Hardest Olympic Sports

Cheeseduck

The Top Ten

1 Horseback Riding Horseback Riding Horseback riding (or Equestrian) is one of the most intense sports known to man. Not only because it's physically challenging, but it takes more than athleticism. Horseback riding takes commitment, time, patience, and most importantly building a bond with your horse. If you don't have a good relationship ...read more.

Whoever said running is way harder than sitting on a horse has a messed up brain. You have to control a 1200 pound animal that doesn't speak your own language. It could kill you at any time. If equestrians just "sat there," we end up on the ground in a matter of seconds. Every cue of the seat, legs, reins, voice is a signal for the horse. If you do not know how to do that properly (and trust me, I've been riding for six years and I still am not the best I could be), then you are on the ground. Every single time. A horse has a mind of its own. Horses test everything: your mind, strength (yes, you have to have thighs of steel and amazing balance, and perfect position in the saddle), and time. I bet you all who have a different sport practice a lot, but we pour our life into our passion. In fact, it is our life. We spend countless hours at the barn practicing and caring for our teammate, forming a bond so unbreakable. Do you have a bond with your sport's equipment? That's what ...more

Horseback riding is definitely one of the most physically demanding sports. Contrary to what many people think, you do not "just sit there". If you think that, then you should take a look at a horse rider's abs and calf muscles, or get on a horse for 20 minutes and try to get it around a course. Not only that, but you have to bring your A game mentally, too. You have only 2 minutes to make it or break it in show jumping, and there are no second chances if you forget the course, fall off, pull a rail, or any of the many other things that can go wrong if you lose focus for a second. Horse people are some of the most tough and dedicated people out there. If you fall, you get back up on that horse and try again, no matter how sore you are. To get to the top, you have to train for years to perfect not only yourself, but your horse too. Every time you get on a horse, you are risking your life, and you have to be alert and aware at all times. You know you're going to fall off sometimes, and ...more

I've ridden horses for three years now. I have done gymnastics, ballet, irish dancing, and soccer as well. Horse riding is easily the hardest out of them. The horse is over 10x your weight, and you have to control him with your legs and small squeezes with your fingers. He could kill you without noticing, he could paralyze you forever. Horse riding is one of the only sports that uses every muscle in your body. Riders burn 600 calories every time they play with their ponies. Then there are the endless barn chores. We enter competitions, where we dance with our horse, but even a slightly noticeable cue could eliminate you. We hold on with just our legs, as we gallop 40 MPH, and lean 45 degrees around barrels. We leap over obstacles, where if you go even slightly too slow or fast, could cost you the competition. We put our lives in the hooves of an animal, for two minutes of adrenaline. We put in a lifetime of hard work and harder falls, and still have to explain this to others. Okay I'm ...more

I’m not going to sit here and explain why. I don’t need a stupid list to tell me what I already know and what I know is that this is the hardest by far, from riding to preparing to ride is very hard. by the way the picture with this is highly irellavent we do dressage, show jumping, eventing, cross country and showing all equally hard on each level!

V 53 Comments
2 Gymnastics Gymnastics Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of exercises requiring strength, flexibility, balance and control.

I am a gymnast and is the hardest sport by far. No it may not be hard when you are little and doing forward rolls and cartwheels but just wait until you reach a higher level and start tumbling on a 4 inch beam, trying to get enough power to do twists and double backs on floor, having enough endurance to get through bar and floor routines, doing crazy tricks between the bars while trying to keep your form perfect, doing the scariest stuff ever, flipping on the vault and trying to hit the springboard just right. So yes gymnastics is the hardest. I also did not mention 2 hours of straight up conditioning including running, lifting weights, working on your arm muscles, leg muscles, and your stomach, stretching, and if you even try to take a break you have to start over, trying to push your splits doing and working on your flexibility. Gymnastics is not a sport were you go to practice and you hardly work, you have to go do what your told and do it perfectly.

I agree. I am a gymnast as well and it is the hardest sport I have ever done. Doing flips on a 4 inch bean and staying perfect while you go in between the bars is hard. Getting enough energy for a floor routine and enough energy to do all of he hardest flips known t man is hard. It takes a lot of skill and strenght to all of the skills at gymnastics. Gymnastics also takes a lot of balance especially for balance beam. Doing jumps like a straight jump looks easy, but it's not. Once you get the basic jumps like a straight jump you do harder jumps to a point where it gets so advance you can't even do it. Whoever says gymnastics isn't hard is 100% wrong. Like this person said, "if you don't think its hard, then go to a nearby gymnastics place and try it." You will realize how hard it is for all of us gymnast to do all of the things you see when the Olympics are on. It takes a lot of work, effort, and teamwork to do all of those things. You try it and let us know what you think of it. If ...more

I am a gymnast too since 3 years old until now and so I know this particular sport ain't anywhere near easy. 5 to 6 hours of training for months in order to gain perfect balance is hellish and it is still not enough. It is downright difficult that a mistake could lead to instant death. Well, people says soccer exempts any sports and I do admit it once because I do soccer and I love it! But gymnast demonstrate so much more than what football player can in skills, talents and their physical and mental strengths respectively. Thus, I indulge in gymnastics way more than soccer for challenges it brings. Honestly, the gymnast gold medallist in Olympics gain my respect way above any footballers in this world. So yes...gymnastic is top hardest and very hazardous sport in my opinion.

Just because some gymnasts make it look easy doesn't mean it is.

V 41 Comments
3 Swimming Swimming Swimming is an individual or team sport and activity. Competitive swimming is one of the most popular Olympic sports, with events in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.

Swimming is one of the toughest sports out there! I'm not talking about splashing about in a pool playing around I'm talking about proper competitive swimming, you have to make every second in the water count because if you mess up in a race or don't perform at your utmost you will be beaten. There is always someone better stronger faster in every sport but in swimming it's said to be 90% mentality and 10% everything else, you don't have to just be phisically tough but also mentally tough. How many breaths you take in a race can be the difference between win or loose. No other sport has that!

Swimming is so much harder than archery, or soccer, you have to have the endurance and stamina of a runner, the strength of a wrestler, and the lung capacity of a professional singer. I doesn't get much harder than that. Why don't you go swim a 400 meter butterfly in under a minute and come and tell me whats harder than swimming?

Swimming is definitely one of the hardest Olympic sports. You have to have a great amount of endurance, strength, talent, and mental edge. Many of the competitors train their whole life to lose by hundredths of a second! It is hard!

Cough cough *numder 1*

V 17 Comments
4 Track and Field

Track is tough to rank. Everyone is born learning how to walk, jog and run since they're 2 years old. Therefore, it doesn't take much to be able to do track and field, but since almost everyone in the world can do it, it has to be insanely hard to get to the top.

I love to run and it is really hard to keep going at a fast pace when running. But I still love it.

To ride, you don't just sit on a horse

The purpose of the sport is to push the physical limitations of your body to win, and in order to do this you have constantly got to push every limit you body has, anaerobic, aerobic, lactic,various mental capacities and more.

V 3 Comments
5 Eventing

Can you imagine waking up every day, looking in the mirror and saying, 'this is what I do'?

Three separate events, one healthy rider, one sound horse! The hardest and the most exciting!

I've tried it and it only looks easy because making it look easy is part of it!

Physical endurance is only the beginning of how challenging Eventing truly is. Unlike other sports Eventers must also work with an animal that has a mind of its own.

6 Cycling

There is no other sport were you have to put constant power out for up to 6 hours or more.

Track Cycling is the hardest Cycling Sport

Power a normal people creates in entire day is created by a track cyclist sprinter in just 1 km

potato

V 1 Comment
7 Figure Skating

I did figure skating for 11 years and it definitely is the hardest olympic sport because top figure skaters truly reach the ultimate level of human physique in their free programs. It looks easy but the amount of strength you need for a jump and landing it, is something that not everyone can do. Also many sports on this list are such that you can easily medal in them at the age of 20-40 but in figure skating the time you can be successful is from the age of 14-20 (men up to 30), because simply after that age human body is not capable of doing the required elements. Also figure skating combines extremely difficult artistic performance with technical skills and of course stamina. Pair skating is even more difficult since you also have to do all of this synchronized with your partner. Figure skating is also very challenging mentally and the character of the sport is very cruel. If you haven't done figure skating yourself you can't really understand how challenging the sport truly is and ...more

Have you actually seen professional figure skaters? They are amazing! Figure skating requires the flexibility of a gymnast, the grace of a dancer, and the stamina of a runner. It is a sport that is under-rated, and it should be considered as the hardest sport in the Olympics.

Being able to master this sport is incredibly hard. From the low confidence to the painful accidents and the dreading thought of having to have surgery I believe this sport is tough. One jump messed up can change your whole career

If it requires "grace", it's not a sport

8 Archery Archery Archery is the sport, practice or skill of using a bow to propel arrows. The word comes from the Latin arcus.

It takes perfect aim and stillness. Also when the string goes back after launching the arrow there is a lot of force realesed.

9 Soccer Soccer Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. The goal is to score the ball on the other team's goal.

Seems easy but when you get 3 subs over the span of an hour and a half of running, you're bound to get tired. The average soccer player runs 7+ miles in a game whereas sports like basketball, hockey, lacrosse run about 2-3 miles and get unlimitted subs. Also, when every country in the world plays soccer, its much harder to be one of the best than it is for other sports. This exempts worldwide sports like swimming, track and gymnastics. No wonder Lionel Messi gets paid $725,000 per week and has gotten offers of over 300 million euros from other sports clubs.

Like track and field with a ball - Cheeseduck

10 Greco-Roman Wrestling

Think of arm wrestling with a person equal your strength and they're super difficult to beat and you know both of your arms will be left sore afterwards. Now do that with your whole body constantly pushing, pulling, picking up, and throwing another body while resisting that same motion happening to you. If anyone has wrestled with at least half a years worth of experience, they will surely tell you that wrestling is one of the hardest things to do out there

It is a sport that involves knowledge, speed, strength, flexibility, and stamina and it is one of the hardest sports out there in the world

And Freestyle wrestling! The hardest sport in the world!

6 minutes of pure brute strength and
very judgemental referee on passivity.

V 3 Comments

The Contenders

11 Rowing

I'm always getting into arguments with people that don't understand rowing. It's not a little row boat that your row gently, It might look graceful and beautiful while watching it and don't pay attention to the pain on the rowers face but all rowers know that Hell is literally braking loose in that boat. Not only is it physically demanding as in there is NOBODY that can take your place if your hurt or tired you fight through the pain during a race and lifting boats, erging, basically doing crossfit workouts and that's just the training. Not to mention the literal blood that spreads on the oar handles from blisters popping during power moves, tears being shed from the pain and numbness in your legs after a race. but it's also mental strength here you have to live and breath your partner learn every movement of their body so that everyone is in sync. Rowing is a very demanding sport spending 6 days a week for 4 hours a day plus waking up before everyone else and yet there is no ...more

I think rowing is a very hard and complex sport. While rowing you cannot just hop in the boat and move your oars back and fourth you must stable yourself, keep rhythm, and watch where you are going. All the skills needed to row are very hard to get just being in the water on a rough day is hard let alone having to row in a shell. The actual sport while you are out on the water is hard, but you also need to know things like your port and starboard oar and how to take good care of these expensive boats. People should think twice before they say something like "rowing isn't a sport" or "I've rowed in a row boat before and that was easy, it can't be much different"

Rowing is a whole body workout. We do not get up before the crack of dawn, go get blisters all over our hands, and train till we pass out for nothing. We will push ourselves till we have nothing left to give. If you feel pain, you're working hard. We won't stop for anything unlike other sports. Rowing takes dedication, skill, power, and hard work. If you don't have that then go do some other sport.

Hardest, most grueling sport. Period.

V 7 Comments
12 Water Polo

Why isn't this past swimming? Or track and field? Or... is horseback riding 2nd? Whoever is voting for horseback riding is weird and weird! First of all, wait... I'm getting distracted by horseback riding, if that's only there for the sole purpose of "But you get sore" I've gotten so sore it hurt to breathe. Let only go to school, I walked (It's a mile to school) and still have practice that night. OK, done with that, this is how I like to describe water polo. Imagine you're swimming head up for 6 minutes. At the start of those 6 minutes (I'm a sprinter) you have a high chance of breaking your nose (Which has happened to me before, multiple times.). Now, if you didn't break your nose you either have to pass the ball while someone is practically climbing up you or try and get the ball from the other sprinter. And that's just the first few seconds. The next few seconds pass by in a blur of pain, sprinting some more, and then, finally, maybe a bit of rest, while still treading water, ...more

Water polo is absolutely crazy. The violence that occurs in the pool makes this sport for the toughest, and the amount of treading that the players have to do is mind-blowing. This sport is clearly one of the hardest around.

Definitely the hardest. Not only do you have to work just so you don't drown, but also try and stay up as other people try and drown you. It's also very tactical so you have to learn loads.

Water Polo is definitely the hardest sport. Its like a cross between rugby and soccer in 7 feet of water.

V 7 Comments
13 Alpine Skiing
14 Triathlon
15 Cross Country
16 Handball

Combination of speed, power,endurance and agility adding the the complex spin shots and tactical movements...definitely one of the hardest Olympic sports.

17 Boxing Boxing Boxing is a martial art and combat sport in which two people wearing protective gloves throw punches at each other for a predetermined set of time in a boxing ring..

Some scientists did experiment and statistics with boxing and its was physically far far harder than volleyball or horseback

Really? What were the names of the scientists and what was the study called? How did they prove that boxing was harder that volleyball or riding? Because I can tell you here and now that while it may be more physical than those two, it is definitely not harder. Plus, " boxing is harder that volleyball and horse riding" is an opinion, not a fact, so there would be no way for a scientist to prove it. - SassyEquine

Listen up. Boxing is the hardest sport (with wrestling as a close second) from endurance durability and reacting. Try it and tell me how hard it is you will agree with me.

Funny how no one has managed to describe why boxing is hard...

See which athletes are willing to switch to box. ESPN rated boxers as the ultimate athletes and hardest sport to do. No other sport listed here recorded any death. Golf is the easiest and should not even be an Olympic sport. Hard technically but no physical challenge. If you are dressed like you are going to Sunday School it should be considered a sport but a game.
Bowling, darts, poker, golf, etc...

18 Volleyball Volleyball Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.

Definitely! I play VB and I love it, but it's really hard. I mean, like, I hurt my shoulder serving and I can't take a certain amount of steps serving, which is really hard to stop doing that habit. I love VB with all my heart though, and I'm trying out for the Junior Olympics Team! So many great VB players there!

19 Diving

Try to dive from 10m and not to make sketches

Guys, you couldn't even survive a jump from so high without peeing your self. I go up there and go gainer 3 and a halfs, and you say riding a horse is difficult.

If you think that diving isn’t hard then go do a 4 and a 1/2 off ten meters diving is way harder than horseback riding that’s for sure.

20 Basketball Basketball Basketball is a sport played by two teams of five players on a rectangular court. The objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop 18 inches in diameter and 10 feet high mounted to a backboard at each end.

Gymnastics is the easiest of them all

Yup, training 6-8 hours a day every day, for most of your life, tumbling on a 4 inch wide beam, doing swinging releases & skills on a bar and running full speed at a stationary object then flipping over it is so easy!

yup

21 Fencing

As a fencer, I can vouch that in the vast world of fencing, it takes a lot of skill, time and practice to even make it to a national event, let alone an international event. I've had the opportunity to fence one of this year's Olympic fencers, and while I usually place well in national tournaments, I only scored seven touches on this fencer.

I think fencing is the hardest

22 Synchronized Swimming

Synchro is a very strenuous sport requiring incredible strength, stamina, and skill. Most athletic people can perform many Olympic sports with some level of competence but very very few would have the core strength and basic body awareness and skill to hold the simplest figures in this sport. ( try a simple tub next time you are in water, look it up online) Synchro is most similar to gymnastics but I must admit that gymnastics has far more risk involved if you mess up! Every sport has different challenges and to become the best at your sport requires incredible effort and talent and drive. Synchro seems to get criticized as many don't enjoy the artistic nature of the sport nor the fact that it is judged and certainly the smiles and grace involved don't make it look difficult. Those of you who doubt the athleticism involved should simply look at figures from underwater, performed in isolation without a partner, music, choreography e tc. a nd try to imagine yourself just trying to do ...more

People say that the hardest sports are gymnastics, water polo, and swimming. Synchronized swimming is a combination of all three, plus a lot more. It is also one of the only sports where the athlete must not only do these incredible moves, but also must make it look easy. One of the reasons why synchro is not very popular is because of the difficulty. The most popular sports are usually sports that are a little more relaxed and easier to improve in. Sports that are rare, like synchro, are usually very hard, which scares people off. Synchronized swimming is by far, the hardest sport.

Can I just point out that this should be way higher. The athletes are required the same amount of skill as a speed swimmer, water polo player and gymnastics in this tough contact sport. I'm a synchro swimmer and I know for a fact that we all train for ours out of the water to perform the areobic skills of a gymnast and perfect our flexibility to perform skilled movements upsidedown in the water without goggles and without touching the floor. We need to spend hours on intense stamina in the water reaching speeds similar to a speed swimmer and strong endurance strokes to lift our partners. The eggbeater movements that water polo players perform is what we perfect to make us look elegant and graceful above the water but what you don't realize is the bruising that's going on beneath. There have been many occasions where some one has back flipped of a lift and used those powerful legs to give me a black eye.

Synchro deserves more appreciaton. It's our job to make it look easy but it ...more

Hardest sport ever no one ever knows how hard it actually is I do it and love it but after one runthrough feel very tired.
It also requires lots of skills such as swimming, dance,core, flexibilty and more

V 9 Comments
23 Mountain Bike

I'm cross country and enduro racer try to do 2 hour xc race you will die of painin2 minutes

24 Tennis Tennis Tennis is a racket sport that can be played individually against a single opponent or between two teams of two players each.

Most other sports take max 2 hours. Tennis is a singular - or duo- centered sport, unlike some sports which are team centered. Also, like gymnastics, you have to spend HOURS stretching out each day if pro

Tennis is one of the most underrated sports in the world

Tennis,swimming and rowing you have to train the hardest

25 Sailing

By far one of the most draining, physically and mentally

26 Judo

More countries involved than almost any other individual sport. The difference between the elite and the rest is enormous and the bulk of funding reflects this. If you don't show natural ability early on your chances of making the team of elites is virtually nil.

Judo is hard if you think about it you need to think about your technique and you need to train at least 2-3 times a week if you want to become a good judoka.

Judokas who are training for the olympic train every single day, from morning until night. They only get a 2-hr break between each different training (This is in South Korea). The judokas themselves even said that they don't have time for their families. Plus, the sport requires fast thinking and reaction.

27 Shooting
28 Folkstyle Wrestling

You have to be physically fit in all the aspects of sports and must have near perfect technique or you will be pinned and there is no time outs.

29 Canoe Sprint
30 Badminton Badminton Badminton is a racquet sport played using racquets to hit a shuttlecock across a net. Although it may be played with larger teams, the most common forms of the game are "singles" and "doubles".

Badminton has to be much higher in this list, the fastest smash in the world is now 493/km hour, try to beat that with other sports!

V 1 Comment
31 BMX

Since freestyle BMX became an olympic sport it will be one of the hardest sports on olympic games and the most fun to watch for me, I guess. Gymnastics is of course #1 but BMX freestyle is pretty close to it. My bet for 2020 the mostly unknown Paul Thoelen wins the first olympic gold medal in BMX freestyle.

32 Hockey

Top NHL players can compete with Footballer players for weight lifting. Look up how much some of them can squat.
They have the hand eye coordination of a baseball player and golfer combined. (Dangles)
They have incredible endurance the to sprint around with all the gear. You would be surprised about their endurance. Truly under appreciated.
Not to mention the PHYSICALITY of the game makes it a brute force sport that requires agility and finesse.
Did I forget to mention that the attention required is remarkable, that puck is traveling faster than most objects in sports (yes, I am including baseball) and players are willing to stand in front of it and in some cases are able to move their sticks just enough to deflect it or in the case of a goalie save it.

In hockey you practice about 4-7 times a week each are usually 1-3 hours. You have to work your butt off or your coach will not let you play. You have to be willing to stand in front of a compacted rubber puck coming 90+ mph at you. You also have to be on 1/8 of an inch blade while on a wet slippery surface. Oh and did I mention that you have to do all that while 5 other people are trying to kill you with clubs.

Supporting hockey's difficulty by saying "you're on a 1/8 inch blade" is hilarious. I learned how to skate when I was 5, if u learn young and just skate once in a while then you're fine. Hockey is just a bunch of long-haired douches with anger management problems. And endurance my ass, u guys switch your lines after 10 seconds of play. The only hard thing about hockey is being a goalie and having to react to insanely fast shots while several people are screening you.

Fudge brownie

V 2 Comments
33 Canoe Slalom

Canoe slalom is the hardest sport to train for!

34 Taekwondo

Precision, speed, and being able to take a kick to the face. If you think football is a contact sport go watch an olympicTKD match. Then get back to me on that, won't cha'.

What in the olypics ever wonder what what stands for bouncing around like wusses throwing out their front legs like demented kids

35 Trampolining

Trampolining is as hard as Gymnastics. You have to two ten skills routines, first routine is judged on how high you jump and neat the routine is and the second routine is judged on owe high you can go with the most difficulty. Most of the men's second routine have 5 to 6 triples in it. You should check it out one day, its amazing!

You have to time everything right and plus if the trampoline is sending a person 30 feet in the air that is scary and if you are that high and you hit the ground that's it!

36 Pole Vault

You have to use more upper body strengh

37 Cross Country Skiing

Why is this so far down!? XC skiing is by far the hardest sport.
It takes years of training all year round in order to be a "good" skier! People dedicate their lives to this sport and the athletes are the toughest and fittest people I have ever encountered.

With skiing you do all the work for yourself and in harsh conditions too. Try racing as hard as you can in below freezing temperatures,freezing your lungs, and getting frost bit.

Mastering the techniques is probably the hardest aspect and is the biggest difference between a fast skier and a slow or average skier.

Skiing is hard. It's the hardest sport I've ever done, and for those who put 90% of those other sports above it you need to get out and try nordic skiing, because that enough will change your mind.

Go and watch a race and then try it yourself and then sit there wondering how the heck those people could do that because it's that hard. If you tell me I'm wrong and that it shouldn't be at least ...more

38 Road Cycling
39 Snowboard Halfpipe

One slip up and your never doing it agian, you aslo have extra weight and you can get over 10 feet above the lip

40 Beach Volleyball Beach Volleyball Beach volleyball is a team sport played by two teams of two players on a sand court divided by a net. It has been an Olympic discipline since the 1996 Games.

Jumping 10 feet in he air with no shoes on in the sand and running full speed, in the sand is not too easy. Plus the coordination has to be on point

41 Table Tennis

If you aren't Chinese then you wont win. These guys just dominate the sport.

Enjoy tennis but hate running then this is the sport for you

42 Golf Golf Golf is a club and ball sport in which players use various clubs to hit balls into a series of holes from a range of 80 to 600 yards on a course in as few strokes as possible.
43 Karate

It's not even in the olympics yet we still have to wait A few years

I think it should be #16

BAdd New Item

Related Lists

Top Ten Hardest Mario and Sonic at the Olympics Winter Games Sports Sports That Should Not Be In the Olympics Most Popular Sports of the Olympic Games Sports That Should Be In the Olympics Top Ten Sports that are Not in the Olympics but Should Be

List Stats

1,000 votes
43 listings
6 years, 84 days old

Top Remixes (4)

1. Horseback Riding
2. Eventing
3. Swimming
Equii_kate
1. Track and Field
2. Gymnastics
3. Soccer
Cheeseduck
1. Horseback Riding
2. Eventing
3. Gymnastics
equastrianlover

WRemix
View All 4

Error Reporting

See a factual error in these listings? Report it here.
P