Skip to content

5 Most Popular Olympic Sports

most popular olympic sports

We love the Olympics and look forward to the Olympic season when we watch the glorious Olympic opening ceremonies and our favorite Olympic sport. Did you know that ancient Greek Olympic games inspired the current Olympics sports? The games were held in Olympia, thus the name of the sport.

The games have changed so much from ancient Greek times, and now we have winter and summer Olympics. We even have ice sports, Paralympic games, and even youth games. The beauty about the Olympics is that there are continental games that ensure that all continents are well represented. If you are new to the Olympics and want to learn more about them, here is a list of the most popular Olympic sports.


Athletics had to top the list, so many people watch it, and the number of people watching it keeps rising. In 2017, the world athletics estimated that more than 282 million people watched the diamond league. This was a 60 million increase from the previous year.

The games are so popular, and now more than 162 countries on six continents can watch the Olympics in the comfort of their home. Track and field events include games where athletes show their prowess in jumping, running, or throwing skills.

Running events include sprints (100, 200, and 400 m), middle distance, long-distance (3000m, steeplechase, 5000m, and 10000m), relays (4X100m, 4X400m, mixed 4X400m), hurdles (110/100m, 400m) and marathons.

Jumping events include pole vault, triple jump, high jump, and long jump.

Throwing events include: hammer throw, shot put, javelin and discus.

Other events include race walking, decathlon, and heptathlon


What not to love about gymnastics? The game is an amazing display of skill, strength, balance, and art. Watching Olympic gymnastics will make you want to get to the gym and work on your gymnastic abilities. Gymnastics has always been in the Summer Olympics since its birth in 1896.

Initially, only men were allowed to be part of the game, but in 1928, women were allowed to participate. Watching gymnastic stars with prowess like Simone Biles will keep you wanting to watch some more. CNBC estimated more than 17.4 million people were watching the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, making it the second most popular Olympic sport.

Gymnastic events include artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline. Artistic events are performed on apparatus, including different events for men and female gymnasts, the most popular being vault, ring, and bars.  Rhythmic competitions include music in their performance, and gymnasts compete with balls, hoops, and ropes. Ribbons and clubs.


Swimming is among the most popular Olympic sports.  The 2020 Tokyo Olympics had 37 events with 1000 competitors competing in the 18 men’s only, 18 females only, and 1 mixed event. While some events are most likely to overshadow swimming, viewership is still high, with 5.2 million viewers watching it on the night the event was airing.

Most viewers watch their favorite swimmers, including Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Ian Thorpe, and many more. It is very exciting to watch these amazing swimmers compete for medals, with the majority looking forward to who will win the most medals. Well, for swimming, there is always tough competition between the USA and Australia. Let us wait and see what the next Olympics have in store for us. Maybe another country will top this time.

Another water event that is slowly gaining popularity is water gymnastics. Well, it is more gymnastic than swimming, but competitors need amazing swimming skills to win the games. Watching is a reminder of dolphins and how gracefully they swim. Watching their amazing synchronized movement and amazing skill and strengths leaves you wondering how long it took them to be that perfect.


Most people may not even know that basketball is a popular summer Olympic game. Basketball was first introduced as an Olympic game in 1936. However, just like many other Olympic events, only men could play the game at the Olympics. It was not until 1976 that women’s basketball made its debut at the Olympics.

Basketball is a popular game in the USA, and because of that, over 90% of gold medals won have gone to the USA team. If you love basketball, then you should look forward to the Olympics to watch amazing players make amazing moves like alley-oops and dunks. What makes it more interesting is that you don’t have to wait so long for points to be scored.

You even get to see international players play for their home countries, even players on the same team. Look forward to the last seconds of the game for an intense play as players seek to score for their team.


Soccer, also known as football, is a popular event that even has a separate competition from the Olympics known as the FIFA world cup. Soccer was included in the Olympics in 1895 to promote the FIFA world cup events.

The Olympic soccer events have restricted the participation of elite layers, and all players have to be under 23 years. So if you love soccer, this is an opportunity to watch for new talent. Also, there are games for both men and women. The popularity of Olympic soccer is because many people love soccer because of this, many come to see some of their favorite young players.

Final Word

As well as looking forward to the next Olympics which will be held in 2024 that will be held in Paris, France, having a list of the 5 most popular Olympic sports will increase your anticipation for the sports. Some Olympic sports are undeniably more popular than others athletics are so popular that many people almost never watch other events.

Many people are unaware that other games, including soccer and basketball, are played during the Olympics. Well, if you were one of them, now you know. Other popular games that did not make it to the 5 most popular list include volleyball, judo, rugby, and sport climbing.