What's the easiest sport to win a gold in? (2023)

Sport

What's the easiest sport to win a gold in?

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What's the easiest sport to win a gold in? (1)

You may have been inspired to dust off the trainers thanks to the athletic exploits in Rio. But if you want to emulate their podium poses, what’s the best sport to try?

I

It’s the photo to sum up the Olympics. As the world’s fastest man jets towards the 100-metre mark, he flashes a smile at the camera as if to say “come on guys, this is easy”. At that moment, Usain Bolt is sprinting faster than a racehorse – so fast, he’s reduced to a Cheshire cat grin amid a blur of legs.

Even while executing the most extraordinarily specific skills, most Olympians make going for gold look relatively painless. At some point over the last couple of weeks you’ve probably found yourself sipping beer, elbow deep in popcorn, shouting “I could do that” at the television.

In fact, now most of the medals have been awarded, you’re thinking of taking up a sport. Who knows, perhaps you’ll rock up at the Olympics in 2020 in Tokyo.

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The thing is, almost everyone has done at least some sprinting – even if it was just a bid to catch the bus. It seems likely you would have noticed if you were a natural. Bolt is the world’s fastest man fair and square.

Even accounting for age – most Olympicathletesare between 20 and 35yearsold – and gender, the chances of winning gold in the 100 metres are one in nearly 900 million. In any given year, you’re more than 11 times more likely to be crushed by ameteor.

The prospects for numerous other sports are just as intimidating. Forfootball, it’s 2,390 times more likely you’ll fall victim to flesh-eatingbacteria– or, if you’re a woman, twice as likely you’ll give birth to identicalquadruplets. As forgolf– well you’re around 18,000 times more likely to be selected as a Nasaastronaut.

To achieve Olympic glory the easy way, you’re going to need to get really good at something really niche

What if there was another way?

As it turns out, with steely determination, strategy and a sprinkling of statistics – you might be able to reduce your chances to one in a couple of hundred. Here’s how.

First, let’s state the obvious. Identifying your advantages early could make your life a lot easier. If you weigh around 55kg (121lbs), you might want to consider coxing a rowing team. If you’re rich – sailing might be the sport for you. If you happen to live next to rapids – why not let canoe slalom take you to Tokyo?

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Dressage is one such sport. For those who haven’t seen it, “horse dancing” involves elegantly dressed riders attempting to coax a half-ton animal to pirouette with the grace of a ballerina. It’s not for the faint of heart – or the slim of wallet.

What's the easiest sport to win a gold in? (3)

Roughly 200 horses were flown to Rio for the Olympics (Credit: Getty Images)

For a start, you’ll need a horse. Only five or six out of every thousand are good enough to compete at Olympic level. And since you’ll be riding it at least six days a week, you’ll probably have to buy one. That will set you back about $100,000. You’ll also need your own finery: a silk tie, gloves, custom boots, a top hat, britches, the list goes on. According to ajournalistwho worked it out last year, the uniform alone could set you back $12,000.

Finally, behind every Olympian is an instructor. “You need a coach who has been competing and training at the level you aspire to achieve,” says Allison Brock, who won bronze in the team dressage at Rio. Considering the majority of countries have never even qualified to enter – let alone won – Olympic dressage, this could be a challenge. If you have all these things, you’re in with a fighting chance. If you live somewhere too hot, humid or populated to be comfortable for horses, you can forget it.

Next you need to know how many other people you’re competing against. To achieve Olympic glory the easy way, you’re going to need to get really good at something really niche. The medals look the same, after all. But statistics on less popular sports are hard to find.

Take the hammer throw. If you’ve never heard of it, well – we’re off to a promising start. The “hammer” is a length of wire with a steel ball on one end and a handle on the other. The event involves swinging the hammer – which weighs about as much as a large domestic cat – overhead a few times and releasing it to soar through the air. Olympian athletes can throw the hammer more than 75 metres – nearly 250 feet.

What's the easiest sport to win a gold in? (4)

The hammer throw was so-named after Henry VIII was drawn throwing a blacksmith’s hammer (Credit: Getty Images)

The hammer has a remarkably long history. Legend has it that the Celtic hero Cu Chulainn invented it when he picked up a chariot by its axle, whirled it around his head and threw it further than any mortal could. Back in the Middle Ages, it was extremely popular.

Today it’s practised only by a handful of schools and its most dedicated fans. “The idea of a ball moving with such great velocity can be scary to administrators that don't understand the event,” says Matt Ellis, a throwing coach based in Cranston, New England.

Add to that the need for specialist equipment – hammers, safety cages, gloves, shoes and plenty of space – and you have a very small pool of competitors indeed. Then there’s the small problem of finding a coach. ““I have heard stories of parents driving their athletes two-to-three hours once a week to a coach to learn hammer. They literally spend more time in the car driving than they do actually practising the event,” says Ellis.

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What we need is a sport so obscure it’s disguised as an everyday activity

Ellis estimates that between 15,000 and 25,000 people regularly practise the event. If it’s as popular everywhere else in the world – though it probably isn’t – that puts you up against roughly 400,000 people.

So the odds are better than football, but not exactly a guarantee your hard work will pay off. Another option is handball. The sport benefits from no television coverage, no scholarships and very little awareness. “We get $0 from the Olympic Committee for High Performance and $0 from the US government,” says Mike Cavanagh, the CEO of the US handball team.

It has the added advantage of seven-player teams (seven times more chances). In all, Cavanagh reckons there are around 10,000 players in the US – including schools. Extrapolating this figure on a global scale and accounting for team size would put your chances of winning gold at one in just over 16,000. Not quite there yet.

What we need is a sport so obscure it’s disguised as an everyday activity. What we need is race-walking. The sport dates back to 16th Century England, when noblemen would bet large sums on races arranged between their footmen. By the 1870s, it was the most popular spectator sport in the US and Britain. Before basketball, football or tennis, watching people walk was a source of affordable entertainment.

There was just one rule: at least one foot had to be in contact with the ground at all times. Judges stationed around the track would watch the competitors to make sure they were always walking, never running. Races typically lasted several days.

You don’t really see many people race-walking through the park on a Sunday afternoon – Matthew Algeo, author

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“Part of the appeal was watching the competitors slowly break down over the course of a race. It was kind of sadistic, really!” says Matthew Algeo, who wrote a book about the phenomenon. He compares it to watching Formula 1 at five miles per hour – everybody was waiting for a crash.

“A play or a musical performance probably cost about a dollar to attend. A pedestrian match, however, only costs 25 cents, and since it was competed around the clock, workers on any shift could pop in to watch,” says Algeo. The death knell was the invention of the bicycle: “The crashes were more spectacular!”

What's the easiest sport to win a gold in? (6)

In the 19th century, crowds would gather to watch athleteswalk in circles for up to six days at a time (Credit: Getty Images)

Today the sport is much the same – except competitions are over 20 kilometres (men and women) or 50 kilometres (for men only) instead of hundreds. It also doesn’t really look like walking. To walk faster than most people can run while remaining in constant contact with the ground, athletes have learnt to rotate their hips 20 degrees – rather than four.

So how many people are you up against? “Well, you don’t really see many people race-walking through the park on a Sunday afternoon,” says Algeo. It’s impossible to say exactly, but he thinks it’s easily the least-popular event in track and field.

So there you have it. It might not come with the thrill of the 100-metre dash or the glamour of gymnastics – but it’s your best bet for Olympic glory in 2020. Winning gold will be a walk in the park.

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FAQs

What sport is easiest to win a gold medal? ›

Fox Sports came up with a list of the easiest (and hardest) Olympic gold medals to win if “you started training today.” The likes of archery/shooting, sailing and rhythmic gymnastics were ranked as the easiest events to win a gold medal, while golf, track and swimming were rated as the most difficult sports to medal in ...

Which is the easiest game to win in Olympics? ›

1 The Easiest Sport of All

Being the fifth man in a four-man Olympic horseshoes team is, at present, the easiest possible route to an Olympic medal.

What sport is easiest to get in the Olympics? ›

The easiest Olympic sports to qualify for, include archery and shooting. Neither require great physical conditioning and rely on a person's natural talent and practice to excel. Furthermore, equipment costs are low and there is not a large pool of people to compete against for Olympic places.

What is the easiest sport in the world? ›

Here's a list of easy sports that can be picked up easily without material time or money investment:
  • Badminton. Hands down, one of the easiest and most rewarding sport to learn is Badminton. ...
  • Swimming. Swimming is a sport that can be learned at any age. ...
  • Cycling. ...
  • Table Tennis. ...
  • Volleyball.

What sport takes the most luck? ›

According to Vox, ice hockey is the closest to randomness. Michael Mauboussin, who is the author of the book called The Success Equation, found out how skills correlate with the results of the regular season of top sports in the USA.

What is the quickest sport to play? ›

Hockey has the fastest tempo in team sports. Endurance, agility, and speed (up to 32 km/h (20 mph)!) is the definition of this sport. And the pucks can reach speeds at 160km/h (100mph). Great for people who don't like a lot downtime ie: American football, or baseball.

What are the top 5 hardest Olympic sports? ›

Top 10 Hardest Olympic Sports
  1. 1 Gymnastics Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of exercises requiring strength, flexibility, balance and control. ...
  2. 2 Swimming Swimming is an individual or team sport and activity. ...
  3. 3 Track and Field. ...
  4. 4 Cycling.

Which Olympic sport has least competition? ›

With only 50 participants, skeleton has the fewest athletes at the Olympics.

What is the top 10 hardest sport? ›

Top 10 hardest sports in order
  • Martial Arts.
  • Ice Hockey. ...
  • Gymnastics. ...
  • Basketball. ...
  • Soccer. ...
  • Wrestling. ...
  • Rugby. ...
  • Water Polo. A group of young men playing water polo in an indoor pool. ...
21 Jun 2022

What sport is the hardest to get into? ›

The 5 Hardest Sports to Make it to the Pros In (Statistically)
  • Ice Hockey. If you enjoy the majesty of gliding over the ice and the thrill of smashing into other adults, you might want to pursue a career in hockey. ...
  • Baseball. ...
  • Soccer. ...
  • Basketball.

What Olympic sport takes the most skill? ›

Top Ranked Skill Sports
RankingSportRating
1Tenpin Bowling87.4
2Swimming (200m Free)86.9
3Weightlifting86.2
4Water Polo85.8
6 more rows

What is the 1st hardest sport? ›

Degree of Difficulty: Sport Rankings
SPORTENDRANK
Boxing8.631
Ice Hockey7.252
Football5.383
33 more rows

Which sport is No 1 in world? ›

Football/Soccer

The sport has roughly 3.5 billion fans worldwide and 250 million players across 200 countries around the world. The next most popular sports in the world are cricket (2.5 billion fans), basketball (2.2 billion fans), and field hockey (2 billion).

What sport is best to bet on? ›

You never know what could end up at the top of your list for best sports to bet on.
...
With that in mind, here is our top ten list of the best sports to bet on.
  1. Football. ...
  2. Horse Racing. ...
  3. Tennis. ...
  4. Cricket. ...
  5. Rugby. ...
  6. Boxing. ...
  7. MMA/UFC. ...
  8. Esports.

Which bet is easiest to win? ›

What are the easiest bets to win?
  • BTTS: BTTS bet demands the punters to predict if both teams will score a goal or not. ...
  • Over/Under: This bet can work in your favor when you have chosen a smaller figure as reference. ...
  • Double chance bet: In this bet, you win money when any two from the three outcomes are obtained.

What is the best way to bet on sports? ›

Six tips for becoming a sharper sports bettor
  1. 1Know your bet's break-even rate.
  2. 2Shop around for the best price.
  3. 3Know the value of a half-point, especially in NFL betting.
  4. 4Avoid parlays, especially single-game parlays.
  5. 5Place your bets early in the week, not at the last minute.
  6. 6Focus on closing line value.
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What sport is the most successful? ›

Football (Soccer) – Over 3.5 Billion Fans

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, with over 3.5 billion fans around the globe. Known as football in many parts of the world, this exciting sport has gained a huge following due to its thrilling gameplay and fast-paced action.

What sport has the happiest athletes? ›

Golf fans are the happiest of any sports fans, according to one new study.

What sport moves the most money? ›

Top 10 Largest Sports Leagues by Revenue in the World 2020
RankSports LeagueRevenue (USD billions)
1NFL16
2MLB10.7
3NBA8.8
4EPL7.3
6 more rows
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What is the 2nd fastest sport? ›

Next on our list of the fastest field sports in the world is tennis. The sport has has a recorded a high speed of 263 km per hour (164 miles per hour).

What sport requires the least amount of skill? ›

What sport requires the least amount of skill? Running only needs stamina and no skills whatsoever. Anyone can run as fast as possible.

Who are the fittest athletes? ›

LeBron James, Cristiano Ronaldo, Usain Bolt Top SI's Fittest Athletes List
Sports Illustrated's 50 Fittest Athletes in Sports
RankAthleteSport
1LeBron JamesBasketball
2Cristiano RonaldoSoccer
3Usain BoltTrack
8 more rows

What is the most mental sport? ›

Gymnastics

Gymnastics is one of the most physical and most mentally challenging sports in the world. Many people don't realise the amount of strength that it takes to tumble, twist, and vault and also many people don't realise the constant pressure of competing against yourself.

What is the safest Olympic sport? ›

What're the Safest Olympics Sports? Your top 5 sports to get you to and from the Olympics are Sailing, Canoeing/Kayaking, Rowing, Synchronised Swimming and Diving for the risk-averse.

What is the least loved sport? ›

11 Least Popular Sports in the World
  1. 1 | Kabbadi. Kabbadi is the national sport of Bangladesh and, from what I can tell, it's a mix of rugby without a ball and red rover.
  2. 2 | Motocross/motorcycle racing. ...
  3. 3 | Fencing. ...
  4. 4 | Polo. ...
  5. 5 | Archery. ...
  6. 6 | Sailing. ...
  7. 7 | Canadian football. ...
  8. 8 | Weightlifting. ...
19 Mar 2018

What is the hardest sport for girls? ›

1 Gymnastics Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of exercises requiring strength, flexibility, balance and control. To be honest, gymnastics is the hardest sport.

What is America's biggest sport? ›

Sports are an important part of culture in the United States. Historically, the national sport has been baseball. However, in more recent decades, American football has been the most popular sport in terms of broadcast viewership audience.

What is the most popular sport 2022? ›

1. Soccer. Soccer is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries, making it the world's most popular sport.

What is the cheapest sport to learn? ›

Here are just a few.
  1. Skateboarding. While the popularity of skateboarding has waxed and waned since it was invented in the 1950s, it was recently named an Olympic sport. ...
  2. Frisbee/disc golf. Frisbee golf can be played with two to many players. ...
  3. Badminton. ...
  4. Soccer. ...
  5. Dance. ...
  6. Basketball. ...
  7. Hiking. ...
  8. Swimming.
16 Jun 2021

Which sport do you win by scoring the lowest? ›

Get the Book!

Golf is unique: it's the only sport in which the Lowest Score Wins. Golfers have been inundated for years with advice and sayings intended to help them shoot lower scores, like “spend 50% of your time practicing your putting” or “you've got to be in the short grass.”

What sport is the hardest to win? ›

Degree of Difficulty: Sport Rankings
SPORTENDRANK
Boxing8.631
Ice Hockey7.252
Football5.383
33 more rows

What is the hardest sport to become pro? ›

The 5 Hardest Sports to Make it to the Pros In (Statistically)
  • Ice Hockey. If you enjoy the majesty of gliding over the ice and the thrill of smashing into other adults, you might want to pursue a career in hockey. ...
  • Baseball. ...
  • Soccer. ...
  • Basketball.

What is the hardest sport to win in the Olympics? ›

Top 10 Hardest Olympic Sports
  1. 1 Gymnastics Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of exercises requiring strength, flexibility, balance and control. ...
  2. 2 Swimming Swimming is an individual or team sport and activity. ...
  3. 3 Track and Field. ...
  4. 4 Cycling.

What is the lowest playing sport? ›

Unicycle Hockey, Chess Boxing, Indoor Kabaddi least popular sports among the fans around the world.

What sport can you score the most points? ›

In some sports there is a perfect score that is the highest attainable, such as a 6.0 or 10.0.
...
Scoring by sport.
SportTypeScore system
Athletics
Australian rules footballTeamPoints (goals, behinds)
BasketballTeamPoints
BocceTeamPoints
46 more rows

Does the losing score go first? ›

It is also common to say the score in the order that matches the order you said the teams. So you might say "The Giants and the Bears, 14 to 7," meaning that the Giants had 14 points and the Bears had 7. In this case, the winning team is usually mentioned first. This just makes it a little more clear.

What is the top 5 hardest sport? ›

Top 10 hardest sports in order
  • Martial Arts.
  • Ice Hockey. ...
  • Gymnastics. ...
  • Basketball. ...
  • Soccer. ...
  • Wrestling. ...
  • Rugby. ...
  • Water Polo. A group of young men playing water polo in an indoor pool. ...
21 Jun 2022

Which is the No 1 sports game in the world? ›

Football/Soccer

While it may not be apparent in the United States, association football—also known as soccer—is the most popular sport in the world by a vast margin. Soccer is king in virtually all of Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East, Central America, and Asia.

What sport has best athletes? ›

Now that we have the definition, let's look at a few sports that stand out as sports with the best athletes.
  • #1 Basketball. First up on our list is basketball. ...
  • #3 Football Wide Reciever. Next up on our list is football wide receiver. ...
  • #5 Tennis. ...
  • # 7 Rugby. ...
  • #9 Boxing. ...
  • Gymnasts.
21 Jul 2022

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