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Since the Olympic Games were revived in the late 1800's, the number of sports included has increased greatly. In the 1896Athens Olympics only 9 sports were included; athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, shooting, swimming, tennis, weightlifting and wrestling. But in the 2012 London Olympics, 26 sports are included:aquatics (swimming and diving), archery, athletics (or “track and field”), badminton, basketball, boxing, canoe and kayak, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, gymnastics, handball, hockey, judo,pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling.
Japanese gymnast Hiroyuki Tomita at the 2008 Beijing Olympics
Most ofthese sports are well-known, but one of the less well-known is equestrian, in which riders on horseback compete in three different events; dressage, show jumping and eventing. Equestrian is the onlyOlympic sport in which men and women compete against each other as equals. Another less well-known sport is pentathlon, in which athletes compete in several events: swimming, fencing, equestrian (showjumping only), pistol shooting and cross-country running. Pentathlon originated as a way of testing some of the skills needed by late 19th-century soldiers in Europe. Another Olympic sport that involvesmore than one type of activity is the triathlon; in which competitors complete a 1.5km swim, then a 40km bicycle ride, followed by a 10km run. Unlike the pentathlon, in which points are scored in eachevent, the triathlon is a race to the finish line, with athletes starting the next activity as soon as they finish a previous one.
Left: Equestrian competitor
Right: British diver Tom DaleyThe list of sports included in the Olympic Games has often been changed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), with members regularly voting on whether to include or exclude particular sports....