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Greetings, solo sports aficionados!

Are you ready to embark on a thrilling journey of self-discovery and personal growth?

Step into our comprehensive list of solo sports, ranked by popularity.

From solitary trailblazers to first-time adventure-seekers, there’s an exciting, empowering challenge waiting for each of you!

Solo Sports List

  1. Running
  2. Swimming
  3. Cycling
  4. Golf
  5. Archery
  6. Gymnastics
  7. Track and Field
  8. CrossFit
  9. Powerlifting
  10. Rock Climbing

#1 Running

Running

Running, one of the oldest and most basic forms of exercise, likely originated as early as the rise of humanity when it was necessary for hunting and survival.

It remains popular worldwide, with various forms including sprinting, middle-distance, long-distance, and marathon running.

The sport made its Olympic debut during the first modern Games in Athens in 1896. Notable running events include the Boston Marathon, London Marathon, and the IAAF World Athletics Championships.

#2 Swimming

Swimming

Swimming has a long history, with early evidence dating back to the Stone Age in 7,000 BCE. It is popular worldwide, with competitive swimming events held globally.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) governs the sport. Swimming debuted in the Olympics in 1896, featuring four races.

Summer Olympics now include numerous swimming events, and the World Swimming Championships are held every two years.

#3 Cycling

Cycling

Cycling, both a popular means of transportation and a competitive sport, originated in Europe in the early 19th century with the invention of two-wheeled bicycles.

Road cycling, track cycling, and mountain biking are the primary disciplines in the sport. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) governs professional cycling.

The first road cycling event took place in France in 1868, and the sport became part of the Olympic Games in 1896. Famous cycling events include the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a Espaรฑa.

#4 Golf

Golf

The modern game of golf has its origins in 15th-century Scotland, although some historians attribute the sport to ancient Rome.

The sport’s present-day popularity spreads across the globe, and major tournaments, such as The Masters, U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and PGA Championship, draw large audiences.

Golf re-entered the Olympic program in 2016 after a 112-year absence, and the International Golf Federation (IGF) governs the sport.

#5 Archery

Archery

Archery, the practice of using a bow to shoot arrows, dates back to the Paleolithic era, primarily used for hunting and warfare. However, it became a popular recreational activity in the medieval period.

The sport is now enjoyed worldwide, and the International Archery Federation (World Archery) governs it. Archery became an Olympic sport in 1900, and major events include the World Archery Championships and the Archery World Cup.

#6 Gymnastics

Gymnastics

Gymnastics is an ancient sport, with evidence of its practice dating back to the ancient Greeks. In its modern form, the sport incorporates artistic, rhythmic, acrobatic, aerobic, and trampoline disciplines.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) governs the sport. Gymnastics was part of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, and major events include the World Gymnastics Championships and various World Cup series events.

#7 Track and Field

Track and Field

Track and field, also known as athletics, has its roots in ancient Greece and is among the oldest sports in recorded history. It encompasses various running, jumping, and throwing events.

Nowadays, the sport is popular worldwide, and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) governs it.

Track and field events were part of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. Notable events include the World Athletics Championships and Diamond League.

#8 CrossFit

CrossFit

CrossFit, a high-intensity fitness regimen, was founded by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai in 2000. The sport combines elements from various disciplines like weightlifting, gymnastics, and cardio exercises.

Though relatively new, the sport has gained global popularity, with the annual CrossFit Games serving as its largest competition. CrossFit is not an Olympic sport, but its growing popularity raises the question of potential inclusion in the future.

#9 Powerlifting

Powerlifting

Powerlifting originated in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1950s and 60s as a strength-based sport involving three main lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift.

The International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) governs the sport. While powerlifting is not part of the Olympic program, it is included in the Paralympics.

Major events include the IPF World Championships and various regional and national championships.

#10 Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing, as a sport, began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, although the art of climbing rocks and mountains predates it by centuries. The sport gained popularity in the 20th century, thanks to advances in climbing equipment and techniques.

The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) and International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) govern the sport.

Rock climbing made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games through the inclusion of sport climbing, which combines speed, bouldering, and lead climbing disciplines.

More Solo Sports

  1. Yoga: Originating in ancient India around 5,000 years ago, yoga has become a global practice promoting mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. The popularity of various yoga styles, such as Hatha, Vinyasa, and Bikram, continues to grow worldwide. While yoga is not part of the Olympic Games, it is celebrated annually on International Yoga Day, held on June 21st.
  2. Skateboarding: The sport of skateboarding emerged in the United States during the late 1940s and 1950s, influenced by surf culture. Skateboarding has gained global popularity, with popular events such as the X Games and Street League Skateboarding World Championships. Skateboarding made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
  3. Skiing: Alpine skiing dates back to ancient Scandinavia around 5,000 BCE, and the sport has since evolved into various disciplines, including slalom, giant slalom, and downhill. Skiing remains popular primarily in Europe and North America, with notable events like the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup and the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Skiing has been part of the Winter Olympic Games since the inaugural 1924 event.
  4. Snowboarding: Snowboarding was invented in the 1960s as a blend of skiing, surfing, and skateboarding. It gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, and the sport became an Olympic event in 1998. Major snowboarding events include the FIS Snowboard World Cup and the Winter X Games.
  5. Surfing: With origins in ancient Polynesian culture, particularly in Hawaii, surfing was a central part of society. Today, surfing is popular in countries with suitable wave conditions, such as the USA, Australia, and Brazil. The World Surf League (WSL) holds the annual Championship Tour, and surfing made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
  6. Boxing: The sport of boxing dates back to ancient civilizations, including Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Modern boxing emerged in the late 19th century, and it has become a popular worldwide sport. The International Boxing Association (AIBA) governs the sport, and boxing has been an Olympic event since 1904.
  7. Martial Arts: Martial arts encompass a wide range of practices, originating in various countries such as Japan, China, and Korea. Some popular martial arts forms include Karate, Judo, Taekwondo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Judo became an Olympic sport in 1964, followed by Taekwondo in 2000. Karate made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
  8. Figure Skating: Figure skating originated in Europe during the 18th century, with its roots in ice dancing and public ice carnivals. The International Skating Union (ISU) governs the sport, which is popular worldwide, particularly in North America, Europe, and Asia. Figure skating has been part of the Olympic program since the 1908 London Games.
  9. Bowling: The history of bowling dates back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt and Rome. Modern ten-pin bowling gained popularity in the late 19th century, and the International Bowling Federation (IBF) currently governs the sport. Bowling has been considered for inclusion in the Olympic program but has not yet been added as an official event.
  10. Darts: The origin of darts as a sport can be traced back to medieval England, where soldiers would throw arrows at targets. Darts gained widespread popularity during the 20th century and is now played around the world. The World Darts Federation (WDF) governs the sport, with notable events including the PDC World Darts Championship and the BDO World Darts Championship. Darts has not yet been included in the Olympic program.
  11. Speed Skating: Speed skating, with its origins in 13th-century northern Europe, involves participants racing around an ice track. The International Skating Union (ISU) governs the sport, which is popular in countries like the Netherlands, Norway, and Canada. Speed skating has been part of the Winter Olympic Games since 1924.
  12. Roller Skating: Roller skating dates back to the 18th century when the first inline skate was developed in Belgium. Today, roller skating is popular worldwide in various disciplines, including artistic skating and roller derby. The International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) governs the sport. Roller skating has not been included in the Olympic program but has been a Pan American Games event.
  13. BMX: Bicycle Motocross (BMX) began in the 1970s, influenced by motocross racing. The sport involves racing on off-road tracks and performing stunts. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) governs BMX racing and freestyle events. BMX racing made its Olympic debut in 2008, while BMX freestyle debuted at the 2021 Tokyo Games.
  14. Mountain Biking: Emerging in the 1970s in California, mountain biking involves off-road cycling on rough terrain. The sport has grown in popularity worldwide, and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) oversees it. Mountain biking has been an Olympic sport since 1996, with both cross-country and downhill disciplines.
  15. Road Cycling: Road cycling, a popular form of bicycle racing, originated in Europe in the late 19th century. It involves racing on paved roads and includes individual and team events. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) governs the sport, which has been part of the Olympic Games since 1896.
  16. Unicycling: Unicycling first appeared in the late 19th century and has since evolved into various disciplines, including road, mountain, and freestyle unicycling. The International Unicycling Federation (IUF) governs the sport. Unicycling is not an Olympic event, but the Unicon World Unicycling Championships are held every two years.
  17. Horseback Riding: Aside from being a traditional method of transportation, horseback riding has evolved into various sports, including dressage, show jumping, and eventing. Equestrian sports originated in ancient Greece and have been part of the Olympic Games since 1900. The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) governs the sport.
  18. Fishing: An ancient practice and recreational sport, fishing involves catching fish using various methods such as angling, netting, or trapping. It is popular worldwide in various water bodies, including oceans, lakes, and rivers. Competitive fishing events include bass tournaments and fly fishing championships.
  19. Fly Fishing: Originating in ancient Macedonia, fly fishing entails using lightweight artificial lures, or flies, to catch fish. This recreational and competitive sport is popular in countries such as the USA, UK, and Australia, with events like the World Fly Fishing Championships and various national competitions held regularly.
  20. Spearfishing: Spearfishing dates back thousands of years as both a method of obtaining food and a sport. It involves catching fish by using a spear or a specialized spear gun. The sport is popular around the world, particularly in coastal areas. Some notable events include the World Freshwater Spearfishing Championships and the International Underwater Spearfishing Association (IUSA) sanctioned tournaments.
  21. Snooker: Snooker, a cue sport, originated in India in the late 19th century as a modification of billiards. It gained popularity in the United Kingdom and has spread worldwide. The World Snooker Tour (WST) governs professional snooker, and the World Snooker Championship is the sport’s most prestigious event.
  22. Juggling: The ancient art of juggling, typically involving the throwing and catching of multiple objects, has evolved into a popular recreational activity and performance art. Various juggling competitions are held worldwide, including the International Juggler’s Association (IJA) Championships and the European Juggling Convention (EJC).
  23. Hula Hooping: Hula hooping, a modern sport that originated in the United States during the 1950s, involves spinning a hoop around the body. It has gained popularity as a form of exercise and performance art. The sport has various competitions and events, such as the World Hoop Dance Championship and various national contests.
  24. High Jump: High jump, a track and field event, traces its origins to ancient Greece and Celtic festivals. Athletes compete to jump over a horizontal bar set at various height levels. High jump has been part of the Olympic Games since 1896, and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) governs the sport.
  25. Long Jump: Like the high jump, long jump’s origins are in ancient Greece, and it involves athletes attempting to jump as far as possible horizontally. Long jump has been part of the Olympic Games since 1896, and the IAAF oversees the sport. The World Athletics Championships and Diamond League events are notable competitions in long jump.
  26. Triple Jump: As another jumping event in track and field, triple jump has origins in the ancient Olympic Games. Athletes perform a hop, step, and jump combination to cover as much distance as possible. The sport has been an Olympic event since 1896 and is overseen by the IAAF.
  27. Pole Vault: One more jumping event in track and field, pole vaulting involves athletes using a long, flexible pole to propel themselves over a raised bar. The sport originated in Europe during the 19th century, and it has been an Olympic event since 1896. The IAAF oversees the sport, with major events including the World Athletics Championships and various Diamond League competitions.
  28. Shot Put: Shot put, a track and field event, involves athletes throwing a heavy spherical object as far as possible. The sport has roots in ancient Greece but gained modern popularity in the early 19th century. Shot put has been part of the Olympic Games since 1896, and the IAAF governs the sport.
  29. Discus Throw: Discus throw is another ancient Greek sport in which athletes throw a heavy circular plate as far as possible. The sport has been part of the Olympic Games since the 1896 Athens Games, and the IAAF oversees it. Notable events include the World Athletics Championships and Diamond League competitions.
  30. Hammer Throw: Hammer throw, a track and field event, entails athletes throwing a heavy ball attached to a wire and handle as far as possible. The sport has roots in ancient Ireland and Scotland, and it has been an Olympic event since the 1900 Paris Games. The IAAF governs hammer throw, with significant events including the World Athletics Championships and various Diamond League competitions.
  31. Weightlifting: Weightlifting, a sport that tests athletes’ strength and power, dates back to ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations. Governed by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), it has been part of the Olympic program since 1896. The sport features two types of lifts: the snatch and the clean-and-jerk. The IWF World Weightlifting Championships is another major event.
  32. Bodybuilding: Bodybuilding emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a means to showcase physical prowess and muscular development. Popularized by figures like Eugen Sandow and Arnold Schwarzenegger, bodybuilding is now a global sport and lifestyle. Governed by the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB), major events include the Mr. Olympia and the Arnold Classic. Bodybuilding is not part of the Olympic program.
  33. Parkour: Parkour, a discipline combining running, climbing, and acrobatic movements to overcome urban obstacles, was developed in France during the 1980s and 1990s by David Belle and his peers. The sport has gained global popularity, with practitioners known as “traceurs.” Currently, parkour is not part of the Olympic program, but the International Gymnastics Federation has considered its inclusion.
  34. Freediving: Freediving, a form of underwater diving that relies on the diver’s ability to hold their breath, has its origins in centuries-old practices used for fishing, hunting, and gathering. Governed by AIDA International (Association Internationale pour le Dรฉveloppement de l’Apnรฉe), the sport gained increasing popularity in the 20th century, along with organized competitions such as the AIDA World Championships. Freediving is not an Olympic sport.
  35. Scuba Diving: Scuba diving’s origins can be traced back to the 1940s when Jacques-Yves Cousteau and ร‰mile Gagnan developed the first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA). It is popular in regions with rich marine life and clear waters, such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Red Sea in Egypt. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is the world’s leading scuba diving training organization. Scuba diving is not a competitive sport but remains a widely-enjoyed recreational activity.
  36. Snowshoeing: Snowshoeing, a method of traversing snowy terrain using specialized footwear, has been utilized by indigenous communities for thousands of years. In recent times, it has become a popular winter recreational activity and sport, with events like the World Snowshoe Championships. Snowshoeing is not part of the Olympic Games.
  37. Cross-country Skiing: Cross-country skiing, a technique used for centuries as a means of winter transportation, has evolved into a popular winter sport. Governed by the International Ski Federation (FIS), it has been part of the Olympic program since the first Winter Games in 1924. The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships and the Cross-Country World Cup are major events in the sport.
  38. Biathlon: Combining cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, the biathlon traces its roots to Scandinavian military training exercises. Governed by the International Biathlon Union (IBU), the sport has been part of the Winter Olympic Games since 1960. The Biathlon World Championships and the Biathlon World Cup are other significant events.
  39. Ski Jumping: Ski jumping originated in Norway in the late 19th century and quickly developed as a competitive sport. Governed by the International Ski Federation (FIS), it has been part of the Winter Olympic Games since 1924. Ski jumping events include the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup and the Ski Flying World Championships.
  40. Nordic Combined: A combination of cross-country skiing and ski jumping, Nordic Combined is governed by the International Ski Federation (FIS) and has been part of the Winter Olympic Games since 1924. The sport also features events such as the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships and the Nordic Combined World Cup.
  41. Skeleton: The winter sport of skeleton, which involves sliding headfirst down an ice track on a flat sled, originated in the late 19th century in Switzerland. Governed by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF), skeleton became part of the Winter Olympic Games in 2002. The IBSF World Championships feature skeleton events alongside other major competitions.
  42. Luge: Developed in the 19th-century Switzerland, luge involves sliding feet-first on an ice track using a flat sled. The International Luge Federation (FIL) governs the sport, which has been part of the Winter Olympic Games since 1964. Additional events include the Luge World Championships and Luge World Cup.
  43. Bobsleigh: Bobsleigh, a sport featuring teams of two or four athletes sliding down an ice track in a gravity-powered sled, was invented in the late 19th century in Switzerland. Governed by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF), the sport has been part of the Winter Olympic Games since 1924. Bobsleigh events include the IBSF World Championships and the Bobsleigh World Cup.
  44. Curling: Curling, originating in 16th-century Scotland, is a sport involving two teams sliding granite stones on an ice sheet towards a target area. The World Curling Federation governs the sport, which has been part of the Winter Olympic Games since 1998. Major events include the World Curling Championships and the European Curling Championships.
  45. Orienteering: Developed in Sweden in the late 19th century, orienteering is a sport that combines running and navigation using a map and compass. Orienteering has become popular worldwide, with events being held in various terrains, including urban and forest settings. The International Orienteering Federation (IOF) governs the sport, and the World Orienteering Championships is the most prestigious event. Orienteering is not part of the Olympic program.
  46. Rogaining: Rogaining is an off-trail navigation sport that involves long-distance cross-country navigation using a map and compass. The sport originated in Australia in the 1970s and has since become popular worldwide. Governed by the International Rogaining Federation (IRF), rogaining competitions typically take place over a 24-hour period to test participants’ endurance and navigational skills.
  47. Racewalking: Racewalking is a long-distance discipline within the sport of athletics that requires athletes to maintain contact with the ground at all times. Originating in the 19th-century England, racewalking gained popularity worldwide and is now governed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The sport has been part of the Olympic program since 1908.
  48. Ultramarathon: An ultramarathon is a footrace that extends beyond the standard marathon distance of 42.195 kilometers (26.219 miles). The sport has gained popularity over recent decades, with events such as the Western States 100, Comrades Marathon, and the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc becoming iconic races for endurance athletes. Ultramarathons are not part of the Olympic program.
  49. Trail Running: Trail running is a sport that involves running in natural environments such as mountains, forests, and deserts, often over uneven and challenging terrains. While sharing similarities with cross-country running, trail running typically occurs over longer distances. Popular events include the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, the Western States 100, and the IAU Trail World Championships. Trail running is not part of the Olympic program.
  50. Stair Climbing: Stair climbing, also known as tower running, is a competitive sport that began in the United States in the 1970s. This sport has grown in popularity around the world, particularly in countries with tall structures such as the United States, China, and the United Arab Emirates. The World Federation of Great Towers governs the sport, with notable events including the Empire State Building Run-Up and the Vertical Marathon at the Taipei 101 tower. While not an Olympic sport, it is highly competitive and requires extreme physical endurance.
  51. Slacklining: Slacklining originated in the United States in the 1970s as an offshoot of rock climbing. Today, it is popular worldwide, especially in countries like Germany, France, and Brazil. The International Slackline Association governs the sport, and major events include the World Slackline Masters and the International Slackline Open. Although not an Olympic sport, slacklining is recognized as a high skill-level balance sport that combines concentration, coordination, and athleticism.
  52. Pogo Stick Jumping: Pogo stick jumping, also known as extreme pogo or “Xpogo,” is a relatively recent sport that began in the United States in the late 20th century. It has since gained popularity around the globe, particularly in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia. The sport is governed by the Pogo Freestyle! Association, with key events including the Xpogo World Championships. While not an Olympic sport, it showcases athleticism and acrobatics in a unique and entertaining way.
  53. Rhythmic Gymnastics: Rhythmic gymnastics is a form of gymnastics that incorporates elements of ballet, dance, and apparatus manipulation. The sport originated in the Soviet Union in the early 20th century and is now popular worldwide. The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) governs the sport, with major competitions including the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships and the Olympic Games. Rhythmic gymnastics has been an Olympic sport since 1984.
  54. Trampolining: Trampolining originated as a training tool for acrobats and gymnasts in the United States in the early 20th century. Today, it is a popular sport in many countries, including China, Russia, and Canada. The sport is governed by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), with significant competitions including the Trampoline World Championships and the Olympic Games. Trampolining has been an Olympic sport since 2000.
  55. Acrobatics: Acrobatics, a component of gymnastics involving complex feats of balance, agility, and motor coordination, has roots dating back to ancient civilizations. Today, it is popular worldwide, especially in China, Russia, and European countries. The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) governs the sport, with key events including the Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships. Though not currently an Olympic sport, Acrobatic Gymnastics is a part of the World Games, a multi-sport event for sports not included in the Olympics.
  56. Skipping Rope: Skipping Rope, also known as jump roping, is a popular activity with roots dating back to ancient Egypt. Today, it is recognized as a competitive sport around the globe, especially in the United States and Europe. The International Jump Rope Union (IJRU) governs the sport, with major competitions including the World Jump Rope Championships. Despite its popularity, skipping rope is not yet recognized as an Olympic sport.

FAQ

What are the most popular solo sports?

The most popular solo sports include running, swimming, cycling, golf, archery, gymnastics, track and field, CrossFit, powerlifting, and rock climbing.

How many different solo sports are there?

Our solo sports list includes 66 unique solo sports.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning โ€˜realโ€™ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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