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Past Sports of the Olympics

There are currently 32 sports on the program at the Paris Olympic Games, though the number has generally increased over time. It is surprising the large number and variety of sports and events that have at one time been officially part of the Olympic Games. There are also many sports that have been demonstration sports, and some of these have made it onto the official program too.

olympic Games Standing High Jump in 1908Ray Ewry performing a standing high-jump
from: The Official Sport of the Olympic Games of 1908

Discontinued Olympic Sports

Since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, as many as ten sports have disappeared completely from the schedule, such as croquet, cricket, jeu de paume, pelota, polo, roque, rackets, tug-of-war and motor boating. The Winter Olympics also has a few sports and events that have been discontinued.

The most recent sports to become discontinued are baseball and softball which were dropped from the 2012 Games (but were back again for Tokyo 2020). This was the first time in 69 years that a sport itself had been removed from the Olympic program, with the previously dropped sport polo removed in 1936.

In 2021, the martial art of Karate made an appearance, but was dropped again for the next Olympics. Breakdancing will make its debut in 2024, but will quickly become a discontinued sport after being dropped from the program for the 2028 Olympics. The long time discontinued sports of lacrosse and cricket are set to make a comeback at the 2028 LA Olympics.

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Discontinued Events

As well as sports themselves being dropped from the Olympics, there are many more events or sporting disciplines that have been removed from sports that are still on the program, such as the swimming events of plunge for distance and underwater swimming, the track and field events of the standing highjump and tug-of-war, and the shooting events of running deer and dueling pistol.

There are many more, you can have a look at the complete list of all discontinued sports, or my list of some the more unusual sports.

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Olympics Extra

The next Olympics will be in Paris 2024, followed by the Winter edition in Milan-Cortina 2026. Check out the list of Olympic Games sports, as well as discontinued and demonstration sports.

Major Events Extra

The largest sporting event in the world is the Olympic Games, but there are many other multi-sport games. In terms of single sport events, nothing beats the FIFA World Cup. To see what's coming up, check out the calendar of major sporting events.

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