List of multi-sport events

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An athletics event in the 2008 Summer Olympics. The Olympic Games, part of the Olympic movement, was the first major, modern, multi-sport event of international significance.

A multi-sport event is an organized sporting event, often held over multiple days, featuring competition in many different sports between organized teams of athletes from (mostly) nation-states. Events are typically held over a few days to accommodate the large number of events held, often more than those in single-sport competitions. The first major, modern, multi-sport event of international significance was the modern Olympic Games. Some of the most recognised sporting events in the world today are multi-sport events — the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games, the Pan American Games and the Mediterranean Games — among others. This article lists all major multi-sport events, whether defunct or functioning, in the modern day. A full listing of all major multi-sport events is provided in the table below.

Transnational multi-sport events are often organised across concords of cultural elements between nations. These include language, such as the Francophone Games for French-speaking nations; ethnic, such as the Maccabiah Games for Jewish athletes; political, such as the Spartakiad used to oppose the Olympics; occupation, such as the Universiade for university students; and gender, such as World Outgames for the gay community. Participation is also delineated across other lines including region, religion, age, and season (winter instead of summer). A number of multi-sport events are held within nations, where athletes representing various intra-national states or districts compete against each other; these include the Thailand National Games and the National Games of China. These differences in intended audiences are highlighted in the table.


Prior to the modern day, there were instances of multi-sport events held centuries or millennia in the past. The Tailteann Games, held near modern Telltown in Ireland, was one of the first multi-sport festivals to be recorded, with a history that traces back to 1829 BC. There were several other games held in Europe in the classical era. the Panhellenic Games encompassed the Ancient Olympic Games, which was the precursor to the modern Olympic Games; the Pythian Games; the Nemean Games; and the Isthmian Games. The Roman Games, held in ancient Rome, focused on Greek sports as well as the Etruscan sport of gladiatorial combat. Other multi-sport festivals emerged in the Middle Ages in Europe, including the Cotswold Olimpick Games in England, the Highland games in Scotland still in existence today, and the Olympiade de la République in France in the 19th century.

As these multi-sport events or festivals occurred pre-20th century, when the rules for today's modern sports were largely different or yet to be established, these are not included in the table. The events noted in this section documents all known historical multi-sport events.


Multi-sport events can be classified by scope. Some cater to international audiences; some to regional audiences; and some are held within nations. These differences are presented in the table as well, in addition to other divisions such as ethnicity and historical origins as described earlier.

Only a few modern multi-sport events cater to international audiences without cultural or political boundaries. The most famous of these is the Olympic Games. The others are namely the World Games, established to host sports not within the Olympic scope; the World Mind Sports Games, which hosts competitions in mind sports which are not found in either of the two abovementioned events; the X Games and the Winter X Games, organised for extreme action sports; the World Combat Games, for martial arts and combat sports; and the now-cancelled Goodwill Games.

Similarly, there are also regional multi-sport events held that purely cater to regional audiences regardless of cultural and/or political elements. These are often grouped by continent and sub-continental regions. The Asian Games are held for athletes in Asia; the Central Asian Games, the East Asian Games, the South Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games cater to Central Asia, East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia respectively, which are all regions of the Asian continent. In the Americas, the largest multi-sport event that fits the description is the Pan American Games. The other multi-sport events in the continent are the South American Games, the Central American Games, the Central American and Caribbean Games and the Central American Games.

List of major multi-sport events[edit]

The criteria in listing a multi-sport event is as follows: The event should have received significant media coverage where it is covered; national, regional, or international. At the same time, organisation of the event is taken charge by a formal body, with at least one sport in the event sanctioned by an international sports federation that is recognised by the International Olympic Committee or the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF).

Title Est.1 Abl.2 Rec.3 Scope Elements limiting audience4 Notes
AAU Junior Olympic Games 1967 - 1 National Age
Afro-Asian Games 2003 2003 - Regional
ALBA Games 2005 - 2 Regional Colonial ties
African Games 1965 - 4 Regional
African Youth Games 2010 - Regional Age
Arafura Games 1991 - International
Arctic Winter Games 1970 - 2 Regional Sport type
Arnold Sports Festival 1984 - International Over 18,000 Athletes compete in more than 40 different sports.
ASEAN Para Games 2001 - 2 Regional Disabled
Asian Beach Games 2008 - 2 Regional Sport type
Asian Games 1951 - 4 Regional
Asian Indoor Games 2005 2009 2 Regional Sport type
Asian Indoor-Martial Arts Games 2013 - Regional Sport type
Asian Martial Arts Games 2009 2009 2 Regional Sport type
Asian Para Games 2010 - 4 Regional Disabled
Asian Winter Games 1986 - 4 Regional
Asian Youth Games 2009 - 4 Regional Age
Asian Youth Para Games 2009 - 4 Regional Disabled, age
Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games 2012 - Regional Occupation
Australian Youth Olympic Festival 2007 Regional Age
Balkan Games 1929 2010 1 Regional
Black Sea Games 2007 - 4 Regional Involving nations bordering the Black Sea.
Bolivarian Games 1938 4 Regional Colonial ties
Canada Games 1967 - National Includes winter edition.
CANUSA Games 1958 Regional Age
Central African Games 1976 1987 Regional
Central American and Caribbean Games 1926 - 4 Regional
Central American Games 1973 - Regional
Central Asian Games 1995 2 Regional
Children of Asia International Sports Games 1996 Regional Age Launched in 1996; devoted to the 100th anniversary of the Olympic movement.
Chungcheongbuk-do Junior Sports Festival 1972 - 1 Provinces
Chungcheongbuk-do Sports Festival 1962 - 1 Provinces
Chungcheongnam-do Sports Festival 1949 - 1 Provinces
Commonwealth Games 1930 4 International Colonial ties, language Involving nations in the Commonwealth of Nations. Includes winter edition.
Commonwealth Youth Games 2000 - 4 International Colonial ties, language, age
CPISRA World Games 1989 - International Disabled
CPLP Games 1990 - International Age, language
Deaflympics 1924 - 4 International Disabled Longest running multi-sport event excluding the Olympic Games.[1] Includes winter edition.
Défi sportif 1984 International Disabled
East Asian Games 1993 2013 4 Regional Organised by the East Asian Games Association (EAGA) for East Asian nations as well as the Pacific island of Guam (Oceania).
EuroGames 1992 - Regional Sexual orientation
European Games 2015 - 4 Regional Newest multi-sport event.
European Masters Games 2008 - 4 Regional
European Youth Olympic Festival 1991 - 2 Regional Age Includes winter edition.[2]
Extremity Games 2006 - 1 International Disabled
Far Eastern Championship Games 1913 1938 2 Regional
FESPIC Games 1975 2006 4 Regional
FESPIC Youth Games 2003 2003 - Regional Age
Friendship Games 1984 1984 - International
Games of the New Emerging Forces (GANEFO) 1963 1966 International Set up by Indonesia in late 1962 as a counter to the Olympic Games, with participation meant for so-called "emerging nations".
Games of the Small States of Europe 1985 - 2 Regional Population size
Gangwon-do Sports Festival 1966 - 1 Provinces
Gay Games 1982 - 4 International Sexual orientation Organized by and specifically for the LGBT community, although people of every sexual orientation and every skill level can participate.
Goodwill Games 1986 2001 4 International Created by Ted Turner in reaction to the political troubles surrounding the Olympic Games in the 1980s; last held in 2001. Included winter edition.
Gyeonggi-do Sports Festival 1955 - 1 Provinces
Gyeongsangbuk-do Junior Sports Festival 2004 - 1 Provinces
Gyeongsangbuk-do Sports Festival 1963 - 1 Provinces
Gyeongsangbuk-do Students Sports Festival 2004 2008 1 Provinces
Gyeongsangnam-do Sports Festival 1962 - 1 Provinces
Gymnasiade 1974 - 4 International Age
Indian Ocean Island Games 1979 - 4 Regional Religion
Inter-Allied Games 1919 1919 - Regional Religion
Invictus Games 2014 - 1 International Occupation Military wounded. Originated in the United Kingdom and held internationally
Islamic Solidarity Games 2005 - Regional Religion Involves member-states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
Island Games 1985 - 2 Regional
IWAS World Games 1948 - 1 International Disabled
Jeollabuk-do Sports Festival 1964 - 1 Provinces
Jeollanam-do Sports Festival 1962 - 1 Provinces
Jeux de la Francophonie 1989 - 4 International
Kingdom Games 1995 - 2 National
Korean National Junior Sports Festival 1972 - 1 National
Korean National Para Games 1981 - 1 National
Korean National Sports Festival 1934 - 1 National
Korean National Winter Para Games 2004 - 1 National
Korean National Winter Sports Festival 1934 - 1 National
Korean National Youth Para Games 2008 - 1 National Disabled, age
Lakota Nation Invitational 1976 - - National
Liberty Bell Classic 1980 1980 - International
Lithuanian National Olympics 1938 2006 4 International First games held in 1938, but 2nd games did not held until 1998.[3]
Lusophony Games 2006 - 4 International Colonial ties, language
Maccabiah Games 1932 - 4 International
Mediterranean Games 1951 - 4 Regional
Micronesian Games 1969 - 4 Regional
Military World Games 1995 - International Occupation Military personnel
Mind Sports Olympiad 1997 - 1 International Reduced in size after 2000.[4]
National Games of the People's Republic
of China
1910 - 4 National
Nitro World Games 2016 - - International Sport type
Nordic Games 1901 1926 Regional
North American Indigenous Games 1990 - 4 Regional
Olympic Games 1896 - 4 International
Pacific Games 1963 4 Regional
Pacific Mini Games 1981 - 4 Regional
Palarong Pambansa 1948 - 1 National Age Sport Events held annually for the elementary and high school students in the Philippines
Pan American Games 1951 - 4 Regional
Pan American Sports Festival 2014 - 4 Regional
Pan Arab Games 1953 - Regional
Pan-Armenian Games 1999 - International
Paralympic Games 1960 - 4 International Disabled
Parapan American Games 1999 - 4 Regional Disabled
People's Olympiad 1936 1936 - International
South American Games 1978 - 4 Regional
South Asian Games 1984 - 2 Regional
South Pacific Games 1963 2007 4 Regional
Pacific Pacific Mini Games 1981 2005 4 Regional
SELL Student Games 1923 - 1 International Age
Southeast Asian Games 1959 - 2 Regional
Spartakiad 1928 International
Special Olympics 1968 - International Disabled
State Games of America (National Congress of State Games component games listed below) 1999 - - National
TAFISA World Sport for All Games 1992 - 4 International Sport type Also called the World Traditional Sports and Games Festival. The 6th edition in Jakarta will involve over 100 countries. [5]
Tailteann Games 1924 1936 International Ethnicity A revival of the ancient Tailteann Games of Gaelic Ireland
Universiade 1959 - 2 International Age
Warrior Games 2010 - 1 International Occupation Military wounded. Held in the United States and open to U.S. and British armed forces personnel
West Asian Games 1997 2005 4 Regional
Women's Islamic Games 1993 - 4 Regional Religion, sex
World Festival of Youth and Students 1947 - International Age
World Lithuanians Games 1978 - 4 International Started in 1978 in Canada, since 1991 usually held in Lithuania (Athletes from Lithuania itself debuted only in 3rd Games in 1988).[6]
World Games 1981 - 4 International
World Interuniversity Games 1999 - 1 International Age
World Masters Games 1985 - 4 International
World Mind Sports Games 2008 - International
World OutGames 2006 - International Sexual orientation
World Police and Fire Games 1985 - 2 International Occupation
World Wheelchair and Amputee Games 1948 - 1 International Disabled
X Games 1995 - 1 National Sport type Winter X Games
Youth Olympic Games 2010 - 4 International Age

1. Established – Year in which first edition was held   2. Abolished – Year in which last edition was held   3. Recurrence (in years)   4. Cultural and/or political elements that limit audiences as intended (e.g. ethnicity, religion, gender, occupation)

Component games[edit]

National Congress of State Games[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Four medals for GB in 21st Deaflympic Games". England Athletics. 7 October 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
  2. ^ "Trabzon, Host of 2011 European Olympic Festival, To Be Promoted in Finland". Journal of Turkish Weekly. 9 July 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
  3. ^
  4. ^ The South Bank Brain Show, The Independent, 21 June 1997, William Hartson
  5. ^ The 6th TAFISA World Sport for All Games 2016
  6. ^ Klaipėdoje vyksta IX Pasaulio lietuvių sporto žaidynės

External links[edit]