Top 10 Hardest Olympic Sports

The Top Ten
1 Gymnastics Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of exercises requiring strength, flexibility, balance and control.

I used to do gymnastics, and trust me when I say you need a lot of strength for that. Now, I don't think it is harder than horseback riding because I do both sports and I know what it's like, but you need a lot of focused determination and strength for that. If you can't do that, then I don't know what to tell you.

I have been a gymnast since I was 3 years old, and so I know this particular sport isn't anywhere near easy. Training for 5 to 6 hours for months in order to gain perfect balance is hellish, and it is still not enough. It is downright difficult, and a mistake could lead to instant death. Well, people say soccer exempts any sport, and I do admit it once because I play soccer and I love it! But gymnasts demonstrate so much more than what football players can in skills, talents, and their physical and mental strengths respectively. Thus, I indulge in gymnastics way more than soccer for the challenges it brings. Honestly, the gymnast gold medalist in the Olympics gains my respect way above any footballers in this world. So yes, gymnastics is the top hardest and very hazardous sport in my opinion.

2 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.

As a swimmer, I swim 3+ hours at the pool and spend 2+ hours working out. You have the resistance of the water and at least 7 other opponents at once. At the time of the race, you don't know how well they are doing or how much better you need to do. In show jumping, you go one at a time, so you can figure out a plan to be the best. In swimming, the only plan you have is the one to beat your best time.

When you dive in, you have to dive in a way that gets you far and goes deep, but not too deep. You also have to have the best technique and speed. If you focus on one part of your swim and not the other parts, you can easily mess up. I can speak for the equestrians: if you have the right horse, then your legs are not nearly as sore after a ride as how sore your legs are after just a kick set. I have a horse, and your horse is doing most of the work when you show jump. The horse is the one jumping and cantering.

The only time you use your thighs when you ride a horse is when you give them a cue. When you swim, you use your thighs the ENTIRE time. Swimming will forever be the most difficult sport physically, mentally, and emotionally.

3 Track and Field

I love track. I've been doing it forever, and if you don't have speed, then you might struggle a lot. But if you love it and determine yourself, you can do it. Then you got this.

Track is tough to rank. Everyone is born learning how to walk, jog, and run since they're two 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.

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

4 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

I think horseback riding is the hardest sport in the Olympics because your partner is a 1,000-pound animal with wants, needs, and thoughts of its own. They can also kill you and go up to 45 mph. Imagine hurtling over a five-foot fence that does not fall down, going 30 mph while having to stay balanced and aware. Also, this is a race.

To those who think riding is easy, come get on my horse and jump a course with four other riders in the arena on an unpredictable 1,000-pound animal. Unless you have done this, don't tell me it's easy or not a sport. Talk to me after you go jumping.

5 Cycling

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

It's not just cycling. There is also XCO (Cross-Country Olympic) cycling, which is so different and, in my opinion, one of the hardest sports.

6 Figure Skating Figure skating is a sport in which individuals, duos, or groups perform on figure skates on ice. It was the first winter sport included in the Olympics, in 1908. The four Olympic disciplines are men's singles, ladies' singles, pair skating, and ice dance.

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 allow you to easily medal at the age of 20-40. In figure skating, however, your window of success is primarily from the age of 14-20 (men up to 30) because the human body simply isn't capable of doing the required elements after that age. 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 therefore it is very underrated.

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

You are pulling back a very high poundage. You also have to correct your form as you go, which can alter other aspects of your form, making it hard to have perfect anything.

Archery takes so much focus, determination, and arm strength. But if you can't focus, then the sport is not for you.

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

8 Soccer Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players each. It is played with a spherical ball. The objective is to score the ball in the other teams 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, and lacrosse run about 2-3 miles and get unlimited subs.

Also, when every country in the world plays soccer, it's 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.

9 Wrestling

Think of arm wrestling with a person equal to your strength. 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 year's worth of experience, they will surely tell you that wrestling is one of the hardest things to do out there.

Why is this number 7? Wrestling is probably the hardest sport out there because it takes extreme endurance, strength, and technique. Why is horseback riding second? You just sit there, and the horse does all the work. This list is messed up.

10 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! First of all, wait... I'm getting distracted by horseback riding. If that's only there for the sole purpose of distraction, well, mission accomplished. But you get sore. I've gotten so sore it hurt to breathe, let alone go to school. I walked (it's a mile to school) and still had 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 because a team scored a goal. And it's more or less that for 24-28 minutes.

The Contenders
11 Rowing

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 forth. You must stabilize yourself, keep rhythm, and watch where you are going. All the skills needed to row are very hard to acquire. 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 oars 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 rowboat before and that was easy, it can't be much different.

12 Alpine Skiing
13 Cross Country

All sports require some degree of strength, stamina, and tactical prowess, but none cover all three the way cross-country skiing does. These athletes train and race in the toughest conditions. It is a sport that requires so much support that it's almost the athletic version of Formula 1 racing. Cross-country skiing produces the fittest athletes, as measured by VO2 max. A top professional court sport player can get away with a VO2 of approximately 60 mL/kg/min, while an amateur cross-country skier needs a VO2 of approximately 85 just to be competitive at a national level.

I'm assuming this is skiing because cross-country running isn't an Olympic sport.

14 Handball

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

15 Triathlon
16 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.

I used to do volleyball and, if I'm being completely honest with you, I was not that good at it because I didn't have the determination for it like I do with my other sports. It hurts your forearms, trust me, but if you can't get through the pain, then screw it.

Definitely! I play volleyball 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 while serving, which is really hard to stop doing.

I love volleyball with all my heart though, and I'm trying out for the Junior Olympics team! So many great volleyball players there!

17 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..

See which athletes are willing to switch to boxing. ESPN rated boxers as the ultimate athletes and boxing as the hardest sport to do. No other sport listed here recorded any deaths.

Golf is the easiest and should not even be considered an Olympic sport. It's hard technically but offers no physical challenge. If you are dressed like you are going to Sunday school, it should be considered not a sport but a game. Bowling, darts, poker, golf, etc.

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

18 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.
19 Synchronized Swimming

Every single website I go to says that gymnastics, boxing, swimming, water polo, and a bunch of other sports are 'the hardest sports'. Yeah, I can totally see how those would be hard, but why isn't synchro listed anywhere in the top ten?! Synchro is extremely difficult. As many of these other comments said, synchronized swimming/artistic swimming combines gymnastics, swimming, and water polo. It is such a unique and difficult sport, both physically and mentally.

Imagine being upside down while sculling as hard as you can to lift your body out of the water, while counting and not being able to breathe. Imagine having no ground to stand on, while lifting people's bodies up into the air as they do a flip, a handstand, or splits. Then memorizing 3 minutes of movements, counting, smiling, and dying. This sport NEEDS to be higher up in the list of hardest sports, and I don't think most people know just how tough and physically demanding it is.

20 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.

Fencing is uniquely difficult in that it requires so many aspects to become a great fencer. You not only need to have great physical capabilities but you also have to have superb technique and tactics. Therefore, other than gymnastics, tennis, and water polo/swimming, I'd say fencing is the fifth hardest sport.

21 Diving

If you think that diving isn't hard, then go do a four and a half off ten meters. Diving is way harder than horseback riding, that's for sure.

Guys, you couldn't even survive a jump from so high without peeing yourself. I go up there and do gainer three and a halves, and you say riding a horse is difficult.

22 Shooting
23 Judo Judo is a modern martial art and Olympic sport that originated in Japan. Created by Jigoro Kano in 1882, it focuses on throws, joint locks, and pins, emphasizing the efficient use of balance and leverage. Practitioners, known as judokas, wear special garments called "judogi," and they compete on a mat... read more

Judokas who are training for the Olympics train every single day, from morning until night. They only get a 2-hour break between each different training session (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.

More countries are involved than in 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 are virtually nil.

24 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 a maximum of two 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 you're a pro.

25 Sailing
8Load More
PSearch List