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The Ultimate List of Olympic Sports

An Olympic history

The first Olympic Games, originating in ancient Greece in 776 BCE as part of a festival dedicated to Zeus, featured diverse athletic contests and continued for over a millennium.

These ancient Olympics featured several sports, mostly centering around athletics and chariot racing, but with some which still feature today, such as boxing and freestyle wrestling.

Abolished in 393 CE, they were resurrected in the modern era by Baron Pierre de Coubertin. The inaugural modern Olympics took place in Athens in 1896, emphasising international unity and peace.

Since then, the summer Olympics have grown in scale, becoming a quadrennial global spectacle with both Summer and Winter editions. Governed by the International Olympic Committee, the Olympic Games showcase many sports and disciplines, embodying the ideals of friendship and fair play.

The anticipation for the Summer 2024 Paris Olympics is reaching new heights with an electrifying showcase of athletic prowess and international camaraderie. With athletes competing for prestigious Olympic medals, the entire Olympic programme is set to captivate audiences worldwide.

The Olympic Village will buzz with the energy of athletes from various national Olympic nations, competing in an array of events under the watchful eye of international federations. As Paris gears up to host the Olympic Games, the stage is set for a memorable celebration of inspirational sportsmanship and achievement.

Olympic games logo, 5 rings

How many sports are in the Olympics list?

How many sports are in the Olympics list?

There are a total of 32 sports in the Summer Olympic Games and 7 sports in the Winter Olympic Games. Karate, baseball and softball were all removed from the Olympic programme following the games in Tokyo four years ago.

The 2024 list of Olympic sports include: archery, athletics, badminton, basketball (including 3×3 format), boxing, canoeing (both slalom and sprint), various cycling disciplines (road, track, mountain biking, BMX freestyle, and BMX racing), equestrian events, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics (artistic, rhythmic, and trampoline), handball, hockey, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, roller skating (speed), rugby sevens, sailing, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball (including beach volleyball), diving, skateboarding, sport climbing, marathon swimming, artistic swimming, swimming, water polo, weightlifting, and wrestling.

Break-dancing makes its Olympic debut this year, promising a fantastic spectacle of skill, rhythm and strength!

The number of sports in the Winter Olympics can vary. Generally, there are several winter sports included in the Winter Olympics the 2022 Winter Olympics featured sports such as alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, luge, Nordic combined, short track speed skating, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboarding and speed skating.

figure skater, ice skater, ice

Who to look out for in the 2024 Olympic games

Athletics/track and field:

Athletics, commonly known as track and field, is a cornerstone of the Olympic Games, showcasing a diverse range of events that test athletes’ speed, strength, and agility. This dynamic and captivating sport includes sprints, middle distance and long distance races, hurdles, relays, jumping events (such as long jump, triple jump, and high jump), and throwing events (including shot put, discus, javelin and hammer throw).

The Olympic track and field competitions bring together athletes from around the world, providing a platform for them to demonstrate their athletic prowess and break records. Athletes train rigorously to compete in these events, contributing to the rich legacy and excitement of the summer Olympics.

Who to look out for:

Max Burgin from Great Britain – specialising in the 800 metres with a remarkable 1:43 pace, his bold front running style demands attention that cannot be overlooked.


Swimming is another key sport of the modern Olympic games, featuring a variety of events that test athletes’ skill and endurance in the water. The Olympic swimming competitions include individual and relay races, as well as different strokes such as freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly.

Swimmers from around the world showcase their speed and technique, aiming for a bronze, silver or gold medal and the chance to set new world records. The Olympic swimming events captivate audiences with thrilling races, underwater feats, and moments of intense competition. With a history dating back to the early days of the modern Olympic sports, swimming continues to be an important element of the Olympic games, showcasing the power and grace of aquatic athletes.

Who to look out for:

Medi Harris from Great Britain – who made her mark as a finalist in her debut World Championships at the international federation for both the 50m and 100m events, is poised to become a pivotal figure in numerous medley relays in the future.

swimmers, swimming, pool


Gymnastics takes centre stage at the Olympic Games, showcasing extraordinary strength and agility. Events include artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline gymnastics.

Artistic gymnastics features mesmerising routines on various apparatus like the vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise, with athletes displaying breathtaking acrobatics and precise movements. Rhythmic gymnastics combines elements of dance and apparatus manipulation, while trampoline gymnastics adds a dynamic, airborne dimension to the competition.

Gymnastics in the Olympics provides a platform for athletes to demonstrate their unparalleled flexibility, coordination, and artistic flair, making it a captivating and iconic part of the Games.

Who to look out for:

Ondine Achampong from Great Britain – In 2021, the teenager showcased her skills on the balance beam, marking a breakout year that saw her clinch her first British all-around title. She also secured a silver medal at the World Championships held in Liverpool.

gymnastics, gymnast, sports


Football at the Olympic games is extremely popular and brings together top talent from competing nations. The tournament features all-round competition with men and women, with national teams vying for the coveted gold medal. As a dynamic team sport, football in the Olympics showcases skillful ball control, strategic play, and dramatic goals.

The matches are a culmination of intense qualifying rounds, leading to the grand stage of the Olympic tournament. Football not only provides a global platform for showcasing the prowess of young talents but also adds an element of national pride as teams compete for Olympic glory and the honour of representing their countries on this prestigious stage.

Take a look at our top six football games for kids to incorporate into PE lessons. These engaging and fun activities aim to enhance physical education by combining skill development with enjoyment.

Olympic sports such as football are hugely exciting and entertaining.


Basketball at the Olympic Games is a high flying, fast paced spectacle that captivates audiences worldwide. The tournament features top-tier men’s and women’s competitions, bringing together elite teams from different nations. With its dynamic gameplay, slam dunks, and three pointers, Olympic basketball showcases the athleticism and skill of the world’s best players.

The battles on the hardwood are intense, culminating in thrilling matchups that determine the Olympic champions. As a global sporting event, Olympic basketball not only provides a stage for showcasing individual brilliance but also fosters camaraderie and friendly competition among nations, making it a highlight of the Games.

Take a look at our blog that highlights the best sports activities for kids throughout the year. Especially basketball, as engaging in dribbling activities enhances fine motor skills and spatial awareness for kids, especially when practicing manoeuvre in relation to themselves and others.

man, ball, basketball

Olympic and Paralympic games

In 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttmann orchestrated an Olympic sports competition for 16 World War II veterans with spinal cord related injuries in Stoke Mandeville, England. This marked the beginning of an international movement, now recognised as the Paralympic Movement.

The inaugural Olympic style games for athletes with disabilities were held in Rome in 1960, attracting 400 participants from 23 countries who competed in eight sports. Held every four years, parallel to the Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games have evolved into a major global event, promoting social inclusion.

The future games, including the upcoming event in Paris 2024, are anticipated to captivate television viewers and foster a spirit of competition and camaraderie among host countries and participants from around the world.

paralympics, athletes, wheelchairs

In the spirit of the Summer 2024 Paris Olympics, Premier Education invites you to embark on a thrilling journey with our Eiffel Athletics Trail! Tailored for primary pupils, this fully coached in-school program is designed to encourage participation and boost confidence through exciting activities inspired by the games in Paris 2024. Join us in celebrating the Olympic programme and register your interest today for an unforgettable sports experience! Visit Eiffel Athletics Trail to take the first step toward an active and empowering summer!