Ten Individual Olympic Sports

Individual Olympic sports are those in which individual athletes compete against each other while representing their respective countries.
Ten Individual Olympic Sports

Last update: 15 November, 2019

There are many different disciplines within the Olympic Games. In this article, we’ll explore individual Olympic sports.

What are individual Olympic sports?

Although there are some sports in which there are both individual and team modalities, in this article we’ll focus on Olympic sports that are purely individual. The following are individual sports in which only one person participates to represent their country:

Olympic sports: boxing

Olympic boxing is older than most people think. However, the sport as we know it today has been present since the first Olympic games. Female boxing, however, was only added in London in 2012.


Fencing is a combat discipline in which two athletes face against each other completely protected with helmets and special suits. The objective is to ‘touch’ the opponent with a weapon that could be a saber or a sword. It was present in the first Olympic games in 1869.

Fencing olympic sport


As its name implies, weightlifting has to do with trying to lift the most weight possible on a bar. There are two types of weightlifting: the deadlift and the two-stroke.

The first lift consists of trying to lift the weight from the ground to full extension without pausing. The two-stroke lift, on the other hand, includes a shoulder height pause.

Olympic sports: archery

Archery is another individual Olympic sport. The objective of the sport is to shoot arrows with a bow towards a target that has different colored circles. The center of the target is yellow and it’s then surrounded by a red, light blue, black and white ring. The archer who manages to gain the most amount of points wins the competition.


Judo is a martial art and combat sport of Japanese origin. It’s been in the Olympics since 1964. Competitions are held on a tatami – a 2 x 1 meter mat. The objective of the sport is to take down the opponent.

There are different ways to gain points in judo. In order to gain maximum points, participants have to try to get their opponent’s back to touch the mat.


The triathlon is one of the most demanding sports in the Olympics. It combines three disciplines: swimming, cycling and running. The triathlon has been an Olympic sport since Sydney 2000.

Olympic sports: wrestling

Along with athletics, wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the world and it has been in the Olympic Games since the first edition in Greece. In modern history, wrestling has been present in the Olympic games since the second edition in Saint Louis 1904.

Wrestling men olympic sports


This is a sport that requires a lot of concentration and precision. The objective is to shoot a compressed air firearm. Shooting has three different disciplines: carbine, pistol, and shotgun shooting.


This martial art is another individual Olympic sport that we can enjoy every four years. Taekwondo first appeared in the Olympic Games in Seoul 1988 and it finally became official in Sydney 2000. Taekwondo participants can use kicks, punches, blocks and grapples to take down their opponent.


BMX biking was officially added to the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008It has two categories: time trial and circuit.

Athletes use BMX bikes with 20-inch wheels and they also use safety equipment such as a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and gloves. It’s an extreme sport!

Finally, we have to mention athletics which are also individual Olympic sports. Athletics includes high jump, the pole vault, javelin throw, sprinting, long runs and hurdles.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.