Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

3 Olympic Sports You Can Easily Play In Your Free Time

Posted on September 14, 2021 by Istvan Liptak

The Summer Olympics ended a while ago, showing the world that, despite the global pandemic, sports still have the power to unite. Aside from the positive message about the power of sports in our lives, the Summer Olympics probably reminded some of us of the other positive effect of sports in our everyday lives: keeping us fitter and healthier in the long run.

Most people only get involved in sports as fans, idly watching them on TV as a distraction while eating snacks and drinking ungodly amounts of sugary drinks or alcohol. But there are sports, even Olympic sports, that don’t require extensive training and peak physical fitness to be performed – they can be played for fun in one’s free time at home.


Badminton has been around for ages – for more than a century in its current form. It has become an official sport in the 1930s, and an Olympic discipline at the 1992 edition of the games, and has been contested at the Summer Olympics ever since. China is the most successful badminton nation, with 20 Olympic gold medals and 12 silvers under its belt.

Badminton is not only a sport but also a fun thing to do. Anyone who can lift the otherwise lightweight racket can play it – there’s no need for a court or a net. It’s a surprisingly beneficial sport, helping to reduce health risks of all types, improving mobility, promoting heart health, and representing a total body workout with all the running and jumping it involves. Not to mention the fact that it’s a ton of fun to play – and can be a truly engaging social experience when played in a park or on the beach. Just make sure the weather is not overly windy.

Table tennis

Table tennis aka ping-pong will probably make you smile the moment you hear its name. It is a game that’s easy to learn but hard to master, and it involves a surprising amount of running around, which makes it a perfect choice for cardio. Besides, it’s incredibly distracting.

Table tennis was a parlour game among the Victorian upper class in the late 19th century before it became a bona fide sport. The sport’s first official governing body – and rulebook – was created in 1910, and the sport became an Olympic discipline in 1988. Again, Chinese players are the most successful at ping-pong to this day, with 32 Olympic gold and 20 silver medals under their belt.

Beach volleyball

Finally, here’s a game that’s routinely played on – as its name suggests – beaches that’s also a true Olympic event: Beach volleyball. Invented (where else) in Hawaii in the mid-1910s, and it instantly conquered the hearts of the sunbathers. While it was insanely popular, and a frequent subject to competitions – many of them on beaches, of course – the sport was not codified until the 1970s, when the first professional players and associations emerged.

Beach volleyball has been played at the Olympics as a demonstration event in 1992 and then as an official Olympic discipline since 1996. The United States is the most successful beach volleyball nation with 7 Olympic gold medals won over the years.

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