Typically, when people think of sports, they think of the most popular sports around them or the ones they grew up playing. In the United States, the dominant sports are usually football, basketball, and the so-called All American sport, baseball. However, there are many sports that showcase the talent and skill of only one athlete at a time and so cannot be included into the category of team sports. Individual sports have gained tremendous popularity in recent years particularly because of technological advances that permit the immense global coverage of the Olympics. However, not all individual sports are featured in the Olympics and not all Olympic sports are individual sports.
Individual sports have been in existence much longer than team sports. The Olympics, in their antique beginnings, showcased the athleticism of the individual in varying feats and exercises of skill, speed, strength, and agility, much like they do today, but without as many team sports. Here are a few examples of individual sports that are ever-increasingly popular in the United States and around the world:
One popular individual sport is that of archery, it is an individual sport that showcases the mental focus and skill of the individual archer. Though the practice of shooting an arrow with a bent bow goes back to at least 9,000 BC, archery is a thriving sport today that celebrates the impeccable precision of its participants and is just as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one.
Another popular individual sport is that of bodybuilding. Competitive bodybuilders are essentially in competition year round honing their physiques and pushing their bodies to the far limits that their genetics will allow. Competitive bodybuilding has seen an explosion of popularity because of the celebrity status that has been achieved by some of the sport’s most elite members. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the most obvious example of this phenomenon, as he has starred in many featured films and then went on to become Governor of California. Bodybuilding will continue to thrive particularly because of the immense industry that has sprung up around its popularity.
Snowboarding has witnessed a surge of popularity in only a few short years since its initial inception. Snowboarding became a huge hit with fans of snow skiing, skateboarding, and surfing to become the large sport that it is today. All three sports had much in common with snowboarding and so with their popularity, snowboarding flourished. Today, there are snowboarding competitions around the world and like the sport of bodybuilding; many snowboarders are enjoying a celebrity status both with fans of the sport and with the pop culture phenomenon that it has become.
In essence, many people like sports but for one reason or another prefer to go it alone, rather than be part of a team. Being part of a team is continually driven into us that we sometimes may forget that challenging yourself is the biggest challenge of all.