Demonstration sport

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A demonstration sport is a sport which is played to promote it, rather than as part of standard medal competition. This occurs most commonly during the Olympic Games, but also at other sporting events.


Demonstration sports were officially introduced in the 1912 Summer Olympics, when Sweden decided to include glima, traditional Icelandic wrestling, in the Olympic program, but with its medals not counting as official. Most organizing committees then decided to include at least one demonstration sport at each edition of the Games, usually some typical or popular sport in the host country, like baseball at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and taekwondo at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. From 1912 to 1992, only two editions of the Summer Olympics did not have demonstration sports on their program. Some demonstration sports eventually gained enough popularity to become an official sport in a subsequent edition of the Games. Traditionally, the medals awarded for the demonstration events followed the same design as the Olympic medals, but of a smaller size. They are never included in the medal count.

Demonstration sports were suspended after the 1992 Summer Olympics, as the Olympic program grew bigger and it became more difficult for the organizing committees to give them the appropriate attention, since the IOC required the same treatment to be dispensed for official and demonstration sports. [1] It is unlikely that they will be reintroduced as a requirement for future Olympic organizing committees. However, the Beijing Olympic Committee received permission from the IOC to run a wushu (martial arts) competition parallel to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008. [2] [3] [4]

From the 1984 Summer Olympics until the 2004 Summer Olympics, two Paralympic events (a men's and a women's wheelchair racing event) were included in the athletics programme of each Games. These events are considered by many as a demonstration sport, but are, in fact, used to promote the Paralympic Games. Disabled events in alpine and Nordic skiing (1988 only) were also held as demonstration sports at the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics.

Summer Olympics

Here is the list of demonstration sports played at the Summer Olympic Games:

GamesDemonstration sportsEntered the
Olympic program
(where applicable)
1908 London 1 cycle polo (men)
dueling (men)
1912 Stockholm baseball (men)
glima (men)
• 1992 2

1920 Antwerp korfball (mixed)
1924 Paris Basque pelota (men)
la canne (men)
canoeing and kayaking (men)
savate (men)

• 1936

• 1964
1928 Amsterdam kaatsen (men)
korfball (mixed)
lacrosse (men)
1932 Los Angeles American football (men)
lacrosse (men)
1936 Berlin baseball (men)
gliding (men)
kabaddi (men)
• 1992 2

1948 London lacrosse (men)
• Swedish (Ling) gymnastics (men and women)
1952 Helsinki Finnish baseball (men)
handball (men)

• 1972 3
1956 Melbourne Australian rules football (men)
baseball (men)

• 1992 2
1960 Rome none
1964 Tokyo baseball (men)
budō (men)
• 1992 2

1968 Mexico City Basque pelota (men)
tennis (men and women)

• 1988 4
1972 Munich badminton (men and women)
water skiing (men and women)
• 1992

1976 Montreal none
1980 Moscow none
1984 Los Angeles baseball (men)
tennis (men and women)
• 1992 2
• 1988 4
1988 Seoul badminton (men and women)
baseball (men)
bowling (men and women)
judo (women)
taekwondo (men and women)
• 1992
• 1992 2

• 1992
• 2000
1992 Barcelona Basque pelota (men and women)
roller hockey (men)
taekwondo (men and women)

• 2000
1996 Atlanta none
2000 Sydney none
2004 Athens none
2008 Beijing none 5
2012 London none
2016 Rio de Janeiro none 6
2020 Tokyo none 7

Under the event-based program that began with the 2020 Olympic Games, the host organizing committees added the following sports to the program with full medal status:

GamesEvent-based sports
2020 Tokyo baseball (men) 2 / softball (women) 8
karate (men and women) 8
sport climbing (men and women) 8
surfing (men and women) 8
skateboarding (men and women) 8
2024 Paris breaking (men and women) 9
sport climbing (men and women) 9
surfing (men and women) 9
skateboarding (men and women) 9
2028 Los Angeles Proposed Sports:
baseball (men) / softball (women)
flag football
2032 Brisbane TBC

Winter Olympics

Here is the list of demonstration sports played at the Winter Olympic Games:

GamesDemonstration sportsEntered the
Olympic program
(where applicable)
1924 Chamonix none
1928 St. Moritz military patrol (men)
skijoring (men)
1932 Lake Placid curling (men)
sled dog racing (men)
speed skating (women)
• 1998 1

• 1960
1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen military patrol (men)
ice stock sport (men)
1948 St. Moritz military patrol (men)
winter pentathlon (men)
1952 Oslo bandy (men)
1956 Cortina d'Ampezzo none
1960 Squaw Valley none
1964 Innsbruck ice stock sport (men)
1968 Grenoble ice dancing, then known as "rhythmic skating"• 1976
1972 Sapporo none
1976 Innsbruck none
1980 Lake Placid none
1984 Sarajevo disabled alpine skiing (men)
1988 Calgary curling (men and women)
freestyle skiing (men and women)
short track speed skating (men and women)
• disabled alpine and Nordic skiing (men and women)
• 1998
• 1992 (moguls only)
• 1992

1992 Albertville curling (men and women)
speed skiing (men and women)
• freestyle skiing aerials and ski ballet (men and women)
• 1998

1994 Lillehammer none
1998 Nagano none
2002 Salt Lake City none
2006 Turin none
2010 Vancouver none
2014 Sochi none
2018 Pyeongchang none 2

Commonwealth Games

Demonstration sports have also been held during the Commonwealth Games, sometimes under the heading of exhibition sports. [13] [14] [15]

GamesDemonstration sportsEntered the
Commonwealth Games
program (where applicable)
1958 Cardiff polo
show jumping
1962 Perth none
1966 Kingston none
1970 Edinburgh none
1974 Christchurch artist gymnastics • 1978
1978 Edmonton lacrosse
1982 Brisbane Australian rules football
table tennis

• 2002
1986 Edinburgh judo • 1990
1990 Auckland netball
• 1998
• 2002
1994 Victoria para-athletics
para-lawn bowls
• 2002
• 2002
• 2002
1998 Kuala Lumpur sepak takraw
2002 Manchester none
2006 Melbourne none
2010 Delhi none
2014 Glasgow none 1
2018 Gold Coast none 2
2022 Birmingham none

See also

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