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7 Current Olympic Sports We Always Forget Exists

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By Jaden Francis - - 5 Mins Read
Olympic athlete holding several medals
Featured Photo | Shutterstock

When discussing the Olympics, many people immediately think of popular sports like running, swimming, gymnastics, long jump, and shot put.

However, the Olympics actually encompasses a wide range of sports, including lesser-known events such as race walking, trampoline, and more.

This article seeks to bring attention to some of the less recognized Olympic sports.

1. Race Walking


While it may lack the intense excitement and competitive edge of a typical race, race walking certainly has its fair share of suspense.

Originating from the British tradition of pedestrianism, this unique sport found its way into the Olympics in 1904.

One distinguishing feature is that participants must always keep one foot in contact with the ground, setting it apart from conventional races and adding to its level of difficulty.

Despite its longstanding presence in the Olympics, race walking often remains in the shadows, overshadowed by its faster-paced counterparts.

2. Trampoline 


This game, which seems like one only found in children's parks and in the yards of some individuals, is, in fact, an Olympic sport.

Originating from trapeze artists and finding its way into schools' physical education, it made its way into the Olympics in the year 2000 and has since been introduced in different regions of the world.

Olympic sports combine athleticism and aerial artistry quite like trampolining. Athletes jump through the air, performing flips, twists, and somersaults with precision and grace.

Despite its magnificence, trampolining remains a niche sport within the Olympic realm, often overlooked in favor of other rigorous sports.

3. Dressage


Often referred to as "horse ballet," dressage shows the cooperative relationships between horse and rider as they perform a series of intricate movements with grace and precision.

As a sport, it was introduced to the Olympics in 1912, although there are modern ways of playing the sport now.

The horses most popularly used are warm-blooded horses. Dressage remains a niche sport within the equestrian world, captivating audiences interested in horses.

4. Steeplechase


Combining elements of distance running and obstacle course racing, steeplechase is a grueling test of endurance and agility.

Athletes move through a 3,000-meter course littered with barriers and a water jump, requiring both physical prowess and strategic finesse.

Steeplechase, originating from Ireland, was introduced to the Olympics in 1900. Despite its status as one of the longest-standing track-and-field events, steeplechase often remains in the shadow of its more straightforward counterparts, as the game might seem so long.

5. Handball


A combination of both basketball and soccer, handball is a fast-paced and dynamic team sport that demands skill, strategy, and teamwork.

It consists of seven players, each on two teams, and originated from Greece but was later introduced into the Olympics in 1936.

Irrespective of its widespread popularity in Europe and beyond, handball often struggles to gain traction on the global stage.

6. Table Tennis


While it may seem like a casual backyard pastime, table tennis is a high-speed and fiercely competitive Olympic sport that requires lightning-fast reflexes and precision ball control.

Table tennis was brought into the Olympics in 1988 from Victorian England, and despite its dominance by powerhouse nations like China, it often flies under the radar compared to its counterpart, long tennis.


7. BMX


Originating in the United States from children's bicycle games around the late 19th century, it was brought to the Olympic stage as a full medal sport in 2003.

BMX racing brings thrills and spills to the Olympic stage. Riders navigate a challenging course of jumps, berms, and obstacles, showcasing both speed and technical skill.

BMX often remains on the fringes of Olympic coverage, overshadowed by more traditional cycling disciplines.


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Finally, while the Olympics showcase diverse sports and disciplines, several lesser-known events deserve recognition for their unique challenges and entertainment value.

From the precision of dressage to the adrenaline of BMX racing, these weird and wonderful Olympic sports add depth and variety to the world's premier sporting event, proving that there's something for everyone on the Olympic stage.