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The Olympics is one of the most exciting events in the world. Every four years, the most skilled and talented athletes from across the globe compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals. Part athletic competition and part show of international goodwill, millions of people tune in to watch their favorite athletes compete in events as diverse as they are numerous. While each event requires skill, not every event has many followers or spectators. The following list comprises the most popular Olympic sports and details the extreme training athletes must endure to make it to the games.


Basketball is not just a popular sport for the NBA or the NCAA enthusiasts. Countless people from across the globe have fallen in love with the sport and enjoy seeing their athletes compete in the Olympic Games. Olympic basketball is so exciting that teams do not simply represent schools or significant franchises. Instead, Olympic teams are comprised of athletes from a single country. When Olympic basketball players compete, they play for the honor and victory of their nation.


Swimming has become one of the Olympics’ most popular sports in recent years due to the excellence of one swimmer in particular: American athlete Michael Phelps. Phelps’ stellar career includes appearances at five Olympic Games and 28 medals, 23 gold medals. Olympic swimming consists of competitions based on stroke styles, such as the backstroke and breaststroke, over a pre-determined distance, featuring representation from countless countries.


Gymnastics has become synonymous with the Olympics since the first Olympic Games of the modern era in 1896. What sets gymnastics apart from other events is that competitors need to display impeccable athleticism combined with astounding creativity. Olympic gymnastics are divided into three distinct subsets: artistic gymnastics, trampoline gymnastics, and rhythmic gymnastics. Artistic gymnastics is typically performed on a beam as judges evaluate competitors on the complexity and style of their routines. Trampoline gymnastics sees athletes soar into the air as they are judged according to the execution of their routine and overall body control. Only female athletes compete in rhythmic gymnastics, which requires competitors to perform a routine with the help of an instrument such as a hoop or ribbon.


Combat sports are becoming increasingly popular among spectators, and judo is one of the most well-known styles. A competitor wins matches by pinning their adversary to the ground or forcing them to submit after placing them in a hold or lock. Many spectators enjoy judo because, due to a competitor’s technique, a match can sometimes be decided at the last minute.