC, when soft leather thongs were used to bind boxers’ hands and forearms for protection.
CANOE SLALOM While canoe slalom basically uses the same type of craft as canoe sprint, the boats are designed differently. While in canoe sprint the boats are long and streamlined, in canoe slalom the boats are small, light and agile, allowing for greater maneuverabilit through the rapids.
CANOE SPRINT Canoe sprint has two different types of craft, the kayak and the canoe.
CYCLING BMX BMX racing took off in California, inspired by motocross. It fast became the Olympics in 2008 Beijing Games
CYCLING MOUNTAIN BIKE In the 1970s, tough new bikes that relished rough terrain were developed and mountain biking was born. The sport started in California but its popularity soon spread.
CYCLING ROAD Cycling has proved incredibly popular ever since bicycles were invented in the mid-18th century. It has featured in every Olympic Games.
CYCLING TRACK Cycling on wooden indoor tracks regularly drew large crowds as early as 1870 and was included in the inaugural Olympics Games.
DIVING Competitive diving, which developed from gymnastics, started in Sweden and Germany in the 18th century.
EQUESTRIAN/DRESSAGE The long and colorful traditions of Dressage go as far back as ancient Greece. Dressage, the highest expression of horse training, is considered the art of equestrian sport and is used as the groundwork for all other disciplines.
EQUESTRIAN/EVENTING Eventing is the most complete combined competition discipline and demands of the competitor and horse considerable experience in all branches of equitation. It covers every aspect of horsemanship: the harmony between horse and rider that characterize Dressage; the contact with nature, stamina and extensive experience essential for the Cross Country; the precision, agility and technique involved in Jumping.
EQUESTRIAN/JUMPING Jumping developed after fences were put up in the English countryside, leading foxhunters to require horses that could jump.
FENCING Swordplay has been practiced for thousands of years, and modern day fencing began as a form of military training. It did not become a sport until around the 15th century.
FOOTBALL Football has its roots in ancient China, while the modern version of the game began on the streets of medieval England before evolving into the most popular sport in the world.
GOLF Golf consists of “playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules”. That’s the first rule in the Rules of Golf. Golf is undoubtedly one of the oldest existing codified sports. Indeed, it was in the city of St Andrews in Scotland that the first rules were established in 1754. But some research shows that a similar sport was practiced beforehand under the name “colf” or “kolven” in the Netherlands, and arrived on the British Isles in the 15th century.
GYMNASTICS ARTISTIC The ancient Greeks believed gymnastics to be the perfect symmetry between mind and body. Modern gymnastics evolved at the end of the 19th century.
GYMNASTICS RHYTHMIC Rhythmic gymnastics is a women-only event in which gymnasts perform on a floor with a rope, hoop, ball, clubs or ribbon accompanied by music, in individual or group events.
HANDBALL Handball is a fast-paced team game that was first played in Scandinavia and Germany at the end of the 19th century.
HOCKEY Field hockey is fast-moving, skillful game played outdoors in teams of 11. Hockey is the oldest known ball and stick game: records exist of it being played in Persia in 2000 BC. The name “hockey” probably derives from the French “hocquet”, or shepherd’s crook, and refers to the crooked stick which is used to hit a small ball. The first team was the Blackheath Hockey Club, dating back to 1861. The Amateur Hockey Association was then formed in London in 1886, before workers and the military carried the game to the four corners of the British Empire. It became an Olympic sport in 1908.
JUDO Judo is derived from jujitsu, the hand-to-hand combat technique of ancient samurai warriors. It involves throwing opponents to the floor and holding them in submission.
MODERN PENTATHLON The pentathlon was the climax of the Games in Ancient Greece. Since its appearance at the modern Games, it has undergone a great deal of evolution.
ROWING Rowing is the propelling of a boat using a fixed oar as a lever. In modern sports, rowers race against each other either as individuals or in crews of two, four or eight.
RUGBY The legend of rugby has it that, in 1823, during a football match, a student at Rugby School in Great Britain took the ball in his hands and ran over the goal line. That day, William Webb Ellis invented rugby. This sport has, in reality, much older origins, as, in various forms and with various names, similar games had already been practiced in the Middle Ages in many European countries. Between 1845 and 1848, pupils from the Rugby School and students from the University of Cambridge in Great Britain documented and codified the rules of rugby.
SAILING Sailing is the art of moving a boat by harnessing the power of wind. Mastery over ever-changing conditions requires both great skill and experience.
SHOOTING From just five shooting events at the inaugural 1896 Olympic Games to 15 today, the sport has grown steadily alongside the advance in firearms technology.
SWIMMING Swimming can be dated back to the Stone Age, but did not truly become an organized sport until the early 19th century.
SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING Synchronized swimming is a relatively new discipline that has its origins in water acrobatics. It is hugely popular in the United States.
TABLE TENNIS Table tennis started as a genteel, after-dinner game, but is now a fast, high-tech sport. It also has the most participants of any sport in the world.
TAEKWONDO Taekwondo is a traditional Korean martial art, which means "the way of kicking and punching". In taekwondo, hands and feet can be used to overcome an opponent, but the trademark of the sport is its combination of kick movements. The origin of taekwondo dates back to Korea's Three-Kingdom era (c.50 BC) when Silla Dynasty warriors, the Hwarang, began to develop a martial art - Taekkyon ("foot-hand").
TENNIS Tennis has a long history, but the birth of the game played today is thought to have taken place in England. The earliest recognizable relative to tennis, as we know it, was "jeu de paume", played in 11th century France. Played in a monastery courtyard, the game used the walls and sloping roofs as part of the court and the palm of the hand to hit the ball.
TRAMPOLINE Developed in 1934, trampolines were originally used to train astronauts or were used as a training tool for other sports. They soon became popular in their own right and a sport was born. The first modern trampoline was built by George Nissen and Larry Griswold around 1934 at the University of Iowa. It was initially used to train tumblers and astronauts and as a training tool to develop and hone acrobatic skills for other sports such as diving, gymnastics and freestyle skiing. People enjoyed the sensation so much, they began to trampoline for sheer fun, and it became popular in its own right.
TRIATHLON Triathlon was invented as an alternative workout to track training in the 1970s, and made its Olympic debut at the 2000 Sydney Games. Triathlon was invented in the early 1970s by the San Diego Track Club, as an alternative workout to the rigors of track training. The club's first event consisted of a 10km run, an 8km cycle and a 500m swim. Over the next decade, triathlon’s popularity continued to build, and it soon gained worldwide recognition.
VOLLEYBALL Volleyball was conceived as a less strenuous alternative to basketball. The sport became popular very quickly and made its Olympic debut in 1964.
WATER POLO Water polo developed into different forms in the United States and Europe. The European game is now universally accepted. Water polo is a tough sport, but when it first began it was even tougher. Fighting between players was common, if not the norm. In 1897, New Yorker Harold Reeder formulated the first American rules for discipline, which were aimed at curbing the sport’s more violent tendencies.
WEIGHTLIFTING Weightlifting has ancient origins. It featured at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. As a means to measure strength and power, weightlifting was practiced both by ancient Egyptian and Greek societies. It developed as an international sport primarily in the 19th century and is one of the few sports to have featured at the 1896 Athens Games.
WRESTLING FREESTYLE In freestyle wrestling, wrestlers may use their arms and legs and may hold opponents above or below the waist. With the possible exception of athletics, wrestling is recognized as the world’s oldest competitive sport. Indeed cave drawings of wrestlers have been found dating as far back as 3000 BC. The sport was introduced into the ancient Olympics in 708 BC, shortly after the Games' recorded history began.
WRESTLING GRECO-ROMAN In Greco-Roman wrestling, arguably the oldest competitive sport in the world, competitors use only their arms and upper bodies to attack. With the possible exception of athletics, wrestling is recognized as the world’s oldest competitive sport. Indeed cave drawings of wrestlers have been found dating as far back as 3000 BC. The sport was introduced into the ancient Olympics in 708 BC.