Most Watched Summer Olympic Sports

Gymnastics is one of the most watched Summer Olympic sports. Editorial credit: Leonard Zhukovsky /

The Summer Olympic Games is one of the world’s most highly anticipated sporting tournaments that is held once every 4 years. The modern Summer Olympic Games event was established in 1894, and since then, these events have been hosted in 5 continents by 19 countries. The Summer Olympics includes a wide range of sporting events and has expanded its scope from 42 events (1896) to 306 events (2016). Some of the most-watched sports in the Summer Olympic Games include:


Gymnastics is a unique game that involves several exercises that require endurance, coordination, agility, balance, flexibility, and strength. The movements involved in this sport contribute to the development of abdominal, chest, arms, shoulders, legs, and back muscle groups. Gymnastics has been part of this sporting event since the first modern Summer Olympic Games of 1896 that was held in Athens, which only featured men gymnastic events. The women’s gymnastics competitions were introduced in 1928. Gymnastic Olympic Games have been the most-watched Olympic sport since 1996 when it garnered the highest number of viewers on the planet, especially with the Magnificent-7 winning their first-ever gold for the United States women’s team. According to NBC, the women’s gymnastics competition (when the U.S. won a gold medal) was watched by over 38.7 million viewers.


Swimming is a very popular event at the Olympic Games, and it has the second-most competitions right after Athletics. Swimming has featured in all the modern Summer Olympic. However, it was open to female swimmers in the fifth Summer Olympics Games. The Americans have dominated swimming for more than 2 decades, with some of the most decorated American swimmers like Michael Phelps winning 23 gold medals. Michael holds the record for Olympic gold medals. The United States has won the most medals in the swimming competitions since 1896, followed by Australia (188 medals).


Athletics have been contesting in the tournament since the 1896 Summer Olympics Games and the athletics events can trace its roots to the ancient Greek-Olympics. The track-and-field has the most events in this international tournament followed by swimming, and it is one of the most-watched sports in history. It is a unique sport that involves several contests that are based on the skills of running, throwing, and jumping. The name ‘’track-and-field’’ is derived from the place where the events take place (a field for jumping and throwing events and a running track). The foot racing events are won by individuals who finish them in the shortest time possible while the throwing and jumping sports are won by individuals who can achieve greater heights or distances. Some of the regular throwing events include hammer, discus, javelin, and shot put while the common jumping events are triple-jumps, pole vault, long-jumps, and high-jumps. Most athletics events are individual games with only one winner. One of the highlights at the Olympics is the 100-meter men’s competition, which awards the record holder the title ‘’the-fastest-man-on the-earth.’’


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