A demonstration sport is a sport which is played to promote it, most commonly during the Olympic Games, but also at other sporting events.
Demonstration sports were officially introduced in the 1912 Summer Olympics, when Sweden decided to include glima, traditional Icelandic wrestling, in the Olympic program, but with its medals not counting as official. Most organizing committees then decided to include at least one demonstration sport at each edition of the Games, usually some typical or popular sport in the host country, like baseball at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and taekwondo at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. From 1912 to 1992, only two editions of the Summer Olympics did not have demonstration sports on their program. Some demonstration sports eventually gained enough popularity to become an official sport in a subsequent edition of the Games. Traditionally, the medals awarded for the demonstration events followed the same design as the Olympic medals, but of a smaller size. They are never included in the medal count.
Demonstration sports were suspended after the 1992 Summer Olympics, as the Olympic program grew bigger and it became more difficult for the organizing committees to give them the appropriate attention, since the IOC required the same treatment to be dispensed for official and demonstration sports. It is unlikely that they will be reintroduced as a requirement for future Olympic organizing committees. However, the Beijing Olympic Committee received permission from the IOC to run a wushu (martial arts) competition parallel to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008.
From the 1984 Summer Olympics until the 2004 Summer Olympics, two Paralympic events (a men's and a women's wheelchair racing event) were included in the athletics programme of each Games. These events are considered by many as a demonstration sport, but are, in fact, used to promote the Paralympic Games. Disabled events in alpine and Nordic skiing (1988 only) were also held as demonstration sports at the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics.
Here is the list of demonstration sports played at the Summer Olympic Games:
- 2 Removed from Olympic program after 2008.
- 3 Was part of the program in 1936.
- 4 Was part of the program between 1896 and 1924.
Here is the list of demonstration sports played at the Winter Olympic Games:
- 1 Was part of the program in 1924, which in 2002 the IOC retroactively decided would be considered an official Olympic event.
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