- In the late 19th century, a group of Swedish divers visited Great Britain. They put on diving displays that proved hugely popular and led to the formation of the first diving organisation, the Amateur Diving Association, in 1901.
- Diving was included in the Olympic Games for the first time at the 1904 Games in St. Louis. The springboard and platform events have been included since the 1908 Olympic Games in London. Since the Stockholm Games in 1912, women have taken part in the diving events.
- This discipline was first dominated by the USA. This domination started to waver with the participation of China at the end of the 1980s. When the American Greg Louganis, who is considered the greatest diver ever, was still in competition, the Chinese managed to achieve some victories. Since Louganis retired, China has dominated the men’s events. Lately, China’s women divers have proved themselves unbeatable.
- The horse made its first appearance at the ancient Olympic Games in 680 BC when chariot racing was introduced
- With the mechanisation of the army over the years, civilians became more and more prevalent. The decline of the military teams also paved the way for women, who made their first Olympic appearance in jumping at the 1956 Games in Stockholm, and are today as often, if not more, on the top spot of the podium
- Although women had been allowed to ride in equestrian events since 1952, it wasn’t until Helena du Pont competed for the United States at Tokyo 1964 that eventing saw its first woman representing her country.
- Fencing began the move from a form of military training to a sport in either the 14th or 15th century. Both Italy and Germany lay claim to its origins, with German fencing masters organising the first guilds in the 15th century, the most notable being the Marxbruder of Frankfurt, formed in 1478.
- Fencing was included for the first time at the 1896 Games in Athens, and has remained on the Olympic programme since then. The women’s fencing competition entered the Games in 1924 in Paris.
- Italy’s Nedo Nadi is the only fencer to have won a medal in every weapon in a single edition of the Games.
- Football first appeared on the programme of the Games of the II Olympiad, Paris 1900. It has been on the programme of each edition of the Games ever since, with the exception of Los Angeles 1932.
- In 1996, women’s football was introduced into the Olympic programme. The USA has been on the highest step of the podium multiple times, including at Atlanta 1996, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012
- Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd are some of the big names set to represent USWNT at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic football tournament starting next month.
- Before Rio 2016, golf had been on the Olympic programme twice: in 1900 and 1904. At the 1900 Games in Paris, two events were staged: one for men and one for women.
- Americans Margaret Ives Abbott and Charles Edward Sands were the first Olympic champions in the two events.
- After 1936, field handball was no longer played at the Games, except as a demonstration sport in 1952 in Helsinki. Indoor handball was presented for the first time at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Yugoslavia was victorious and won the first gold medal after a competition between 16 men’s teams.
- The introduction of women’s handball to the Games took place in 1976 in Montreal. The Soviet Union won this first women’s Olympic competition, taking home two gold medals
- Russia’s rising handball star Elena Mikhaylichenko. Russia are handball Olympic champions and with teen sensation Elena Mikhaylichenko now in the ranks, they are hopeful of defending their title at Tokyo 2020.
- After a first appearance at the 1908 Games in London, hockey became a firm fixture on the Olympic programme as from the Antwerp Games in 1920.
- Women made their entrance in this sport in 1980 at the Moscow Games. Since the 2000 Games in Sydney, men have competed in a 12-team tournament and women in a 10-team one
- The Indian men’s team, with six consecutive titles between 1928 and 1956, was unbeaten in 30 consecutive matches
- Judo made its very first appearance at the Olympic Games in 1964 in Tokyo. However, it was not included in the Olympic programme in 1968 in Mexico City
- Men and women now compete in seven weight categories. There was originally a men’s category open to all weights, but this event was withdrawn after the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.
- In the 1964 a Dutchman named Anton Geesink defeated three-time Japanese national champion Kaminaga Akio before 15,000 people at Nippon Budokan Hall.
- A karate practitioner is called a karateka. Karate comprises two modalities: Kumite and Kata. In Kumite, or combat, the winner of the three-minute fights is the one who obtains a clear lead of eight points, or the competitor having the highest number of points at time-up. If the fight is a draw, then the winner is determined by the first unopposed point advantage (Senshu) or in the case of a scoreless result, by a majority decision of the judges (Hantei).
- Karate will make its full Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 after being on the programme at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, where Japan topped the medal table with one gold and three silver medals.
- The 28-year-old Team USA karate athlete is a first-generation American, born in Hawaii, with Japanese parents. She spent much of her childhood and schooling in Japan, so her connection to the country is strong.
- Marathon swimming is the longest swimming event on the Olympic programme, covering 10km in open water. Lasting around two hours, the race tests swimmers’ endurance and is often decided by tenths of seconds.
- Near the 7km point of the race, swimmers begin to focus on the finish. Often, those who become medallists break away and are able to maintain their final charge without using up too much energy and strength. Races are often won with margins as small as tenths of a second.
- In 2005, Russian long-distance swimmer Larisa Ilchenko won the inaugural event, and South African swimmer Natalie du Toit finished in 16th position despite becoming an amputee seven years prior following a motorcycle accident.
- The ancient pentathlon consisted of running, jumping, spear-throwing, discus and wrestling. The pentathlon held a position of unique importance, with the winner ranked as Victor Ludorum.
- The modern pentathlon was introduced by Baron de Coubertin at the Stockholm Games in 1912, comprising pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, horse riding and running.
- In 2010 during the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, athletes used a laser pistol instead of a traditional pellet-firing air gun for the combined event for the first time during an official international competition. Laser shooting was introduced for both safety reasons and to reduce the environmental impact of the lead bullets. It debuted at an Olympic Games in London 2012.
- Rhythmic gymnastics is a women-only event in which gymnasts perform on a floor with a rope, hoop, ball, clubs or ribbon accompanied by music, in individual or group events.
- Rhythmic gymnastics evolved from a host of related disciplines. It incorporates elements from classical ballet, such as pliés and arabesques, as well as the German system of emphasising apparatus work for muscle development and the Swedish method of using free exercise to develop rhythm.
- Rhythmic gymnastics has been dominated by athletes from Russia since Sydney 2000, and at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Dina and Arina Averina hope to continue that trend for the Russian Olympic Committee team. The 22-year-old twins continue to stand atop the world of rhythmic gymnastics, with Dina beating Arina to gold at a recent World Cup meet in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
- Rowing was first used as a means of transport in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. The races are divided into sculling and sweep oar. Sculling events use two oars, whilst in sweep, the rower holds one. The eight-person crews have a coxswain, who steers the boat and directs the crew, but in all other boats, one rower steers by controlling a small rudder with a foot pedal.
- Sir Steve Redgrave of Great Britain is widely hailed as the greatest rower ever. A six-time World Champion
- Women made their debut at the Games in 1976 in Montreal. They competed in a smaller programme. The Olympic Games in 1996 in Atlanta marked the introduction of the lightweight events.
- Between 1845 and 1848, pupils from the Rugby School and students from the University of Cambridge in Great Britain documented and codified the rules of rugby.
- Rugby union—15 players per team—has featured on the Olympic programme four times: in 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924.
- In 1900, at the Paris Olympic Games, it was the French team who won the first Olympic tournament on home soil. The tournaments of the other editions of the Games gave victory to Australasia (a mixed Australian and New Zealand team) in 1908 in London; then twice to the USA, at the Antwerp Games in 1920 and Paris Games in 1924.