Every four years, the public gets to witness the most outstanding athletes come together in the biggest sporting tournament in the world. With the next Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo delayed until 2021, the anticipation has one more year to keep growing.

While you wait in anticipation, this article will provide you an overview of the Modern Olympic Games, and provide a list of Olympic sports in the upcoming Tokyo Games in 2021, with some facts about the sports and the most exciting athletes to watch!

A Brief History of the Modern Summer Olympics

The modern era of the Summer Olympics began in 1896 in the home of the Ancient Olympics - Athens, Greece - with athletes from 14 different countries competing in just nine sports.

Interestingly, despite Greece fielding over 200 of the 245 athletes at the games, the U.S. claimed the most victories, with 11 first-placed events to Greece’s 10.

The event quickly grew over the decades, including more nations, sports, and athletes. The games have brought nations together through wars, controversies and world events.

So how many Olympic sports are there? The Summer Olympic sports have included a total of 42 sports over the years, with several of the sports played in the Olympics being added and taken away for various reasons between events.

The most popular Summer Olympic events are traditionally athletics, aquatics, and gymnastics, and the various disciplines each sport contains.

Qualifying events for Olympic sports begins up to a year in advance of the event. The International Sports Federation determines the qualification rules.

Generally, a nation can have up to three individual athletes representing them in a particular sport, or one team. Athletes most often qualify through achieving specific placings in major international events or continental qualifying tournaments.

The last Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, 2016, was the 31st modern games. The event hosted more than 11,000 athletes from 205 National Olympic Committees, and sold 7.5 million tickets.

The U.S. once again topped the medal tally in these games, with 46 golds - including their 1000th Olympic gold medal ever - and 121 awards overall.

The 2020 Summer Olympics were set to be held in Tokyo from the 24th of July to the 9th of August. However, due to the global pandemic, they have been tentatively postponed until the 23rd of July 2021. It is followed by the Paralympic Games starting on the 24th of August.

Summer Olympics Sports Tokyo 2021

The following is the current list of all Olympics sports that will be featured in the 2021 Games:

Current Team USA for Tokyo Games

While the Olympic Committee has concluded some of the qualifying events for the Tokyo Olympics before the pandemic, others will occur at later dates.

When all qualifying is completed, Team USA is expected to be around 600 athletes strong. The following are the athletes who have already qualified for the Games.

Big Team USA Names of the 2021 Games


Simone Biles dominated the Rio Olympics with four gold medals in seven days in gymnastics. Improving even further at the last two world championships, the 22-year-old will enter the Tokyo Olympics as a firm favourite.

Christian Coleman has been touted as the successor to Usain Bolt. A personal best 100m dash time of 9.76 seconds made him the sixth fastest man in history at the last World Titles, making the 23-year-old one to watch in Tokyo - if you can keep your eyes on him!

In a similar ‘passing of the torch’, 23-year-old Caeleb Dressel is called the next Michael Phelps, and he is earning the title. With six gold medals and two silvers at the last World Championships, the freestyle, breaststroke and butterfly sprinter will be hunting gold medals in Tokyo.

We hope this article has taught you something new about the Summer Olympics, and has you as excited as we are for Tokyo 2021!

Let us know your favourite Olympic sports and athletes in the comments below.