All the Olympic Sports at a glance!
With the Olympics in the UK in 2012, many people were inspired to change their lifestyle with the National Events that we were competing in. Take a look here for YOUR inspiration....
Take a closer look at the sporting activities to see how you could gear up for some Olympic Activity of your own! You could follow in the footsteps of our great Olympians - Our What’s On 4 Me supporter James DeGale entered the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and came away as a Gold Medallist at the age of just 19!
The Archery events will be held over a seven day period from 28 July to 3 August. Four events will be held, and all events will take place at Lord's Cricket Ground in London in front of a temporary stand built to accommodate 6,500 spectators.
The object of the sport is simple: to shoot arrows as close to the centre of a target as possible. Olympic Archery targets are 122 centimetres in diameter, with the gold ring at the centre (worth a maximum 10 points) measuring just 12.2cm. Archers shoot at the target from a distance of 70 metres.
Athletics will be held during the last 10 days of the games, from August 3 to August 12, at the Olympic Stadium. There are four main strands to the Athletics competition: track events, such as the 100m; field events, which include the High Jump and the Shot Put; combined events such as the Decathlon, a mix of track and field elements; and road events, among them the Marathon.
Athletics is the perfect expression of the Olympic motto ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ (‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’) – the competition requires athletes to run faster, throw further, jump higher and leap longer than their rivals. With 2,000 athletes competing in 47 events, Athletics is the largest single sport at the Games.
Badminton will be contested between 25 July 25 and 5 August. The competitions will take place at Wembley Arena in London in front of approximately 6,000 spectators. There will be 172 athletes competing in five events: Men's Singles, Women's Singles, Men's Doubles, Women's Doubles and Mixed Doubles.
Matches are played over the best of three games, and each game is won by the first player or doubles pair to reach 21 points by a margin of two clear points. However, if the score reaches 29-29, the winner of the next point wins the game.
Basketball is played by two teams of five players on an indoor court that is 28 metres long and 15m wide. Points are scored by shooting the ball into your opponents’ net (or 'basket'), which has a diameter of 450-459mm and sits on a backboard 3.05m above the floor.
Two points are awarded for a regular shot from open play, with one point for each successful free throw (following an opposition infringement) and three points for a shot from distance (beyond what’s known as the three-point line, 6.75m from the basket). Games last for 40 minutes, split into four 10-minute quarters.
Basketball will be held from 28 July to 12 August. Competitions will be held at the newly built Basketball Arena, which will seat 12,000 spectators, and the North Greenwich Arena in London. The United States men's and women's teams will be defending their current gold medal championships.
Boxing will be held from 28 July to 12 August at ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London.
Male boxers will compete in the following ten categories:
- Light flyweight
- Light welterweight
- Light heavyweight
- Super heavyweight
For the first time, women's boxing will be included in the Olympic programme with female boxers able to participate in three events:
- Light welterweight
- Light heavyweight
In the Olympic Games, men’s bouts take place over three three-minute rounds, with women’s bouts held over four rounds of two minutes each. Boxers score points for every punch they land successfully on their opponent’s head or upper body.
All Boxing events will be run in a knockout format. The winners of the two semi-finals in each weight category will fight for the gold medal, with the losers of the two semi-finals each awarded a bronze.
Canoeing races will be held from 29 July to 1 August (slalom) and from 6-11 August (sprint). The slalom events will be held at Lee Valley White Water Centre and the sprint events at Eton Dorney. Total of 330 athletes are expected to take part. The men’s 500 metre races will be replaced by 200m. In addition, men’s C2 500m will be replaced by women’s K1 200m.
Canoe Slalom competitions consist of timed runs down a white water course, which contains up to 25 gates. Touching a gate adds a two-second time penalty to the run; missing a gate incurs a 50-second penalty. The time taken to run the course in seconds is added to penalty seconds incurred to give the overall time.
Canoe Sprint events are head-to-head races conducted on still water, as opposed to the white water time trials of the Canoe Slalom competition. Athletes race over distances of 200m, 500m or 1,000m, either solo, in pairs or in teams of four.
Cycling will take place at five different venues. The venues are the London Velopark for track cycling, Hadleigh Park in Essex for Mountain bike and Olympic park BMX track for BMX. The Road Racing will take place over a course starting and ending in the Mall and heading into Surrey, the Time Trial will be held at Hampton Court Palace 18 events will be contested and 500 athletes are expected to participate.
There will be many changes in the Olympic track cycling programme. Men's and women's individual pursuit and points race, and men's Madison will be removed from the Olympic programme. Team sprint, team pursuit and keirin will be added to women's programme, while Omnium will be a new race for both men and women.
The eight Olympic diving events – four for men, four for women – feature either a springboard, 3m above the pool, or a fixed platform, set at a height of 10m. Springboards must be at least 4.8m long and 50cm wide, while platforms should be at least 6m long and 3m wide.
Judges award a score out of 10 for each dive, which is adjusted to take into account the dive’s degree of difficulty. In the Synchronised Diving events, pairs of athletes dive in tandem and are also assessed for their level of synchronisation.
Diving will take place from Sunday 29 July to Saturday 11 August 2012. 136 athletes will compete in 3 metre springboard, synchronized 3 metre springboard, 10 metre platform, and synchronized 10 metre platform.
Equestrian competitions will be held between July 28 and August 9, at the Greenwich Park venue in London.
6 sets of medals will be awarded in the following events:
- individual dressage
- team dressage
- individual jumping
- team jumping
- individual eventing
- team eventing
DRESSAGE: In modern Dressage competitions, the horse and rider perform a series of movements known as a Dressage test. The tests are performed in a 60m x 20m arena before a panel of seven judges, who award scores for individual movements and for the overall routine.
JUMPING: The Jumping competition is a tense, exciting test of skill, speed and power. Held in an arena around a short course containing 12-14 fences, the event requires huge reserves of boldness, accuracy and nerves of steel – from both the riders and their horses. As with all three Equestrian disciplines on the Olympic programme, the competition features both Individual and Team events, and men and women compete against each other on equal terms.
EVENTING: Dressage fills the first two days of the Eventing competition. Each horse and rider performs a dressage test in front of a panel of judges. The judges’ scores are converted into penalty points, which are carried forward to the next stage of the competition.
Day 3 is given over to the cross-country test, held over a beautiful but tough course in Greenwich Park containing up to 45 jumps. Every horse/rider combination is given penalty points for jumping errors and time penalties, which are added to any penalty points awarded during the dressage test to give a total score.
The Eventing competition gets a grandstand finish on Day 4 with the jumping tests (widely known in the UK as ‘show jumping’). Once again, riders and horses are given penalty points for jumping errors and time penalties, which are added to their previous dressage and cross-country scores to determine the overall rankings. The first jumping test will decide the placings in the Team event; after this has been completed, there’s a second jumping test to determine the winners of the Individual competition.
Three types of weapon are used in Olympic Fencing. In bouts using the Foil and the slightly heavier Epée, hits are scored by hitting an opponent with the tip of the weapon. However, in Sabre, hits may also be scored with the edge of the weapon. Epée allows both fencers to score at the same time while Foil and Sabre have rules of right of way and timing that mean only one fencer can score a hit at a time.
Fencing competitions will be held from 28 July to 5 August at ExCeL Exhibition Centre. Ten events (6 individual, 4 team) are scheduled to be contested. The International Fencing Federation pushed for the inclusion of two more team events, but the IOC voted to keep the current format of ten events.
Due to the intense schedule, the Football competition actually kicks off two days before the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony with the first group matches. The men’s competition will be an under-23s event, although each country will be allowed to include three older players in their team. There are no age restrictions for the women’s competition.
Football will be held in London and several other cities in the United Kingdom, from 25 July to 11 August. The finals will be played at Wembley Stadium. Associations affiliated with FIFA are invited to send their full women's national teams and men's U-23 teams to participate. Men's teams are allowed to augment their squad with three players over the age of 23. 504 footballers are expected to compete for two sets of gold medals.
Along with events to find the best teams and the best all-around performers, gymnasts will be battling for gold on individual apparatus. Men compete on the floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar, while women compete on the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor.
Scores are given by a panel of judges, taking into account the degree of difficulty and the quality of the execution. Strength, flexibility and balance are keys to success in this breathtaking and hugely competitive sport.
Events for Artistic, Rhythmic and Trampoline will take place at the North Greenwich Arena from 28th July to 7th August.
Played on a court measuring 40 x 20 metres, the largest court of any indoor ball sport at the Games, Handball features two teams of seven players passing and dribbling a small ball with their hands. The aim is to throw the ball into the opposition’s goal, which happens often: it’s not uncommon to see 50 goals in a single 60-minute match.
Handball competitions will be held from 28 July to 12 August at the Handball Arena.
2 sets of medals will be awarded in the following events:
- Handball Men
- Handball Women
Teams of 11 players (plus five substitutes) compete against each other on a pitch measuring 91.4 metres by 55m. Players use hook-shaped sticks to advance a hard ball towards their opponents’ goal, which stands 3.66m wide and 2.14m high. Matches are played over two halves of 35 minutes each.
Field hockey will be held from July 29–August 11, in Olympic Hockey Centre, London. On November 13, 2010, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) decided to allocate twelve teams for each men and women events respectively.
Judo contests last five minutes, with scores awarded for different throws and holds. However, a contest ends immediately if a competitor is awarded ‘ippon’ – the maximum score. If the scores are tied after five minutes, the contest enters a golden score period, when the first score of any sort wins.
Modern Pentathlon competitions are conducted over a single day. The first element is fencing, for which athletes are required to fence against every other athlete. The fencing is then followed by swimming (200m freestyle) and riding (jumping over a 12-jump course). Athletes are given a score for each element of the competition.
After the first three elements, the athletes’ total scores are converted into a time handicap. The handicap determines the starting times for the combined run/shoot element, for which athletes are required to shoot at sets of five targets after running several stretches of 1,000m. The winner of the competition is the athlete who crosses the finish line first.
The 14 Olympic Rowing events range from the Single Sculls, featuring solo rowers, to the Eights, contested by teams of eight rowers plus a cox. All events are held over a 2,000m course, with the competition taking a total of eight days from 28th July to 4th August.
All Rowing events will begin with the heats, from which the best boats will qualify for the next round. Boats that do not qualify automatically from the heats get a second chance to qualify through the repechage round. The best boats eventually progress through the various stages and into the finals of each event, which decide the medallists.
The 10 different Olympic Sailing events (six for men, four for women) will feature a variety of craft, from dinghies and keelboats to windsurfing boards.
Each event consists of a series of races. Points in each race are awarded according to position: the winner gets one point, the second-placed finisher scores two, and so on. The final race is called the medal race, for which points are doubled. Following the medal race, the individual or crew with the fewest total points will be declared the winner.
Sailing was be held from 28 July to 11 August in Weymouth and Portland. Ten gold medals will be awarded and 380 athletes expected to take part. The sailing classes have two changes from the Beijing 2008 sailing events. The women's Match Race competition replaces the Yngling competition and the Tornado Class Catamaran competition has been dropped.
Olympic Shooting events fall broadly into three types: Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun events. In Pistol and Rifle events, competitors aim at a 10-ringed target from a set distance (10m, 25m or 50m).
Depending on the event, athletes are required to shoot from standing, kneeling or prone positions. In Shotgun events, meanwhile, competitors shoot at moving clay targets launched above and in front of them.
Fifteen events were included with 390 athletes expected to take part. The events will be the same as in 2008.
Swimming featured 34 different events (17 male, 17 female. Two of these were open-water swims of 10-kilometres in distance (10Ks); while the remaining 32 events will be contested in a 50m, long course pool.
Although it looks deceptively graceful from the pool side, Synchronised Swimming is an extremely demanding sport calling for great strength, amazing levels of endurance and exceptional flexibility. Swimmers use nose clips to help them stay underwater for longer, but the sport still requires tremendous breath control.
Aided by underwater speakers, pairs of swimmers or teams of eight perform short routines to a musical accompaniment. Judges mark a variety of components during the course of a routine, including choreography, difficulty and execution.
Table Tennis is based on the same basic principles as Tennis, but it has a very different scoring system. Singles matches are played over the best of seven games, with the first player to 11 points (by a margin of two clear points) winning each game. Team matches, meanwhile, consist of four singles matches and one doubles match, each played over the best of five games.
Both the Singles and Team events will be run in a knockout format. Players and teams will progress through the draw until the finals, which will decide the winners of the gold medals.
Taekwondo Competitions was held in eight weight categories; four for men, and four for women.
The object of Taekwondo is to land kicks and punches on your opponent’s scoring zones: one point is awarded for a valid kick or punch to the torso, two points for a valid spinning kick, and four points for a turning kick to the head.
The action takes place inside an 8m x 8m zone called a court, with each contest made up of three two-minute rounds. Over their standard white uniform, known as a ‘dobok’, competitors wear coloured protective equipment. The competitor wearing blue is referred to as ‘chung’, while the competitor in red is ‘hong’.
The eight Taekwondo events – four weight categories for men, four for women – will be played in a knockout format. The winners of each contest will qualify for the next round, with the two finalists going head to head in the gold medal contest. All competitors who lose to one of the finalists will enter the 'repechage', which will eventually determine the winners of the bronze medals.
The Tennis competitions were staged at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London, from 29 July to 5 August.
172 tennis players are expected to compete in five events; singles and doubles for both men and women and for the first time since 1924 mixed doubles will be officially included. The Olympic tennis event is run and organised by the IOC and the ITF, and will be part of the Association of Tennis Professionals and Women's Tennis Association’s tours.
Triathlon races combine swimming, cycling and running, in that order. Events are conducted over a variety of distances: for the Olympic Games, the men’s and women’s Triathlons will consist of a 1,500m swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run. There are no heats: both the men’s and women’s events consist of a single race.
Volleyball is played by two teams of six on an 18m x 9m indoor court divided by a net (2.43m high for men, 2.24m for women). The object of the game is to land the ball in the opposition’s half of the court.
Each team is allowed three touches of the ball before it must cross over the net. The key attacking move is the set and spike, in which a player feeds the ball (the set) for a teammate to power it into the opposition’s court (the spike). Volleyball requires amazing power and astonishing reactions: in the men’s game, the ball can reach speeds in excess of 130km/h.
Played by teams of seven in a pool with a goal at each end (the goals are 3m wide and 90cm high), Water Polo is a thrilling spectacle. Matches are divided into four periods of eight minutes, and each team has only 30 seconds to attempt to score before the ball is returned to the opposition. Players aren’t allowed to touch the sides or the bottom of the pool during play, and may swim as much as three miles during a match.
The water polo tournament was held at the Aquatics Centre from 28 July to 12 August. The venue will hold 5,000 spectators during water polo matches. Twelve teams will compete in men's tournament and eight teams in women's tournament.
In the men's tournament, Hungary will attempt to win a record-breaking fourth consecutive gold medal.
Competitors in Weightlifting are divided into 15 weight categories, eight for men and seven for women. The strongest competitors may lift more than three times their body weight.
Each event features two types of lift. In the snatch, the bar is lifted from the floor to above the head in one movement. By contrast, the clean and jerk is a two-stage action – the bar is first brought up to the shoulders before being jerked over the head.
Each lifter is allowed three attempts at the snatch and three attempts at the clean and jerk, and their best lift in each discipline counts towards their total. When a tie occurs, the athlete with the lower bodyweight is declared the winner. If two athletes lift the same total weight and have the same bodyweight, the winner is the athlete who lifted the total weight first.
Wrestling is a body-to-body combat sport. The aim is to force the back of the opponent’s shoulders on to the ground. Bouts take place on a mat, and can last for a maximum of three periods of two minutes, with a 30-second break in between. A contest can finish early if a wrestler wins the first two periods or pins his opponent.
There are two styles of Wrestling at the Games: Greco-Roman and Freestyle. Women compete only in the Freestyle event. In Freestyle, competitors can use all parts of their body to attempt moves and holds. In Greco-Roman, use of the legs to make contact and use of the arms below the waist of the opponent are forbidden.