How Does a Sport Become an Olympic Event?


A sport goes through several stages to become an Olympic sport. The process is complicated, but necessary to keep the number of sports to a manageable level. Before a sport can be considered for the Olympics, it must have its own governing body. While the International Olympic Committee has its own rules and regulations, it is not responsible for regulating individual sports.

Any sport that has its own governing body in place can petition to be included in the Olympic Games. The governing body is responsible for ensuring that the sport goes by all rules of the Olympic charter and to be in compliance with standards set forth by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Meeting the standards set forth by the International Olympic Committee is no guarantee that the sport will be accepted into the Games. The governing body must provide information about the number of countries that participate in the sport, as the IOC has an interest in adding sports that will draw a significant number of high quality competitors. Other factors, such as the venue needed for a particular sport, are taken into consideration as well.
There are a limited number of spaces for new sports in each Olympic Games. The Olympics must include a predetermined number of core events. For the summer games, organizers must choose at least 25 events from a list of 28 governing federations. The winter games have seven federations represented. The maximum number of events for each games is 28, leaving few openings in the summers games, while the winter games have more flexibility.

Another consideration on what sports are included in the Olympics are the desires of the host selection committee. The group that selects the host city for a particular Olympic Games can also require that a particular sport be hosted at that edition of the Games. Any sports added by the hosting committee must meet the organizational requirements of the IOC. Campaigning for inclusion into the Games is competitive; typically there are two or three sports on the bubble for inclusion. The International Olympic Committee makes the decision while voting on the host city for a particular games, but the campaigning can go on for years.
Adding and Dropping Sports
The summer Olympics has very little flexibility in adding and dropping sports, due to the number of core events required and the limit on total number of events. For any addition, another popular sport will invariably end up being dropped. A recent example of this is the addition of golf and rugby to the summer Games. While these are sure to be popular sports, the addition required cutting other sports, in this case baseball and softball.
Demonstration Sports
Some sports are added to the Olympics on a non-competitive level. These are called demonstration sports. The addition of a sport as a demonstration sport does not mean it will become an Olympic sport in the future. In fact, many sports have had demonstration slots in the Olympics and never been official sports. American style football, bowling and water skiing have all been demonstration sports in the Olympics and never been official Olympic sports. Demonstration sports may be added to gauge interest in new sports before adding them or as a demonstration of a sport that is popular in the host country.
About the author: 
Susan writes for allpro about sports mostly however it is the NFL.


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