Demonstration sport

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

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

GamesDemonstration sportsEntered the
Olympic program
(where applicable)
1900 Paris1angling (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. Louis1basketball (men)
American football (men)
Gaelic football (men)
hurling (men)
motor cycling (men)
• 1936

1908 London1cycle polo (men)
dueling (men)
1912 Stockholmbaseball (men)
glima (men)
• 19922

1920 Antwerpkorfball (mixed)
1924 ParisBasque pelota (men)
la canne (men)
canoeing and kayaking (men)
savate (men)

• 1936

• 1964
1928 Amsterdamkaatsen (men)
korfball (mixed)
lacrosse (men)
1932 Los AngelesAmerican football (men)
lacrosse (men)
1936 Berlinbaseball (men)
gliding (men)
kabaddi (men)
• 19922

1948 Londonlacrosse (men)
• Swedish (Ling) gymnastics (men and women)
1952 HelsinkiFinnish baseball (men)
handball (men)

• 19723
1956 MelbourneAustralian rules football (men)
baseball (men)

• 19922
1960 Romenone
1964 Tokyobaseball (men)
budō (men)
• 19922

1968 Mexico CityBasque pelota (men)
tennis (men and women)

• 19884
1972 Munichbadminton (men and women)
water skiing (men and women)
• 1992

1976 Montrealnone
1980 Moscownone
1984 Los Angelesbaseball (men)
tennis (men and women)
• 19922
• 19884
1988 Seoulbadminton (men and women)
baseball (men)
bowling (men and women)
judo (women)
taekwondo (men and women)
• 1992
• 19922

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

• 2000
1996 Atlantanone
2000 Sydneynone
2004 Athensnone
2008 Beijingnone5
2012 Londonnone
2016 Rio de Janeironone6
2020 Tokyonone7
  • 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

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

GamesDemonstration sportsEntered the
Olympic program
(where applicable)
1924 Chamonixnone
1928 St. Moritzmilitary patrol (men)
skijoring (men)
1932 Lake Placidcurling (men)
sled dog racing (men)
speed skating (women)
• 19981

• 1960
1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchenmilitary patrol (men)
ice stock sport (men)
1948 St. Moritzmilitary patrol (men)
winter pentathlon (men)
1952 Oslobandy (men)
1956 Cortina d'Ampezzonone
1960 Squaw Valleynone
1964 Innsbruckice stock sport (men)
1968 Grenobleice dancing, then known as "rhythmic skating"• 1976
1972 Sapporonone
1976 Innsbrucknone
1980 Lake Placidnone
1984 Sarajevodisabled alpine skiing (men)
1988 Calgarycurling (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 Albertvillecurling (men and women)
speed skiing (men and women)
• freestyle skiing aerials and ski ballet (men and women)
• 1998

1994 Lillehammernone
1998 Naganonone
2002 Salt Lake Citynone
2006 Turinnone
2010 Vancouvernone
2014 Sochinone
2018 Pyeongchangnone2
  • 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