8 Most Watched Olympic Sports You Should Be Excited About

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The Olympics brings together many sporting events, which means that there will always be something for everyone to enjoy. The games take place in the summer when domestic and other international competitions are over which makes sports enthusiasts almost gravitate naturally to the Olympics. That said, some sports receive more viewership than others. In this post, we look at the most watched Olympic sports. 

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Basketball

8 Most Watched Olympic Sports You Should Be Excited About
Giannis playing in the NBA. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-2.0

It goes without saying that basketball is one of the most watched Olympic sports. The US is home to the pinnacle of the game courtesy of the NBA and its team is littered with these stars. 

The country is the most successful in Olympic history having won 16 of the 19 tournaments and the women nine of the 11. It’s the second most popular sport after the National Football League (NFL) so you shouldn’t be surprised if they win the gold this summer in France.

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Track and Field

8 Most Watched Olympic Sports You Should Be Excited About
Usain Bolt finishes with a win in the 100 m final 2008 Olympics. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-2.0

Some of the most memorable moments in the Olympics have taken place on the track. The sprints – 100m tend to keep the world at the edge of its seats, for those few blazing seconds, when we watch athletes test human limits. 

Ex-sprinters like Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin provided breathtaking moments as they competed to be the fastest. Additionally, the middle and long-distance marathons also attract a huge fan base, with the winner christened the “fastest person” on earth.

Tennis

8 Most Watched Olympic Sports You Should Be Excited About
A tennis court in Dusseldorf Germany. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-SA-3.0-migrated

Somehow, Olympic tennis is overshadowed by the Davis Cup (the World Cup of tennis) and the grand slam tournaments but it’s gradually coming to its own. With players like Naomi Osaka (Japan), Novak Djokovic (Serbia) and emerging players like America’s Coco Gauff, it should attract a fair amount of attention during the Paris Summer Games.

Artistic Gymnastics

8 Most Watched Olympic Sports You Should Be Excited About
Simone Biles during the 2016 Rio Olympics. Source: Wikimedia licensed by Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

A 2021 survey found that gymnastics was the most-watched Olympic sport in the United States. The country is home to the most successful gymnast Simone Biles, and even though she withdrew from some competition in the last Olympics, she’ll be expected to pick up medals in Paris in the summer. Additionally, the routines carried out by gymnasts,  the combination of athleticism, stamina and art, make for a beautiful watch.

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Swimming

Simone Manuels at the Olympics. Video Credit: Team USA

You shouldn’t be surprised that swimming is one of the most watched Olympic sports. The United States dominated the competition and scooped 30 medals at the Tokyo 2020 Games. They’ve also produced some of the most successful swimmers in the history of the sport, Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky. Furthermore, there are different distances so if you prefer the sprints or longer swimming races or both, the Olympics comes with all.

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Rhythmic Gymnastics

A performance by rhythmic gymnastics. Video Credit: Greek videos

Not to be confused with artistic gymnastics, in this type, the performer uses equipment like ropes, ribbons and hoops along with a music background to produce a synchronized performance. It ranks third as the most-watched Olympic sport in the United States. 

Like artistic gymnastics, the performers produce artistic floor routines, solo or in a team, that keep people glued and in awe.

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Diving

A show on what Olympic diving is. Video Credit: watermagic

It may seem easy but diving needs a proper technique for the perfect execution. To stand above the beam and shake off your fears is something that takes practice, which is where the allure of this sport comes from. Although China dominates this sport, it’s still popular in the United States and other parts of the world. 

There are different variations, from the reverse, inward, twisting and armstand, so you can choose whichever you find amusing to watch.

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Women’s Soccer

A USWNT vs Australia at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Video Credit: Yohn Voker

Women’s soccer has come a long way and with the rise of commercial interest, it’s poised to be one of the sports to watch this summer. Contrary to men’s international football, women attract higher viewership and play a huge part in drawing fan interest. 

The United States are the most successful women’s football team having won four gold medals but it seems as though their dominance is coming to an end. In Tokyo, they were eliminated by Canada and finished third. After the big upset at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023, they’ll have to be prepared or else they might not be able to win gold again. 

Tennis

8 Most Watched Olympic Sports You Should Be Excited About
A tennis court in Dusseldorf Germany. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-SA-3.0-migrated

Somehow, Olympic tennis is overshadowed by the Davis Cup (the World Cup of tennis) and the grand slam tournaments but it’s gradually coming to its own. With players like Naomi Osaka (Japan), Novak Djokovic (Serbia) and emerging players like America’s Coco Gauff, it should attract a fair amount of attention during the Paris Summer Games. 

As you can tell, the most watched Olympic sports create an adrenaline rush leaving fans excited and at the edge of their seats. These disciplines have been part of the Olympics for years and are a must-watch. We love the Olympics for its variety so don’t restrict yourself to one sport. 

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