A demonstration sport is a sport which is played to promote it, most commonly during the Olympic Games, but also at other sporting events.
Demonstration sports were officially introduced in 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 very 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. These medals 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. 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 competition parallel to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008.
Since the 1984 Summer Olympics, two Paralympic events (a men's and a women's wheelchair racing event) have been included in the athletics (track and field) 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.
Here is the list of demonstration sports played at the Summer Olympic Games:
1 Although demonstration sports were "officially" introduced only in 1912, at the first Olympics some sports competitions were held simultaneously to the games, and today are considered "unofficial" or demonstration sports as well.
2 Removed from Olympic program after 2008.
3 Was part of the program between 1896 and 1924.
4 The IOC permitted a parallel Wushu competition to be run, but this was not an official demonstration sport.
Here is the list of demonstration sports played at the Winter Olympic Games:
5 Was part of the program in 1924, which in 2002 the IOC retroactively decided would be considered an official Olympic event.
- "Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008 to begin August 21". Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. 2008-08-05.