What Sports Are Not In The Olympics? (Listed & Explained!)

Last Updated on October 14, 2023 by Alex PT

Cricket, polo, darts, squash, and bowling are popular sports not in the Olympics. These sports have millions of fans worldwide and are played at a highly competitive level.

Facts and Numbers:

  • Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world, with over 2.5 billion fans.
  • Polo is one of the oldest known sports, dating back over 2,000 years.
  • Darts is the most popular pub game in the United Kingdom, with over 10 million players.
  • Squash is played in over 200 countries and territories around the world.
  • Bowling is the most popular indoor participation sport in the United States, with over 100 million participants.

Sports That Are Not In The Olympic Games 

We’ve made a proper list of sporting events that are not included in the Olympics. Let’s check them out! 


At the 1900 Olympic Games, IOC introduced the Polo and was included in four other Olympics; in 1908 London, 1920 Belgium, 1924 Paris, and 1936 Berlin. However, the sport was excluded from the list of sports in the Olympics due to the high cost of transporting horses. For this reason, Argentina won the gold medal twice in 1936 and 1924, making them the most successful country in the sport. 


Netball isn’t included in the Olympics for two reasons. Firstly, it is regarded as a female-only sport. There are fewer men who participate in the sport around the world. Besides, the IOC recently included two sports (synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics) which are considered female-only sports in the Olympic program. Secondly, netball is commonly played only in Commonwealth countries such as Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, and Britain.  



In the 1904 Games in St. Louis and also at the 1908 Games in London, Lacrosse was one of the medal sports. It was designated as a demonstration sport in the 1928, 1932, and 1948 Games. The gold medal was achieved by the Shamrock Lacrosse team from Canada. Also, the bronze medal was achieved by Mohawk Indians from Canada. Lastly, USA’s St. Louis Amateur Athletic Association settle for the silver medal

Roller Sports

The sports in the Olympics are at the maximum, and the organization can’t afford to add new sports unless some of the existing ones are removed. That’s more of a reason why there’s fierce competition among these sports. Since around 2000, roller sports have been competing to be included in the Olympic program. Nonetheless, other sports with better global reach have edged out roller sports over the years. The sport is competitive and enjoyable to watch, hence, it should be considered in the next Olympics. 



In the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris, the sport was one of the most popular events with a two-day Test between Great Britain and France. Great Britain was victorious, winning the game by 158 runs. Generally, cricket remains the second most-watched sport in the world, with over 2.5 billion fans. IOC hasn’t included cricket in the Olympics, despite its global acceptance. By the way, cricket has been in Olympics before. It was among the sports in 1896 modern Games. However, the sport was withdrawn because of low entrants. 

Mixed Martial Arts

The main reason why mixed martial arts (MMA) hasn’t been included in the sports of the Olympics is that it is still regarded as a violent and dangerous sport. Another reason is its scoring system. The IOC believes the sport doesn’t have a standardized scoring system for its successful strikes. For MMA to be included in the Olympics, it needs to address these two major issues. 


In the late 1960s, floorball was created in Sweden. In today’s world, the game still remains unpopular. Floorball is still relatively new to North American sportsmen even though it is well played in Europe and Asia. We all agreed the sport’s exclusion from the Olympics is due to the fact that it’s still at the developing phase. Floorball is a sport is still modifying its youth development, a global framework of leagues, and top players. 

Water Motorsports

In the 1908 Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee gave water motorsports a full medal status, only to discontinue it soon after.  For the record, three water motorsport events were held in the same year when motorized powerboats were included in the Olympic Games. The only nations that took part in the three water motorsport races were Great Britain and France. Great Britain remains the only nation with victory in two of the races. 

Why Many Popular Sports Are Not Included in the Olympic Games?

Several factors influence which sports are included in the Olympic Games:

  1. Global Appeal: Olympic sports should have a broad global following. While some sports, like cricket, are immensely popular in certain regions, they lack a consistent, worldwide presence.
  2. Amateur Tradition: Historically, the Olympics emphasized amateur sports. However, this has evolved, and many professional athletes now compete. Some sports still struggle with this transition.
  3. Gender Equality: The International Olympic Committee promotes gender equity, which influences sport selection. Some popular sports have gender disparities that need addressing before inclusion.
  4. Infrastructure: The host city needs the infrastructure to host the sport, including venues and equipment. Not all sports can be accommodated.
  5. National Governing Bodies: For a sport to be considered, it should have a well-structured international governing body to ensure fair competition.
  6. Appeal to Youth: The Olympics aim to engage younger generations, leading to the inclusion of newer, more youth-oriented sports.
  7. Tradition and Politics: Politics can influence sport selection. Some sports have historical or political reasons for exclusion or inclusion.
  8. Doping and Corruption: Sports with pervasive doping or corruption issues face challenges in Olympic inclusion.
  9. Global Representation: The IOC seeks sports that represent various regions. If a sport is popular only in a few countries, it may be overlooked.
  10. Commercial Interests: The Olympics need sports that attract viewers and sponsors, which can impact selection.

What Sport Got Removed From The Olympics?

1. Cricket

Cricket was only featured as part of the Summer Olympics once, in the year 1900. There were only two teams participating, England and France. The sport was removed due to various reasons such as lack of global popularity and scheduling issues. Today, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is pushing for its re-introduction in the 2028 Olympic Games.

2. Croquet

Croquet was included as a sport in the 1900 Olympics, played by France, the only country that participated. A lack of international presence led to the removal of croquet from subsequent game line-ups.

3. Lacrosse

Lacrosse was featured as an official sport only twice, with athletes participating in the 1904 and 1908 Olympics. It was later showcased as a demonstration sport but was not re-enticed as an official Olympic event due to competitive limitations.

4. Polo

This sport was played in the 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924, and 1936 Olympic games. Despite its popularity and successful tournaments, the lack of standardized rules and the expense of the sport led to its removal after the 1936 Berlin Games.

5. Rugby Union

The Rugby Union was a part of the Olympic Games in 1900, 1908, 1920, and 1924. However, disagreements between the International Olympic Committee and Rugby Union’s governing body over amateur rules led to its removal. It was re-introduced as Rugby Sevens in the 2016 games.

What Is The Weirdest Olympic Sport?

The Olympics have featured several unusual or “weird” sports throughout their history. One of the strangest Olympic sports was “Rope Climbing.”

Rope Climbing:

  • Rope climbing was part of the gymnastics program at the 1896 Athens Olympics and the 1904 St. Louis Olympics.
  • In this sport, athletes had to climb a vertically suspended rope, typically with just their hands. The goal was to reach a certain height in the fastest time.
  • Athletes often climbed using a technique called “lizard climbing,” where they pinched the rope between their legs and used their hands to pull themselves up.
  • It was a test of strength and endurance rather than the speed or finesse seen in many other Olympic events.

Rope climbing is considered one of the weirdest Olympic sports because of its uniqueness and the fact that it was short-lived. It eventually fell out of favor, likely due to safety concerns and the desire to modernize the Olympics with more mainstream events.


After broad research, we’ve made a list of frequently asked questions and answers on sports that are not in the Olympics. 

What Sport Got Removed From The Olympics?

Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee president, said the two black sheep of the Olympic movement are boxing and weightlifting. In his words, these two sports remain at risk of being removed from the 2028 LA Games program. 

What Is The Weirdest Olympic Sport?

Solo synchronized swimming remains the weirdest sport in the Olympic Games. In this sport, participants are required to be in sync with the music played. A lot of people have been criticizing the idea of this sport. Some even say that solo synchronized swimming is the dumbest Olympic event of all time

What Sports Will Not Be In The 2024 Olympics?

Just like we all know, in every Olympic edition, we see the inclusion and eviction of some sports. Baseball and karate will not be in the 2024 Olympics. However, sports like Skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing will be featured in the coming Olympic Games. 

Final Word – Wrapping Up! 

Some sporting events are highly competitive and enjoyable to watch, but they’ve not been included in the Olympic Games. They are popular sports like cricket, squash, bowling, mixed martial arts, polo, netball, lacrosse, floor all, roller sports, and water moto sports. We’ve reached the closing chapter of this informative article. We hope you were able to find good and reliable resources in your quest to know the sports that are not in the Olympics. If you have any questions or comments about the article topic, don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks!



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