From archery to wrestling, there are twenty-six different sports now in the Summer Olympic Games. Some of these pit one competitor on their own against others throughout the world and some are full team competitions. Each have their own set of fans and are exciting in their own right. This section in entirely devoted to all of the summer sports that you might watch while you're relaxing at a cottage or hanging out in a sports bar in downtown Chicago.

The first official Summer Olympic Games was hosted in Athens, Greece in 1896 and included ten different sports. There were supposed to be twelve but rowing and yachting were cancelled at the last minute due to high winds. While all of the original intended sports are now included in modern Games, minus yachting, the only four that have survived throughout all of the years of the Olympics have been fencing, athletics, artistic gymnastics, and swimming. Now, there are people training from Toronto to Norway in 36 disciples within the individual sports for more than three hundred events.

While most of the sports in the Olympics have been present for the better part of one hundred years, there are some that have come and gone throughout the years and others that are being considered for future Games. An example of this is the sport of baseball. It made its unofficial debut in the summer of 1904 when the Olympics were hosted in St. Louis, Missouri and was played in sporadic Games throughout the 20th century. While people might still be watching this sport every summer from their home or patio, in 2005, the International Olympic Committee voted to discontinue this event starting with the 2012 Games in London, England. On the other side of the spectrum, the 2012 Games will be only the second time that BMX has been included as an official sport.

One of the best things about the Games for the average citizen watching on their day off from working at a nursery supply or on break from school is that it inspires people to do more and be active. If you're looking for a form of exercise that's a little more exciting than jumping on the treadmill for thirty minutes three times a week in the basement of your home, than you might consider taking up one of these sports. You don't have to be on the road to the Olympics to enjoy participating in water polo or cycling. And you might find that watching the Games is that much more exciting when you know about the sport that's being played.

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