Modern Olympic Sports
The Summer Olympic Games have featured 43 different sports over its history, including a number of additions over the years, creating today's list of modern Olympic Sports. The 2012 Games in London features 26 sports with both baseball and softball removed following a 2006 vote. Here are some of the modern additions to the Summer Olympic Games.
- Tennis (1988). Tennis was an Olympic sport from 1896-1924. The Olympics dropped it and tennis did not reappear until 1988, when it finally returned as a full medal sport. In 2004, the results from the Olympics began counting towards ATP and WTA world rankings. Tennis pros Steffi Graf, Boris Becker, Jennifer Capriati, Andre Agassi, Lindsey Davenport, Venus and Serena Williams, Monica Seles, Roger Dederer and Rafael Nadal have all won medals at the Summer Olympic Games.
- Table Tennis (1988). The same year the Summer Olympic Games added tennis as a modern sport, table tennis also made its debut. China has dominated the sport, winning 20 gold medals as of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Due to the Chinese dominance, the committee changed the rules to group competitors to keep single countries from dominating the three top medals in an event. China’s 41 total medals are 24 more than their closest competitor, South Korea.
- Badminton (1992). Badminton made its Summer Olympic Games debut in 1992 with four events, both men’s and women’s singles and doubles. The competition added mixed doubles in the 1996 Games. China has dominated the event, winning 20 total medals and 11 gold medals. The closest competition is South Korea, with 17 total medals and six gold medals.
- Triathlon (since 2000). The Summer Olympic Games added the triathlon in 2000. The first event included 48 women and 52 men but increased to 55 men and 55 women by the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. The triathlon consists of a 1.5 km (0.93 mile) swim, 40 km (24.85 mile) cycle and a 10 km (6.21 mile) run. In the first three Summer Olympic Games (2000, 2004, 2008), no country repeated as the gold medal winner.
- Taekwondo (since 2000). After being tested as a demonstration sport in 1988 and 1992, taekwondo became a full medal sport in 2000. The competition is a single elimination tournament for various weight categories. South Korea has dominated the event, winning 12 medals in the event’s first three Summer Olympic Games, including nine gold medals. The United States ranks third with six total medals, only two of them gold.
- Golf and Rugby Sevens (2016). Both golf and rugby sevens make their Summer Olympic Games debut in 2016. Golf was a full medal sport in 1900 and 1904 and makes it return thanks in part to the interest shown by professional golfers who are allowed to compete. Rugby sevens is a variation of rugby using seven players instead of the normal 15. The addition of rugby sevens to the Summer Olympic Games means the Rugby World Cup Sevens will end following the 2013 championships.