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Greetings, summer sports aficionados!

Are you ready to jump into the action?

Discover our Summer Sport List, sorted by popularity just for you.

From seasoned athletes to eager beginners, there’s a sport for every sun-seeker out there!

Summer Sports List

  1. Swimming
  2. Football (Soccer)
  3. Basketball
  4. Volleyball
  5. Tennis
  6. Athletics (Track and Field)
  7. Cycling (Road)
  8. Gymnastics
  9. Diving
  10. Boxing

#1 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 World Aquatics, formerly known as International Swimming Federation (FINA) governs the sport. Swimming made its Olympic debut in 1896, with the inclusion of four races.

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

#2 Football (Soccer)

Soccer

Football, also known as soccer, has its origins in various cultures with ancient versions played as far back as 2,000 years ago.

Modern football developed in England in the 19th century and quickly spread worldwide. Today, it is the most popular sport globally.

FIFA, the sport’s governing body, organizes the prestigious FIFA World Cup every four years. Football has been an Olympic sport since the 1900 Summer Olympics.

#3 Basketball

Basketball

Basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. It quickly gained popularity, spreading across the United States, and eventually worldwide.

Today, the sport is immensely popular, with the NBA in the US being the most prestigious basketball league. FIBA, the international basketball federation, organizes the Basketball World Cup every four years.

Basketball has been an Olympic sport since the 1936 Berlin Games.

#4 Volleyball

Volleyball

Volleyball was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan in Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA. Over the years, the sport spread globally and is now exceptionally popular, especially in countries like Brazil, the United States, and Russia.

The Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) is the sport’s governing body and organizes the Volleyball World Championships every four years. Volleyball has been an Olympic sport since the 1964 Tokyo Games.

#5 Tennis

Tennis

Tennis, with roots dating back to the 12th century in France, took on its modern form in the late 19th century in England. The sport became popular internationally, with prestigious tournaments such as Wimbledon, the French Open, the US Open, and the Australian Open.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) governs the sport. Tennis has had various appearances in the Olympics and became a permanent fixture in the Games since 1988.

#6 Athletics (Track and Field)

Track and Field

Athletics, known as track and field, has a rich history, originating in ancient Greece with the original Olympic Games in 776 BCE. Today, it encompasses numerous events like running, jumping, and throwing, making it a popular sport worldwide.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is the sport’s governing body. Athletics has been an integral part of the modern Olympic Games since their inception in 1896.

#7 Cycling (Road)

Cycling

Road cycling can trace its origins back to the 19th century in Europe. Over the years, it has become popular worldwide, with the annual Tour de France being the most famous road cycling race.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) governs the sport. Road cycling became an Olympic sport in the first modern Games in 1896 and has been a regular feature ever since.

#8 Gymnastics

Gymnastics

Gymnastics has ancient origins, dating back to at least 7,000 years ago, with modern gymnastics developing in Germany in the early 19th century. The sport, which now includes artistic, rhythmic, and trampoline events, is popular worldwide.

The Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) governs the sport. Gymnastics has been part of the Olympic program since the first modern Games in 1896.

#9 Diving

Diving

Diving originated in the 19th century when gymnasts began performing acrobatics from diving boards into pools. Today, the sport is popular worldwide, primarily in countries with strong swimming and gymnastics programs.

FINA, the international swimming federation, also governs diving. The sport made its Olympic debut in the 1904 St. Louis Games.

#10 Boxing

Boxing

Boxing has a long history, with evidence of the sport dating back to ancient Egypt, Sumer, and Greece. Modern boxing developed in the 18th century in England, and it is now popular worldwide.

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) governs the sport. Boxing has been part of the Olympic program since the 1904 St. Louis Games, with women’s boxing added in the 2012 London Games.

More Summer Sports

  1. Rowing: Rowing is an ancient sport that can be traced back to ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It became organized as a modern sport in the 19th century in England. Rowing is popular in Europe, North America, and Australia, with prestigious events like The Boat Race and the Henley Royal Regatta. The International Rowing Federation (FISA) governs the sport. Rowing has been an Olympic sport since the 1900 Paris Games.
  2. Table Tennis: Table tennis, or ping pong, originated in the 19th century in England, gaining popularity worldwide in the 20th century. It is especially popular in Asia, particularly China, which dominates the sport. The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) governs the sport and organizes the World Table Tennis Championships. Table tennis became an Olympic sport in the 1988 Seoul Games.
  3. Weightlifting: Weightlifting has ancient roots in various cultures and became an organized modern sport in the late 19th century. It is now popular in countries like the United States, Russia, China, and Iran. The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) governs the sport, and the World Weightlifting Championships are held annually. Weightlifting has been part of the Olympic program since the 1896 Athens Games.
  4. Wrestling: With origins in ancient Greece, wrestling has been a part of human culture for thousands of years. Modern wrestling includes styles such as freestyle, Greco-Roman, and folkstyle. It is popular in countries like the United States, Russia, Iran, and Turkey. United World Wrestling (UWW) is the sport’s governing body. Wrestling has been an Olympic sport since the first modern Games in 1896.
  5. Taekwondo: Taekwondo is a Korean martial art dating back over 2,000 years. It gained international popularity in the 20th century, and it is now practiced in more than 200 countries. The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) governs the sport, which became an Olympic sport in the 2000 Sydney Games.
  6. Fencing: Fencing has its roots in ancient sword-fighting practices, with modern fencing developing in the 19th century in Europe. Today, the sport is popular worldwide, particularly in Europe and North America. The International Fencing Federation (FIE) governs the sport. Fencing has been part of the Olympic program since the first modern Games in 1896.
  7. Hockey (Field): Field hockey, which originated in 19th century England, is now popular worldwide, particularly in regions such as Europe, Asia, and Australia. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) governs the sport, and the Hockey World Cup is held every four years. Field hockey has been an Olympic sport since the 1908 London Games.
  8. Beach Volleyball: Beach volleyball, a variation of volleyball played on sand, originated in the United States in the 1920s. It has since gained global popularity, particularly in countries with strong volleyball programs like Brazil and the United States. FIVB governs the sport, which became an Olympic sport in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
  9. Archery: Archery, the sport of shooting arrows with a bow, has a history dating back thousands of years. It developed as a modern sport in the 19th century and is now popular worldwide. The World Archery Federation (WA) governs the sport, and World Archery Championships are held every two years. Archery has been an Olympic sport since the 1900 Paris Games.
  10. Triathlon: The modern triathlon, which combines swimming, cycling, and running, emerged in the 1970s in the United States. It has since become popular worldwide. The International Triathlon Union (ITU) governs the sport. The Triathlon became an Olympic sport in the 2000 Sydney Games.
  11. Canoeing: Similar to kayaking, canoeing involves paddling in a small boat called a canoe using a single-bladed paddle. Canoeing is popular on calm lakes, rivers, and coastal areas for recreational and competitive purposes. It has been an Olympic sport since the 1936 Berlin Games.
  12. Handball: Handball originated in Europe in the late 19th century. It is now popular worldwide, particularly in Europe and North Africa. The International Handball Federation (IHF) governs the sport, and the Handball World Championships are held every two years. Handball has been an Olympic sport since the 1936 Berlin Games.
  13. Sailing: Sailing is an ancient sport that involves navigating a boat using the power of wind. It is popular in coastal areas and large lakes, with various types of boats and competitions. The World Sailing governing body oversees the sport. Sailing has been an Olympic sport since the 1900 Paris Games.
  14. Water Polo: Water polo, a team sport played in water, originated in mid-19th century England and Scotland. It is now popular worldwide, with strong teams in Europe, the United States, and Australia. FINA governs the sport. Water polo has been an Olympic sport since the 1900 Paris Games.
  15. Equestrian: Equestrian sports, which involve horse riding and dates back to ancient civilizations, is now practiced worldwide. The Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) governs the sport, organizing events such as show jumping, dressage, and eventing. Equestrian events have been part of the Olympic program since the 1900 Paris Games.
  16. Shooting: Shooting sports, which involve using firearms or air guns in target and field events, became organized in the 19th century. The sport is popular worldwide, particularly in Europe and the United States. The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) governs the sport and holds World Championships in various disciplines. Shooting has been part of the Olympic program since the 1896 Athens Games.
  17. Badminton: Badminton, a racquet sport with origins in ancient India, became popular in Europe in the 19th century. The sport is especially popular in Asia, with countries like China, Indonesia, and Malaysia dominating international competitions. The Badminton World Federation (BWF) governs the sport, which became an Olympic sport in the 1992 Barcelona Games.
  18. Golf: Golf, which originated in 15th-century Scotland, has become a popular sport worldwide, with prestigious tournaments such as The Masters, the Open Championship, the US Open, and the PGA Championship. The International Golf Federation (IGF) governs the sport. Golf was an Olympic sport in 1900 and 1904 and was reintroduced in the 2016 Rio Games.
  19. Rugby Sevens: Rugby sevens, a variation of rugby union with seven players per team, was created in the late 19th century in Scotland. It gained popularity worldwide, with the annual World Rugby Sevens Series and the Rugby World Cup Sevens as major tournaments. The International Rugby Board (IRB) governs the sport. Rugby sevens became an Olympic sport in the 2016 Rio Games.
  20. Judo: Judo, a Japanese martial art developed by Jigoro Kano in the late 19th century, emphasizes throws and grappling techniques. The sport is practiced worldwide, with strong competitors from Japan, France, Brazil, and South Korea. The International Judo Federation (IJF) governs the sport. Judo has been an Olympic sport since the 1964 Tokyo Games.
  21. Baseball/Softball: Baseball and softball, bat-and-ball sports, can be traced back to the 18th century in England. Baseball became popular in the United States and is considered the National Pastime, while softball, a variant of baseball, emerged in the late 19th century. The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) governs both sports. Baseball and softball were Olympic sports from 1992 to 2008 and returned to the Olympic program in 2020 Tokyo Games.
  22. Skateboarding: Skateboarding originated in the United States in the late 1940s and 1950s as a form of surfing on land. The sport has since become popular worldwide, with competitions like the X Games and the World Skateboarding Championships. The International Skateboarding Federation (ISF) and World Skate govern skateboarding. It made its Olympic debut in the 2020 Tokyo Games.
  23. Surfing: Surfing has its origins in ancient Polynesian culture, particularly in Hawaii, where it was a central part of society. Today, surfing is popular in countries with coastlines offering good 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 in the 2020 Tokyo Games.
  24. Karate: Karate is a Japanese martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands, now known as Okinawa, in the 17th century. It has become a popular martial art practiced worldwide. The World Karate Federation (WKF) governs the sport, and the Karate World Championships are held every two years. Karate made its Olympic debut in the 2020 Tokyo Games.
  25. Modern Pentathlon: The modern pentathlon, an Olympic sport combined of fencing, swimming, equestrian, shooting, and cross-country running, was created by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games. The Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) governs this sport. The modern pentathlon has been part of the Olympic program since the 1912 Stockholm Games.
  26. Climbing: Climbing, as a sport, has its roots in the mountaineering activities of the 19th century. Sport climbing, which focuses on athletic climbing skills, has become popular worldwide. The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) governs the sport. Climbing made its Olympic debut in the 2020 Tokyo Games with the introduction of the Combined format, featuring speed, bouldering, and lead climbing events.
  27. BMX Racing: BMX (Bicycle Motocross) racing emerged in the early 1970s in the United States as an off-road bicycle racing sport influenced by motocross. The sport became popular worldwide, with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) governing BMX racing. The sport made its Olympic debut in the 2008 Beijing Games.
  28. Rhythmic Gymnastics: Rhythmic gymnastics, which combines elements of ballet, gymnastics, dance, and apparatus manipulation, emerged in the early 20th century. The sport is popular in countries like Russia, Ukraine, and Bulgaria. The Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) governs the sport. Rhythmic gymnastics became an Olympic sport in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
  29. Trampolining: Trampolining as a sport originated in the United States in the late 1930s. The sport has since become popular worldwide, with the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) governing trampolining. The sport made its Olympic debut in the 2000 Sydney Games.
  30. Synchronized Diving: Synchronized diving, a discipline within diving, involves two divers performing identical or complementary dives simultaneously. The sport gained popularity in the late 20th century, with countries like China and Russia dominating the competitions. FINA, the international swimming federation, also governs synchronized diving. The sport became part of the Olympic program in the 2000 Sydney Games.
  31. Sport Climbing: Sport climbing, a sub-discipline of climbing, focuses on safely climbing difficult routes using permanent protection. The sport has gained popularity in recent years, with numerous indoor climbing gyms opening around the world. The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) governs the sport. Sport climbing made its Olympic debut in the 2020 Tokyo Games.
  32. Beach Soccer: Beach soccer, also known as beach football, originated in Brazil in the 1950s. This variation of football played on sand has become popular worldwide, with the annual FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup as the premier competition. The sport is governed by both FIFA and the Beach Soccer Worldwide (BSWW) organization.

FAQ

What are the most popular summer sports?

The most popular summer sports include swimming, football (soccer), basketball, volleyball, tennis, athletics (track and field), cycling (road), gymnastics, diving, and boxing.

How many different summer sports are there?

Our summer sports list includes 42 unique summer 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 ‘real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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