The Olympic Games is the foremost international competition for the world’s most popular sports. Since the start of the modern Olympics in 1896, the events included in the Olympic Games have changed just as much as the times themselves.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) only includes the world’s most widely practiced sports in the Games. Among the inclusion criteria, a sport must be popular in at least 75 countries across four or more continents. A sport must also be recognized by an internal sports federation and then be voted onto the Olympic program by at least a two-thirds vote of IOC members.
Due to the IOC’s stringent inclusion criteria, many sports have been dropped from the program—as others have been added.
The following are the top-five most unusual discontinued sports of the modern Summer and Winter Olympic Games—from the perspective of the world’s current cultural norms. It includes the Games’ official sports and demonstration sports, which are played to raise their international popularity.
The list does not include unofficial sports of the Olympic Games, such as those prevalent in the 1900 Games: ballooning, cannon shooting, fire fighting, kite flying and life saving.