Demonstration sport

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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 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[edit]

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

Games Demonstration sports Entered the
Olympic program
(where applicable)
1900 Paris1 angling (men)
ballooning (men)
boules (men)
cannon shooting (men)
fire fighting (men)
kite flying (men)
jeu de paume (men)
lifesaving (men)
longue paume (men)
motorsport (men)
pigeon racing (men)
water motorsports (men)
1904 St. Louis1 basketball (men)
American football (men)
Gaelic football (men)
hurling (men)
motor cycling (men)
• 1936

1908 London1 cycle polo (men)
dueling (men)
1912 Stockholm baseball (men)
glima (men)
• 19922

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)
• 19922

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

• 19723
1956 Melbourne Australian rules football (men)
baseball (men)

• 19922
1960 Rome none
1964 Tokyo baseball (men)
budō (men)
• 19922

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

• 19884
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)
• 19922
• 19884
1988 Seoul badminton (men and women)
baseball (men)
bowling (men and women)
judo (women)
taekwondo (men and women)
• 1992
• 19922

• 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 none5
2012 London none
2016 Rio de Janeiro none6
2020 Tokyo none7
  • 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.[5]
  • 2 Removed from Olympic program after 2008.
  • 3 Was part of the program in 1936.
  • 4 Was part of the program between 1896 and 1924.
  • 5 The IOC permitted a parallel wushu competition to be run (2008 Beijing Wushu Tournament), but this was not an official demonstration sport.
  • 6 The IOC permitted a parallel esports competition to be run (known as the eGames), but this was not an official demonstration sport.
  • 7 Though not explicitly listed as an demonstration sport, the Japan Sumo Association will hold a special two-day exhibition tournament between the Olympics and Paralympics as part of a larger official Olympics cultural festival.[6][7][8]

Winter Olympics[edit]

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

Games Demonstration sports Entered 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)
• 19981

• 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 none2
  • 1 Was part of the program in 1924, which in 2002 the IOC retroactively decided would be considered an official Olympic event.
  • 2 Though not listed as a demonstration sport, the Intel Extreme Masters held an esports tournament for two games (StarCraft II and Steep) with official support from the IOC.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Olympic Games Medals, Results, Sports, Athletes | Medailles, Resultats, Sports et Athletes des Jeux Olympiques". Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  2. ^ "Wushu to be part of Beijing Olympic Games - Culture News - News Brief". Newsgd. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  3. ^ "Xinhua - English". 2005-10-16. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  4. ^ "Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008 to begin August 21". Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. 2008-08-05. Archived from the original on 2008-08-08.
  5. ^ "Olympic Games Medallists - Other Sports". Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Zaccardi, Nick (3 November 2017). "Esports event in PyeongChang before Olympics supported by IOC". NBC News. Retrieved 5 November 2017.

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