Hi all, this post is intended to be a companion to the Mash Up featured in Episode 11 of the podcast where we ask the question "What makes a sport a sport?"

Below I (Mick) will list the reference material and links I used when researching for the Mash Up, enjoy.

"An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment." - Oxford English Dictionary

"An athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc." - Dictionary.com

"The term "sport" refers to all events sanctioned by an international sport federation." - IOC Definition (via Wikipedia)

"An "event", is a competition that leads to the award of medals." - IOC Definition (via Wikipedia)

2020 Olympic Games References

  • 2020 Games Wiki Page

2020 Summer Olympics - Wikipedia

  • Olympic Sport Wiki Page

Olympic sports - Wikipedia

  • Olympic Charter

Olympic Charter - Wikipedia

  • 2020 Games Guidebook


  • Olympic Sport Official List

Olympic Sports - New and Returning Sports for Tokyo 2020

My Definition of Sport

A standardised and competitive physical activity whereby a person or team competes against an opponent or opponents displaying a mix of physical and mental ability for the purposes of achievement and entertainment.

Sports Recently Added

  • The disciplines added by the Japanese Olympic Committee are baseball and softball, karate, sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding, the last four of which make their Olympic debuts.

  • Street Basketball (3x3 Basketball) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3x3_basketball

From Britanica.com

  1. The first step in the process of becoming an Olympic sport is recognition as a sport from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

    1. The IOC requires that the activity have administration by an international nongovernmental organization that oversees at least one sport.

    2. Once a sport is recognised, it then moves to International Sports Federation (IF) status. At that point, the international organisation administering the sport must enforce the Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code, including conducting effective out-of-competition tests on the sport’s competitors while maintaining rules set forth by the Olympic Charter.

  2. A sport may gain IOC recognition but not become a competing event at the Olympic Games.

    1. Bowling and chess are recognized sports, but they do not compete at the Games.

    2. To become a part of the Games, the sport’s IF must apply for admittance by filing a petition establishing its criteria of eligibility to the IOC. The IOC may then admit an activity into the Olympic program in one of three different ways: as a sport; as a discipline, which is a branch of a sport; or as an event, which is a competition within a discipline.

    3. Rules for admittance vary slightly between a new sport, a discipline, and an event, but the intent is the same.

  3. Once an IF has presented its petition, many rules and regulations control whether the sport will become part of the Olympic Games.

    1. The Olympic Charter indicates that in order to be accepted, a sport must be widely practiced by men in at least 75 countries and on four continents and by women in no fewer than 40 countries and on three continents.

    2. The sport must also increase the ‘‘value and appeal’’ of the Olympic Games and retain and reflect its modern traditions.

    3. There are numerous other rules, including bans on purely ‘‘mind sports’’ and sports dependent on mechanical propulsion. These rules have kept chess, automobile racing, and other recognised sports out of the Olympic Games.

  4. In recent years the IOC has worked to manage the scope of the Olympics by permitting new sports only in conjunction with the simultaneous discontinuation of others.

    1. Sports that have already been part of the Games are periodically reviewed to determine whether they should be retained. The Olympic Programme Commission notes that problems have arisen when trying to find venues to accommodate some sports’ specific needs, such as baseball and softball, which were discontinued from Olympic programming after the 2008 Beijing Games.

    2. When choosing sports to include in the program, the IOC must take into consideration media and public interest, since these are a key drive behind the Olympic Games, but must simultaneously manage overall costs.

    3. While a number of events have been added to the Games since their resumption in 1896, a good number have been sidelined. Tug-of-war, for example, was once a respected Olympic sport. Cricket, lacrosse, polo, power boating, rackets, rink hockey, roque, and water skiing were all once part of the Olympic Games but have been discontinued over the years.