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Olympic Sports

The Olympics are held every four years and gather athletic talent from around the globe. While some common sports, like soccer and volleyball, are played in the modern Olympics, a lot of other sports are not as common. Take a look and learn about some you may not have heard of!


Archery is about getting as close to perfect as possible. It takes a bow, arrow and target to play. Perfection lies in the bull's eye, the very center of that target. It's from archery that we get the expression "bulls eye," a common term for success.


An equestrian event uses not one athlete, but two. The rider must be able to train their horse to do complex maneuvers, jumps and routines. This is a partnership that takes years to develop. Some Olympic horses train for four years or more before their first event!


Fencing is an ancient tradition of fighting with swords. Because of the danger, fencers wear protective gear from head to toe, including a mesh mask that covers their entire face and head. The outfit has ten different parts and takes up to ten minutes to put on.


Gymnastics is a collection of skills such as cartwheels, parallel bars, uneven bars and vaulting. These events take great strength, grace and attention to pull off. Gymnasts perform a choreographed routine for judges, much like a dance.

Track and Field

Some examples of track and field events are relays, sprints, long-distance running, shot put, discus and various jumping events like the high jump and the pole vault. Most of these sports come to us from the athletic tradition of the ancient Greeks.


Olympic weightlifters either "snatch" or "clean and jerk" extremely heavy weights. In the "snatch" event, they must lift the barbell over their head in one solid motion. When they "clean and jerk," they lift the barbell halfway, pause, and finish the job. The heaviest weight ever lifted by an Olympic weightlifter is 585.3 pounds!


The purpose of competitive wrestling, which comes to us from the ancient Greeks, is to display athletic skill and pin your partner down on the mat. If you sit down to watch serious Olympic wresting on TV, you probably won't see any of the antics of the WWE.