The three most-watched summer Olympics sports are gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic), swimming and diving, per Statista. There are 32 sports on the program for the upcoming Paris games, including two new events — and some of these underdog events need a little more love.

Whenever I watch the Olympics, while scanning across channels I stumble on a sport I have never watched before. Learning how the unique sport is played is entertaining and spices up my typical Olympic viewing experience.

So here are six summer Olympic sports you might not have seen before.

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Following a successful debut at 2018 the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, breaking was added as an Olympic sport for the 2024 Paris Games, per the Olympics.

Breaking — or breakdancing — originated as an urban sport in the U.S. during the 1970s, per The Smithsonian. It is a form of dance compromised by moves that include complex footwork, flips, twists, spinning on the head and other acrobatic-based moves.

In the 2024 Olympic games, 16 B-boys and 16 B-girls will perform for a line of judges, per the Olympics. Dancers will be scored based on technique, personality, musicality, creativity, variety and performativity.

Modern Pentathlon

While flipping through channels during the 2020 Tokyo Games, I stumbled on the modern pentathlon. I didn’t know that pentathlon was a sport, so I was immediately intrigued.

The pentathlon dates back centuries, but was modernized in 1848 and introduced to the Olympics in 1912, per the Olympics.

The Modern Pentathlon blends five different sports: horse riding, fencing, swimming, running and shooting targets.

Kayak Cross

This summer’s Olympic Games will feature rowing, kayaking and canoeing, reports NBC Olympics.

Kayak Cross is a race in which competitors must paddle through an aquatic obstacle course. It’s a relatively new sport and will make it’s debut in Paris.

“It’s very spectacular and dynamic. It gives the public the opportunity to discover, watch, follow and like our sport. And it’s also a true motivation for us, it pushes us to be better,” said Maialen Chourraut, a three-time Olympic medalist in kayak singles, per the Olympics. “Kayak cross will bring entertainment, passion and emotion to the Olympic Games.”

Cycling BMX

Another recent addition to the Olympic Games, Bicycle Motocross, or BMX, made its Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo games, per the Olympics.

The addition of BMX Freestyle is on trend with the growing list of extreme sports being added to the Olympics, including skateboarding and surfing.

BMX riders compete on a course featuring box jumps, walls, ramps and spines. Riders are judged based on several factors, including: difficulty of tricks, variety, creativity, execution, risk factor, style and flow, per NBC Olympic News.

“The level in general has gone up so high; trick-wise it’s gonna be a very different game than last time,” Switzerland’s Nikita Ducarroz, who took bronze at Tokyo 2020 told Forbes. “I couldn’t predict the podium this time; it could be anyone’s game depending on who has a good day.”


Maybe I’m too American to know about handball, but it’s a real sport — and it’s in the Olympics. Once you understand the rules, handball is a fast-paced, entertaining sport to watch.

Handball originated in Europe, but it is considered a worldwide sport and has been played in the Olympics since the Berlin 1936 Games, per the Olympics. Handball mixes elements of soccer and basketball.

Players can used hands, thighs, head, torso and knees to throw and dribble the ball across court — but using feet is off-limited. A handball court is similar in shape and size to a basketball court, but goals are made in what looks like a soccer net.

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Handball is one of three sports — including badminton and table tennis — the U.S. has never won a gold medal in, per NBC Olympic News. France and Denmark are the leading countries in the sport.


Archery is one of the oldest sports still practiced, dating back to roughly 20,000 BC, per the World Archery Organization. Originally introduced to the Olympic at the 1900 Paris games, the sport made a handful of appearances followed by a 52-year hiatus.

Archery was reintroduced to the Olympics during the 1972 games in Munich and has remained on the program since, reports the Olympics.

There are five separate archery events at the Olympics: men and women’s single and team events as well as a mixed event, per the Olympics. The Republic of Korea has won more medals in archery than any other nation with 43 medals.

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