The Olympic Games. The so-called ‘Greatest Show On Earth’.

Every four years, participants from countries across the globe come together for two and a half weeks of competition, with the best of the best in an assortment of sports pitting themselves against one another for the chance to have a gold medal placed around their necks.

The 2012 games, hosted in London, featured 302 events in 26 sports, incorporating the likes of athletics, swimming, cycling and rowing alongside more questionable inclusions such as dressage, rhythmic gymnastics, synchronised swimming and race walking.

A popular argument amongst sports fans is why if the likes of the latter four are deemed worthy of inclusion in the games, other sports are not. It is a head-scratching question, and one that only the authorities at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) can answer.

Until 1992, each Olympic city had the option of including additional sports in its Olympic programme along with the ones mandated by the IOC. This usually meant that a selection (normally 2-3) of new sports, typically those with significant levels of popularity in the host country, were contested and exposed to the world.

Many of these demonstration sports would later become Olympic events in their own right, such as tennis, handball, badminton and judo, but the decision following the 1992 games in Barcelona to suspend the concept means that any new additions are now the sole responsibility of the IOC, who seem disinclined to expand the games further, having added only taekwondo and the triathlon to the programme since then, though golf and rugby sevens will make their debuts at the 2016 games in Rio De Janeiro.

This leaves several sports in the wilderness, limiting their global exposure and neglecting to give their professionals the opportunity to compete for the greatest prize of all. Eleven such sports and disciplines are listed here, the inclusion of which would make the Olympics a bigger and better event, furthering both their popularity and their status as the greatest multi-sport competition on the planet.

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This article was first posted on January 13, 2013