Favourite Olympic sports

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
July 27, 2012, 4:22 PM UTC

Athletics, swimming interested Britons top events; squash favourite to be added to programme

Our poll has found that athletics, swimming and track cycling are Britons' favourite Olympic sports, as the opening of the London Games draws closer, among those who say they're interested in the Games.

When it comes to the events respondents themselves would most like to compete in, however, football comes third to the favourites, swimming and athletics.

And when we asked which sports Britons interested in the Games would most like to see added to the Olympic summer programme, squash, netball and rugby sevens made the cut, coming in as first, second and third choice respectively.

  • Athletics (72%), swimming (46%), track cycling (30%), diving (26%) and rowing (25%) were Britons' top five favourite Olympic sports, taking everything into account, and asking only respondents who said they were interested in the Games
  • Somewhat conversely, athletics (21%), swimming (6%), football (7%), tennis (6%) and shooting (4%) were interested Britons' top chosen sports, if they were able to compete in an Olympic event
  • When we asked interested Britons which sports they'd like to see added to the summer Olympic programme, the most popular sport was squash (32%), followed by netball (30%), rugby sevens (23%), karate (22%) and bowling (16%), while golf (12%), water-skiing (12%), polo (10%) and snooker (10%) also garnered respectable percentages (as did the tug-of-war, on 8%).

After years of preparation, speculation, excitement, amid the odd organisational crises and British grumble, The Olympic Games will open officially in London's Stratford Park this Friday.

The Olympic village will house 17,000 athletes and officials, who will stay as they compete in the many events at several different venues around London and further afield in Britain. Currently, there are thirty-six event types at the Games, including four different kinds of cycling and two of gymnastics.

However, the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Games are already on the horizon for some, as they will reportedly see two new sports admitted to the programme – with the choice not yet confirmed from a shortlist including baseball, roller sports, softball, squash and karate.

This article is part of a series in the run up to the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony highlighting YouGov's research on what Britain thinks about London 2012

See the survey details and full results here

See the full Press Release on our most recent Olympics research here