When people think of the Olympics, they usually think of things like track and field, or other outdoor sports that have become synonymous with the Games. But indoor sports are not to be overlooked when going over the history of the Olympics, as indoor sports have built a nice history of their own during the world’s biggest sporting event.
Of course, prominent indoor sports such as basketball and swimming have had a constant presence in the Olympics over the last half-century and beyond, as the current day Olympics would be unrecognizable without them. Swimming began introducing indoor events in the mid-1900s, while basketball joined the list of Olympic indoor sports in 1936. It’s the history of other indoor sports in the Olympics that is more interesting.
Indoor volleyball was merely a demonstration sport in 1924, and it looked like that would be the sport’s only time featuring in the Games for a very long time. But eventually the IOC came to its senses, allowing indoor volleyball to become a part of the Olympics for good in 1964. The 44 year waiting period for indoor volleyball marks the longest period of time that a sport waited between being a demonstration sport and receiving a spot in the Olympics among active Olympic sports.
Badminton also took an interesting path to get into the Olympics once and for all. The sport was made a demonstration sport in 1972, and was not picked up for the next Olympic Games. Badminton was again made a demonstration sport in 1988, and was then made a true Olympic sport for the 1992 Games. Just like the Olympics themselves, badminton is a great reminder that perseverance is often the key to success.
Other indoor sports did not need to be a demonstration sport before gaining access to being a full on Olympic sport. Handball is one of those sports, which became an Olympic sport straight away in 1972. Table tennis is also in the club of indoor sports that earned immediate entry into the Olympics, becoming an official part of the Games in 1988, which it has been ever since.
There are of course, plenty of other indoor sports featured in the Olympic Games as well. Sports like weightlifting, indoor cycling, wrestling, and gymnastics are all featured indoors, and make it possible for spectators to enjoy all of the Olympic action they desire in an indoor setting. Sports like wrestling and weightlifting have been around for the entirety of the history of the Olympics, with their simplistic nature and lack of modern equipment making them ideal for the Games that were held in a less technologically advanced time period.
Overall, the history of indoor sports in the Olympics has become an illustrious one. At the same time, though, it is a history that still needs to be written, given how young most of the sports are relative to the age of the Olympics themselves. With more Games to come, and the potential for more indoor sports to be added, the history of indoor sports at the Olympics can only grow from here.