It’s easy to think that the sports played during the Olympic Games are elite sports reserved for professionals only. While this might be true for some very specialized events, most of the sports showcased are being commonly played around the world.
Only the very best athletes reach Olympic standard, but most people learn how to participate in one or more of the games as part of their normal recreation. If you are not involved in any sports, this could be a good time to start with one of these Olympic sports that anyone can learn.
- Table Tennis
- Equestrian Dressage
- Beach Volleyball
Archery is the sport where you skillfully use a bow to shoot arrows. It is seen by many not only as a sport but also as an art. Originally archery was used for combat or hunting. Nowadays, it is a recreational activity and a competitive sport.
In competitions, the archer shoots arrows at a target from set distances. This form of target archery is popular worldwide. Target archery became a modern Olympic sport at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
Archery is a very popular sport nowadays and instructors and clubs are widely available. If this is a sport you are interested in, you could start by joining an archery club near you. This can become your favorite leisure-time activity, or with practice, you can even evolve into a competitive archer.
Badminton is a sport where a shuttlecock (‘birdie’) is hit with rackets across a net. It can be played with larger teams, but the most common form of the game is with one player facing off against another player. Doubles, with two players per side, are also very popular.
Although badminton is often played outside in a yard or on the sand as a casual outdoor activity, formal games are played on a rectangular indoor court. Because it is so popular, you will easily find a club nearby where you can start playing badminton.
The game is also often organized to play through churches or other organizations as part of their leisure-time activities.This is an Olympic sport you can easily learn to play and enjoy. It became an Olympic sport during the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and has been included in all Summer Games since.
Baseball is a bat-and-ball game. Two teams alternate turns at bat and on the field. The pitcher throws a ball to a player on the batting team who has to hit it with his bat. The objective is to hit the ball into the field of play, allowing players to run around bases to score runs.
If you have good hand-eye coordination you would be able to learn to play baseball. It is played competitively in most cities and even small villages. You can either start by joining a local informal group or club.
Baseball evolved from old bat-and-ball games already being played across England in the mid-1700s. The game was brought to North America by immigrants where the modern version developed. It has been an Olympic sport since 1992.
Table tennis is also known as ping-pong and whiff-whaff when played socially. Two or four players use small rackets to hit a lightweight ball back and forth across a hard table. Points are scored when a player fails to return the ball back over the net on the table within the rules.
Competitive table tennis is popular in East Asia and Europe and has gained attention in the United States in recent years. Table tennis is popular as a social game and many families have a table tennis board and net ready somewhere in the house.
The game demands quick reactions and good eye-hand coordination. If you have these skills, table tennis is the one Olympic sport you can learn to play quickly. Table tennis has been part of the Olympic Games since 1988.
The foil, the épée, and the sabre are the three fencing disciplines in modern fencing and feature in the modern Olympic Games. Most competitive fencers take part in only one of the disciplines. You win points when your weapon makes contact with the opponent.
There are fencing studios and trainers in virtually every city around the world and you can join a studio to learn the basics of the different disciplines and then decide which your favorite is. You have to wear special protective clothing when partaking in fencing, which means it could be a costly sport to partake in.
Competitive fencing is one of only five activities that have been featured in every Olympic Games since the birth of the modern Olympic Games in 1896. To get to the Olympic standard takes years of practice and experience, but you can in a short time be good enough to enjoy friendly and low-level local competitions.
Swimming has been a part of the Olympic Games since the first modern Olympics in 1896. It offers varied distance events for the different swimming styles. This is the one Olympic sport you can easily learn.
Public and private swimming pools are in abundance. For many people, swimming forms part of their weekly recreational activities. To develop from a casual swimmer to a good swimmer you’ll need coaching. Discover the style you like and concentrate on that.
If you join a swimming club, get coached in the style you’ve chosen and practice regularly, you might end up as part of the club’s swimming teams. If you are not interested in swimming competitively there are usually also social swimming events available.
If you are a team sport enthusiast and want to play in a team, handball could be a good choice. In handball two teams of seven players pass a ball using only their hands with the objective to throw it into the goal of the other team.
Modern handball is played on a court of 131 ft. by 66 ft., with a goal in the middle of each end. Points are scored by throwing the ball from a specified distance into the goal. The sport is played indoors, but an outdoor version was part of the Olympic Games in 1936.
Since 1972 the indoor version has been part of all the Olympic Games. Look for a handball team or club near you and make yourself available. If you are accepted, start with some coaching sessions. Even if you never get into an Olympic team, you will enjoy your local games.
Sailing was part of the Olympic Games for the first time at the 1900 Games. Since then, the classes of boats competing have evolved. The movement reflects advances in yacht design and technology.
Although it is an expensive sport to be involved with, sailing is an Olympic sport you can start taking part in. Start by finding partners or already involved sailors and make yourself available.
Enjoy taking part in various kinds of racing, including club racing, fleet racing, match racing, team racing, speed sailing, and many other sailing categories. Most of these competitions are held within defined classes.
Equestrianism was part of the Olympic Games for the first time during the 1900 Games in Paris. Then it disappeared, but returned in 1912 and has been in every Summer Olympic Games. Dressage is one of the disciplines in the Equestrian section of the Games.
If you are a horse-lover and even perhaps have your own horses, equestrian dressage is an Olympic sport you can pursue. Dressage competitions consist of a series of individual tests. When you’ve mastered the tests required for dressage as competition, you can always follow the other tradition of classical dressage.
This is where the traditional training of dressage is pursued as an art form. Even if you never reach the highest level of modern competition, the Grand Prix level, you will enjoy your time with the horses.
This outdoor sport is a very popular sport to play on beaches. For this reason, it is also probably the easiest Olympic team sport you can participate in socially and competitively.
Beach volleyball was a demonstration sport at the 1992 Summer Olympics and since the 1996 Games has been part of the Olympics. It is played by two teams of two players each on a sand court. It is easy to play socially with friends on any beach you can find.
But you can also contact your nearest beach volleyball club and get training to be part of one of the club’s teams. This is an Olympic sport you can learn and then develop into a rather good player.
These are only a few Olympic sports in which you can join a local club, get trained, and become part of the available teams. Some of the other sports mentioned, like archery and equestrian dressage, are sports where you partake on a more individual basis.
The bottom line is that the Olympic Games are a showcase of all kinds of sports, including those which you can learn to play with ease!