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The Olympic Sports

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The Olympic Games are among the most popular sporting events in the world. Every two years, sports fans watch either their favorite winter or summer sports and the world's best athletes. But many people don't really know how many sports there are in the Olympics, or even what they are!

There are more summer sports than winter sports. The modern Olympics feature 28 summer and 7 winter sports, although some of those sports have several different kinds of events. For example, "aquatics" is divided into swimming, diving, water polo, and synchronized swimming. There are 44 events in aquatics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decides what sports should be played at the Olympics. Their rules state that a sport must be "widely practiced by men in at least 75 countries and on four continents, and by women in at least 40 countries and on three continents."

What is the most popular Olympic sport? That's hard to say. Track-and-field events have competitors from the most countries. Soccer fans buy the most tickets. At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, the most expensive tickets were for swimming. For winter sports, figure skating has the biggest audience and the most expensive tickets. However, former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch predicts that soon swimming will become the most popular sport in the world to watch. What do you predict?


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