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Most Difficult Sports: The world of sports has a huge variety, and each sport is special in its own way. They have their own thrill, and require some definite skills sets which are different in case of other sports. While the players are on the field, they are at such ease with their gameplay that we hardly ever understand the level of difficulty. In every sport, there are more difficulties that what meets the eyes. Be it in the process of selection or the performance, it is mandatory for players to present skills and capabilities of the mind and the body.

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Bonus: 10 Peculiar Olympic Games That Were Discontinued For Good

In some sports, key skills required are athleticism, speed and agility, while some sports, what matters is keeping the mind in the game. Some sports require players to be slow, steady and patient. In many sports, cardiovascular measures of the athletes play a vital role, while in others, knowing the complex rules of the game and using the rules in one’s favour is what is important. Be it the physical demands or mental strength, the overall durability demanded of a player increases the difficulty level of a game. So, let us look at the 10 Most Difficult Sports in the World.

incoming searching terms: hardest sports to play, Which sport uses the most muscles in the body, What is the most physically demanding sport in the world, Most Demanding Sports. worlds hardest game, hardest game ever

Top 10 Most Difficult Sports in the World

#10 – Cross Country Running

Top 10 Most Difficult Sports in the World
Top 10 Most Difficult Sports in the World

Cross Country Running is a type of sport where individuals or teams run a race on open-air courses generally 4 – 12 kilometers long over natural terrain. The event is typically organized during autumn and winter but in some scenarios it may be organized in a wide range of temperatures to create maximum difficulty. Cross Country Running was started in the 19th century in England where the schools started participating in cross country races as early as in 1837. The first recorded national cross country championship was held on Wimbledon Common in south-west London on 7th December, 1867. The first international cross country race was organized on 28th March, 1903, at the Hamilton Park Racecourse in Scotland. The IAAF World Cross Country Championships is the elite competition of the modern days cross country race since it was established in 1973.

#9 – Freestyle Wrestling

Top 10 Most Difficult Sports in the World
Top 10 Most Difficult Sports in the World

Freestyle wrestling is a form of amateur wrestling that is practiced by many wrestling fanatics all over the world. It is one of two styles of wrestling besides the Greco-Roman Wrestling that is contested in the Olympic Games. The ultimate goal of these sports is to pin down the opponent to the mat which results in the victory. Freestyle wrestling is one of the four main styles of global wrestling according to the international governing body for the sport, United World Wrestling. The modern variant of freestyle wrestling is believed to be originated as the “catch-as-catch-can” wrestling in the United States and Great Britain. Interestingly, “catch-as-catch-can” wrestling was performed by several U.S. presidents such as Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and many more.

#8 – Horseback Riding

Top 10 Most Difficult Sports in the World
Top 10 Most Difficult Sports in the World

Horseback Riding or the Equestrianism involves steeple chasing or vaulting with horses and riding horses. The horses are trained to perform a set of skills on the course or to achieve great speed and the co-ordination between the horse and the jockey or the horse rider has a great impact on the event. Many historian claims that trained horses were first ridden in approximately 4500 BC, where numerous other historians doubted that horses were ridden long before this claim. Thoroughbred horse racing or flat racing is the most popular form of these sports and is governed by the Royal Charter Jockey Club in the UK and the Jockey Club in the USA. Steeplechasing or National Hunt racing is also a popular variant of the sport where the horses jump over obstacles while racing on a track. The international governing body of Horseback Riding is the International Federation for Equestrian Sports.

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A huge sports buff. He always had a keen interest in the world of media, which eventually led him to join the advertising industry. However, he still wanted something else, something more. He wanted to fuse his love for sports, experience in media and desire for independent work environment
  • Helmholtz

    Define “difficult” precisely before giving the list! As a wrestler and martial artist, I can think of many sports that are just as difficult or more difficult than free style wrestling: Judo, Jujitsu, MMA, Boxing, Kick Boxing, etc…

  • metalhead83

    I totally agree with you on that. Many people don’t understand that wrestling or any other combat sport not only requires physical, but also mental capabilities. It takes so much conditioning and pushing your body’s limit to overcome your opponent who knows the exact same moves, how to defend those attacks, and also train as hard as you do.

    • Norbs

      I agree. Most people don’t realize how difficult it is to take a strike to the head and body or get slammed. It takes everything you got to be a fighter/martial artist. It’s not just balance, cardio, technic and power. It’s all of it plus a strong mind to tolerate the incoming pain and courage to take the hits.

    • Gymnastics_lover

      I agree that gymnastics is the hardest sport it takes focus balence timing and commitment.

      Thanks for giving gymnastics and gymnasts the respect they deserve

  • Waterpolo4dayz

    waterpolo should be #1

    • jlarsen04

      i agree. water polo is definitely harder than whats been said about it. it should be number 1. and to be honest wheres rugby? i mean come on. and i dont know how reliable this is if swimming is #2. just putting that out there….also, these guys know where its at:

      http://bleacherreport.com/articles/832927-what-is-the-worlds-toughest-sport

      • carlos

        obv, you don’t know you jack shit about swimming.

        • Mps

          Well I’d Say Water Polo is the hardest. But Skating should be closer with gymnastics.

          • Jcjace

            Having been both a gymnast and swimmer and figure skater I think this list is very actuate actually

      • nick

        swimming is the hardest, you wouldn’t know unless you’ve actually done it

        • sara davis

          you cant say that unless you have been a gymnast

      • Iris

        I guess you’ve never tried gymnastics? Gymnastics is way harder than waterpolo✋ waterpolo is just a sort of basketball in water, you know nothing about gymnastics, if gymnastics was easy it would be called waterpolo ✋✋✋

        • jlarsen04

          so if gymnastics is hard….thats why they use mats? for safety? the only thing we use is a cap. and really thats just a tool to drown someone, when you know how to do it right. what makes you think you know water polo? mix championship basketball with all star wrestling. in 8 feet of water. then throw a ball bigger than your head in there. oh but remember, only one hand.

          • ewewew

            you think we land on on a stone floor? are you asehole if we do that we break everything we use 1 mat more not

          • gymnastics_101

            Wow ur dumb! If we didn’t have mats when we land we would snap our ankles u idiot. And for floor we don’t even land on mats, like come on bro try do a couple of flips on a 4 inch wide beam. God u people make me laugh cuz u know nothing about the sport called gymnastics. ESPN has even proven and declared gymnastics to be the hardest sport, so I doubt that u, a water polo player is smarter than a scientist.

          • Lashyn Ahmad

            Actually ESPN said that boxing is the hardest sport. Make sure that what you say is correct before saying it.

      • Kathrine

        Swimming is vert hard, and you can’t Say that ifra you dont havet try it! I go om swimming so!

      • Nick

        I swam year round and I played basketball/football in high school. I used to go to my morning swim practice then right to two-a-days for football and I could run circles around the football players. Swimming requires every muscle you have, it gives you endurance that you wouldn’t believe if you stick with it. Rugby is hard don’t get me wrong, but it’s not anywhere close to swimming.

        • jlarsen04

          im in the pool year round. whether its water polo or swimming, or both at the same time, during off seasons, im there. and keeping me strong is the number one reason i even do swimming. because the counter-attacking of a water polo team can be a swim meet in itself with fast paced teams.

      • babu

        yeah..if you don’t think swimming is hard, you’ve obviously never done it.

      • motofinatic16

        Well first off. How many of you have ever raced a dirt bike competitively. Until you have you can not tell me that swimming or rowing are harder or require more physical demand. Secondly, swimming is not that hard. Granted there is a lot of preparation and skill required. At the same time you are literally using your arms and legs to move for maybe 30 seconds. Try a full speed pro motocross where you go 30 minutes plus 2 laps.

        • Shelby

          Maybe 30 seconds. So you’re saying it takes maybe 30 seconds to swim a 200 fly, 400 IM, or the mile. Wow. Riding a dirt bike is so hard that it takes 30 minutes,an average swim practice is 2 1/2 hours. Now is motocross that hard?

      • gymnastics_101

        Lmao ur so stupid, are u retarded? I have played water polo for 2 and a half years, done rugby and football for 1 and gymnastics for 7 and a half years, gymnastics beats all of them by far. ESPN has scientifically proven and declared gymnastics to be the hardest sport. So by saying fricking water polo is harder than gym is just a joke, ur basically saying ur right and scientists are wrong. Watch a couple gymnastics training montages like “gymnastics glory and gore” or “elite gymnastics training dedication” on YouTube then u can debate ur opinion cuz u clearly know nothing about gymnastics, we don’t just need to be flexible, we need to have insane amount of strength (when or bars we need to lift 9× our body weight and do it with flawless technique) amazing technique, inhuman skills and so much more I won’t go in detail. Try leaping, jumping and flipping both forwards and backwards (plus loads more skills) ON A 4 INCH WIDE BEAM! Or run full speed towards a solid chest high object called a vault, then vault over it, flip in the air and land it flawlessly. Or on bars we need to do insane skills while our hands are being rubbed RAW and skin is peeling off in CHUNKS and BLEEDING hard. We need loads of strength for bars, like I said when we do giants for example we need to swing and lift 9× our body weight. And on floor we need to do so many insane skills. A big part of floor is the tumbling (flipping) that too involves (like basically everything is gymnastics) loads of strength. Try running full speed then start powerfully tumbling across the floor then launch you self into the air and pull a insanely hard skill, like a really hard type of flip and land it perfectly. And the conditioning we do is insane. I won’t go into detail but I can guarantee you it is intense. There is 8 girls on our team and by the end of it at least 3 girls are crying and 2 have puked because of the intense pain and exhaustion. Like no offence I know water polo is though cuz I did used to do it but doing flips on a beam I believe is kinda harder than scoring a goal. Plus we need to do everything with amazingly flawless technique unlike parkour runners. We do 2 hours of conditioning everyday 6-7 days a week and train 6-10+ hours everyday. Its though! Seriously next time don’t start typing nonsense when u don’t even know anything about gymnastics. Look up these montages on YouTube and once u have watched them all u can debate that something is harder than gymnastics, they are called:gymnastics glory and gore, elite gymnastics training dedication, gymnastics why do we fall, gymnastics run boy run, gymnastics remember the name. Once u have watched them all u can argue with me. Gymnastics is blood, sweat, tears, pain, dedication, perfection, exhaustion, bravery, fear, love and passion. GYMNASTICS IS THE HARDEST SPORT!!! Now stop scrolling and watch the montages. ~ level 10 female competitive gymnast.

    • aiuwefnh;aoiuwfhviwun;e

      Have you tried gymnastics

  • hannah123

    You should add synchronized swimming to this. Combine swimming water polo and gymnastics and you’ve one of the most difficult sports. And they make it look easy!

  • Coach Burns

    Freestyle is NOT referred to as collegiate wrestling. They are entirely different forms of wrestling subject to different rules and scoring systems.

  • Tory Kulesza

    I can definitely vouch for horseback riding, but how is fencing not on here?
    Not only is there endless footwork that can really take a toll on your lower body, uniting bladework and timing along with it is EXTREEEEEEEEEMELY difficult! Harvard named it their #2 extracurricular they look for in applications for a reason! (#1 was playing the oboe)

    • Motokp

      I see the other sports are spelled correctly, but what the heck is Motor cross. The ignorance of this sport and its continual miss spelling and pronunciation is high. I’m glad it made the list, but do your homework people before you publish this stuff.

  • Anymous

    Horseback riding and motocross are barley sports. Your letting someone else do most of the work.

    • Andrew

      Most people think motocross isn’t that physically demanding and “the bike does all the work.” The truth is its extremely physically demanding and I can say that because I actually race motocross. Its anaerobic and hard on your body. I wear a heart rate monitor when I ride and my average heart rate is usually around 196 with a max of 206. At an amateur level I maintain this heart rate for 15 min straight, professionals usually go for about 30 min. I train and go to the gym religiously and my heart rate still runs that high. You have to be strong too. The bikes weigh 230lbs and it takes a lot of strength to control them on a motocross track. Here is the link to a video that shows how tough motocross really is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmiAavoWngk

    • Argentinus

      try to ride a horse… you will see

  • jojfavyv

    Please check your basic grammar before posting something.

  • booo

    This is a poor list. Motocross, horseback riding, and bull riding are rather poor additions to a list of top ten most difficult sports in the world. The writer showed obvious bias in her writing and an extreme lack of knowledge of the sports that have been deemed world’s most difficult sports. It is really important to define “difficult” because each sport has many different aspects, as other comments have pointed out.

  • itsme

    What the fuck is cross country running doing here?

    • Erin

      You try running an 8k in 25 minutes.

  • pastseven

    If Wushu/kung fu counts as “gymnastics”, then I agree …

  • qwertY

    Horseback riding??????? Really????? Sorry a sport where a lot of money is necessary to participate will not have the best talent possible therefore it cannot be as competitive.

    • 2pointstudios

      horseback riding is extremely hard and competitive thank you. and it’s not just “riding” there is dressage, showjumping, eventing, cross country, barrel racing, reining, polo, vaulting, and more.

  • Matt

    These may be the most physically demanding sports. But anyone could train for 3 years and then go run a cross country event. Let someone spend 3 years on a skateboard. Some people would get really good, but some people still would not be able to do most basic tricks.

  • Kathryn

    Totally missed the mark on this! But this is Facebook so we know how reliable that is….

  • PlayARealSport

    This article was written to make those who don’t play a real sport(football, baseball, golf, etc.) feel better about themselves. “Flapping your legs” is harder than hitting a 100 mph fastball? I don’t think so.

    • Yes

      You are a gayboy, did you know?

    • Yes

      Your view is really bad.

  • Bro

    Your grammar is atrocious and there are 7 players in the water at all times for a water polo team dip shit

  • DanceDude99

    What about dance? Dance is, arguably, the hardest “sport” there is. I’m a bit disappointed it was nowhere to be found, then again until you take dance classes and are a dancer, you won’t know how hard it really is, particularly ballet.

  • Kyle

    Was this written by a 5 year old?

  • Timo Kuerten

    Sorry but I do believe Tournament Archery should be on this list somewhere…the intense focus combined with the insanely hard technique makes it really hard to do well in…don’t believe me? Try even hitting the target at 90 meters with wind…now try to picture getting consistent 10’s every time you shoot (at the very least a 9, otherwise you might as well kiss goodbye any hope of winning). Sorry just had to go on a rant after seeing that it wasn’t here 😛

    • Yes

      Sportshooting is the same. For example, in 10m air rifle, you have to score 10.4-5 point 60 times, to win bigger competitions, eg WC. You have to focus for more than 1 hours, stand and don’t move your legs. It also get your brain tired.

    • jake miller

      while I agree archery is incredibly difficult I think they are do most “physically challenging” as opposed to most technical.

    • Erin

      I think what the writers of this article were trying to do is balance out skill and demand. Obviously, archery involves a lot of skill, but doesn’t really demand anything of the body aside from drawing a string back.

  • Kits6

    I was a figure skater for four years and by the end I had four coaches and spent 6 days a week at the rink and off ice training! I now horse jump and have been doing that for almost 5 years and I can say it is a lot harder that figure skating. No hate on figure skating because it is hard and I still love it.

  • t21millz

    Freestyle wrestling is NOT collegiate wrestling.

  • rower

    ROWINNNGGGG

  • Whatthewhat

    How did rowing not make the list and motorcross did? y’all try a 2k, 6k, or 10k and tell me how you feel.

    • Andrew

      I have tried all of those so let me tell you how I feel, rowing is not harder than motocross. I actually use a concept2 rower in part of my workout for moto and so do many other riders, especially at a professional level. We row thousands of meters and do many other exercises to train for our sport. You probably don’t know anything about motocross, you didn’t even spell “motocross” correctly.

  • C

    Where is synchronized swimming. Nummer one and two combined. You need to be able to do gymnatics/ballet in the water. According to experts the hardest sport there is.

  • Anthony Stargaryen

    Good to see gymnastics gets the recognition it deserves.

  • sbd

    synchronized swimming should also be on here, its a step up from normal competitive swimming

  • Unhappy Reader

    This article is very poorly written. I’m pissed that I’ll be counted as a web viewing stat.

  • Madison

    Why isn’t crew even on here? Crew requires incredible stamina and strength.

  • jULL

    How about GYMNASTICS on top of a HORSE?

  • Christine

    Where is rowing? It requires a lot of strength, one stroke is equivalent to a weight lifters power clean. An insane amount of insurance, considering that rowers cross the anaerobic threshold in the first stroke (a 2,000 meter race is approximately 250 strokes, or around 7 minutes, this number may be higher or lower, based on if you are rowing a boat with 1, 2, 4, or 8 people, and the direction of the wind and current. However in the fall races are around 5,000 meters.) if you don’t have great technique then not only will you not move the boat, but you may end up in the water and/or severely injured. If you’re timing is less than perfect, then no one will take you seriously as a rower. When not on the water the ergometer, better known as a rowing machine is used, The word erg, literally means work, therefore an ergometer, means measure of work. Rowers spend their winters on these machines, doing workouts as long as 20,000 meters, which means they are sitting on the machine pulling as hard as they can, while looking at a screen that tells them (and their coaches) that they’re not going fast enough, for around an hour and a half. There are other small nuisances such as not being able to do simple tasks such as holding an object or washing your hair without immense pain due to the multitude of open blisters and rips covering your hands, mornings starting as early as 4:15 because that’s when the water is most rowable etc. Rowing is also just really really bad for your body, you will be pressed to find a club that allows anyone under the age of 12 to join because it completely destroys your back and joints. We have had other sports teams such as lacrosse and swim, as well as the ROTC program, we gave them watered down versions of our easier workouts, all of them agreed they have no idea how we survive our practice. But yea, it’s not that difficult.

    • me me me

      What’s the insurance for?

    • Maxwell

      I clicked on this link looking for rowing, go disappointed when it wasn’t there, then saw this comment and it was completely worth it. Thank you.

  • asdf

    Yea the author may not be very credible. Freestyle wrestling and collegiate wrestling are not the same. College wrestling is Folkstyle wrestling which has a completely different set of rules just saying

  • Malin

    If horseback riding and gymnastics are on the list, then Vaulting definitely deserves a spot on the list! Equestrian vaulting is gymnastics on the back of a cantering horse which requires harmony with the horse, incredible strength, incredible balance, teamwork and of course flexibility. Google it! ;D

    • Sam

      They mention vaulting in the Equestrian Sports section.

  • biggame

    what about kayak-canoe? stamina, balancing in a 30cm wide boat, shouda got the recognition

  • rowingislife

    Rowing/crew should be on this list it requires some of the most rigorous training and the rower needs to be mentally fit along with strong cardiovascular and stamina to compete on an elite level

  • Human

    Was this written by a first grader?

  • Smith1994

    “Hardest” is so vague. I think other sports are more difficult in terms of coordination while these are just more physically demanding.

  • Joe

    LOL so basically top 10 extreme hobbies?

  • jcu gingers

    freestyle and collegiate wrestling is not the same thing. But I shouldn’t expect much from a site called sporteology. Top four should be gymnastics wrestling ballet and swimming, not particularly in any order.

  • jcu gingers

    Freestyle and collegiate wrestling are not the same thing. But I shouldn’t expect much from a site called sporteology. Top four should be gymnastics wrestling ballet and swimming

  • checkyofacts

    freestyle is not collegiate wrestling.
    that would be folkstyle.
    both of which are harder than most of these.

  • Stella

    What about Pentathlon? It is a sport made up of 5 really hard sports: Swimming, which demands phisical power and stamina; Fencing, a sport where you have to stay focused for hours while it is a really tiring phisical activity; Horseback riding, where you have 20 minutes to get to know another living creature you’ve never met before and preform a perfect track together. The last event is called Combined event, it is running and shooting together. You have to run 4 times 800 meters and you have to hit the target 5 times as soon as possible with a laser airpistol between each laps. I don’t think it sounds easy, but the truth is it is really hard. Shooting when your heart beats 200 per minutes while watching other competitors finishing their own targets is insanely difficult. And the hardest thing is that the whole competition takes one day!!!! Pentathlon demands not just stamina or phisical power, you also need skills and techniques, you must stay focused all day. Unfortunately it is not best known sport in the world, I’m sure a lot of people have never even heard about it, but it is definately the hardest and most beautiful sport in the whole world.

  • Aronka

    Road cycling???triathlon?

  • Maria Saraiva

    Just stupid. Modern pentathlon has 3 (crosscountry running, swimming and horseback riding) of his 5 sports (missing shooting and fencing) in this “top ten”. It should be number one just because of it.

  • Vie

    haha ever tried either of them at a competitive level?

  • Lol

    How about you try all of these sports and then comment on here… Some sports look easier than they actually are exa. Figure skating and gymnastics

  • Mikenzie LozanoBradshaw

    Figure skating is not solely done on ice. And as a world team member of the United States ROLLER figure skating team I take offense to the fact that people don’t give us any recognition. It’s especially annoying when ice skaters say that there is a difference between us, that they are figure skaters and we a roller skaters. No. We are all figure skater you guys just happen to have a blade and some ice and we have wheels and hard wood floor.

    • GD

      Ha Ha Ha Ha! And roller hockey players are actually hockey players too!

  • silvi faraci

    Forget syncronised swimming…

  • Renne

    I would say motocross one of the most physically and
    mentally challenging as well as dangerous sports there is. It takes patience,
    time, balance, and skill. One wrong move and you can be severely injured. It’s
    the same with horseback riding. Not may people have the guts to jump a 100 ft
    jump. People say all it is, is sitting and twisting the throttle…
    Well.. Lets not forget the giant hills racers climb, the giant logs they jump,
    all while holding up and balancing a 250-280 pound bike. No sport
    compares to motocross. It takes so much mental work too, speeding through
    the woods going in between narrow trees. You have to be alert at every second.
    My dad lost focus for only a few moments and he shattered his shinbone against a tree. He was
    in a full leg cast for 6 weeks. You also have to maintain the bike to ensure it’s running at full capacity, you don’t just buy one and thats it. My family spends hours making sure the bikes are ready for each race. You need the skill to ride as well the knowledge of maintaining machinery in order to be successful at this sport. Motocross isn’t for the weak. You have to be strong in all aspects to even
    compete in this sport.

    • slidinreiner

      Clearly you have never tried either motocross or equestrian sports. Try getting on a bike or a horse and just sitting there. Not much happens. Now step on the gas on either and see how much effort it takes just to stay on board let alone go where you want to!!

      All these sports are physically and mentally demanding and there are many more that should be recognized.

    • Erin

      So your dad fell off a motorcycle and needed a cast for 6 weeks. I slowly and gradually broke my foot just through the pressure running puts on your bones; I was on crutches for 8, boot for 12. No motorcycle is needed to break a bone.

    • Argentinus Croatia

      try to ride a horse… you will see

    • Argentinus Croatia

      sorry. wrong comment 😀

  • Renne

    I don’t think Pentathlon or Triathlon would be on here because it’s a combination of different sports. Yes I agree it is very demanding, but I feel it’s more of a competition and not an actual single sport such as swimming or fencing.

  • Rowing4days

    Why isn’t Rowing included???!!!???!!?!?!?!?!

  • come on water polo harder than motocross lol

  • cdrbewd

    I would agree that all of these sports are physically demanding and require a fierce determination to be competitive. One thing you all are overlooking is the final aspect when determining the hardest sport. And that is the mental stress of the sport. They all have a stress that is a plied to the individual but there are only 2 that add death as a worry or thought. Both bull riding and motocross kill people every year. Broken bones dislocations cuts scrapes are all part of the sport. In most sports these are career ending issues. In bull riding and motocross your career does not start until a major injury has occured. But which of these to is hardest. Throwing a leg over a 2000 lbs animal that wants to stomp your soul for 8 second Or riding a motorcycle at a 100% of your physical capacity for a half an hour at high speed over 100 ft. jumps with 39 other competitors that wish you would crash. Both sports are completely fear inducing and the threat of injury or death is great but only in motocross do you face your fear and push yourself to physical limits for an extended period of time. No time outs no buzzer no music just you and your bike.

    • anonymous

      I don’t want to start an argument. In gymnastics, it is common place to train with broken bones, vertebrates and sprains. If you want examples of deaths caused by gymnastics, there is Julissa Gomez, who broke her neck on a vault, and Christie Heinrich, who died from eating disorders caused by gymnastics. If you doubt the difficulty of Skating and gymnastics,you should read Little Girls in Pretty Boxes. It’s a little outdated, but it is still relevant. This is all subjective however.

  • Augustine

    Great article! But I take issue with the list. Uh, ‘merican football requires the stamina of cross country, swimming, and water polo; the speed and agility of gymnastics; the mental toughness of wrestling; the possibility of getting seriously hurt like in bull riding (almost); and the intelligence of chess for coaches and quarterbacks. No single sport is as difficult all around as football. I am also surprised that there was no mention of one of the most difficult tasks in all of sports, hitting a baseball. In an hour, almost any moderate or even poor athlete can learn how to do the basic tasks involved in most of the above mentioned sports. The exceptions are perhaps learning how to swim, riding a horse (reliance on a non-human brings a level of communication that is unsurpassed in ANY sport), many gymnastics tasks, and putting wood on the ball.

    • bennymcl

      Hockey is harder than American football.. American football should not be on this list at all lol..

      • Augustine

        Hockey is very difficult. It has similar requirements of stamina, speed, agility, mental and physical toughness, and risk of getting hurt as football and other sports I mentioned. But the complexity and strategy are not anything close to that of football.

        • wooram

          The way i see it is , football is a team sport and the team can be put together by putting together each of the players strengths. Ex one person provides speed/agility other strength and so so on. In gymnastics it requires the sole athlete to have all of these strengths to become the best . things are easier as a team.

          • Andrew

            I agree with you. Football players aren’t good all around and they substitute players from a bench when another teammate gets tired. Just like your sport of gymnastics, my sport (motocross) requires the sole athlete to have all the strengths, and we don’t have teammates to take our spot if we get tired.

      • gymgirl

        I agree on the football part. Gymnastics is the hardest I could run around in tights after a ball in my sleep.

        • Augustine

          The ‘tights’ you mention are pants in football and they contain thick, tough pads for a reason. They run around in tights after a ball in gymnastics, too. If you can do either, waking or sleeping, you are a very good athlete.

    • ConnorH

      I laughed out loud when you said football required mental toughness and stamina.

    • Andrew Otto

      Football is certainly NOT the most difficult all around. In football the average play is only 5 to 7 seconds, then you guys stop, walk around, and line up for another play. You guys also substitute players from a bench. Football players are strong, I’ll give you that, but as far as physical fitness and cardio they’re nothing compared to other sports.

  • ForScience

    What metrics are you using here? I see no science. Your definition of “difficult” is flimsy. Most sports science calculate Skill and Athleticism as separate metrics, not functions of each other.

    Perhaps rename the article, “Top 10 out Difficult Sports in My Perceived World.”

  • PoleVaulter

    Pole Vault beats all of the, and isn’t even recognised as usual

  • Unknown

    You are retarded. I have been racing motocross competitively for 12 years. Motocross is one of the hardest sports ever physically and mentally. It is so tough on your body. You probably don’t even know how to ride a dirtbike. We risk serious injuries and/or death everytime we swing a leg around a dirtbike. If you got on a bike and took a lap around a track you would be winded. Lots and lots and lots of cardio is needed for MX. You need big balls to go out and hit 100-150ft jumps, this isn’t a sport for pussies.

  • Unknown

    Just stop. Motocross should be #1 hardest sport on this list. You have no idea what you are talking about.

  • Gerard Brennem

    Difficulty of sports is different for everyone. What might be difficult for a gymnast may be easy for an endurance athlete. We are all given talents and abilities. We tend to stick to what we have success in. Olympic Weightlifting is easy for me, but swimming is nearly impossible for me. It’s all subjective…. There’s no need for debate here.

  • PP

    Knew someone would say something about horse riding, cos obviously controlling something that weighs over half a tonne, and has no stop/go buttons is very easy – not! They can go when they want, they can stop when they want, they can jump when they want, and they can ditch you when they want, yeah just really easy.

  • HorseRider21

    Are you a dumbass!? Seriously! Have you ever ridden a horse, really ridden? Of course you haven’t or you wouldn’t be making such an ignorant statement!

    • Vanessa

      OMG you just made my day:) I am an equestrian too and I am soooo tired of people like that and you just put him in his place

  • Prefontaine

    Not sure I agree with this list. They should really use a forum of people from different sports and then make better informed decisions as a group. For example, I would argue that soccer should be considered over cross-country having competed in both. And, water polo is brutal – might move it ahead of swimming. What about rock climbing – technique and strength and endurance, and you can fall a long way! Cheers people!

  • Dissapointed

    Not saying any of these sports are easy but any contemporary combat sport trumps this entire list. I’ve done about half on here, so I have perspective. 1v1 means no team to rely on, maximizing and balancing strength, speed and stamina are essential, knowledge and experience it takes to master a combat sport usually require a decade or so, you are purposefully trying to hurt each other, (as in the purpose of the sport is to hurt the other person, as in there’s literally no comparison to any other sports claiming to require toughness) it is also solely your wit against 1 other person and neither of you want to get hurt. (and not just boxing, do you know how many ways you can manipulate a person’s body? Wrestling has been around as long as men have and we’re still finding new things) It is the purest form of sport, there is no contest.

  • Daniel Lone

    Christ, obviously from the commentary here there’s plenty of room for disagreement, but I’ll simply give them credit for not putting baseball or American football or golf on their short list. If they had, they may as well have placed competitive eating at the pinnacle of “difficult” sports.

  • Andrew

    Interesting article but I feel like it was poorly written. There are some sentences that just don’t make sense (like in the beginning) and rarely were we told WHY a sport is so difficult!!!

    Yeah I’m surprised rugby is on there. That HAS to be harder than running outside!! Seriously?!!!!???!!

  • Mike

    Cross country and horseback riding and no rugby….sure.

  • LilyWhite

    What abt rock climbing??

  • Tami

    In a lifetime most people learn how to run, swim and throw a ball….none of which are that difficult. Not everyone learns how to do a flip…much less on a 4 inch beam or fling themselves off of a bar doing multiple flips and twists in the air before eventually landing on their feet. All sports are demanding, that’s not the question being answered here. So those of you upset your sport didn’t make the list, relax and let science do the talking.

  • Treyvon Cumdump Whickerstein

    This was clearly written by a woman if gymnastics is put at the top. Even men gymnastics wouldn’t put it this way.

  • wooram

    ask anyone to do a backhandspring or even a handstand.. Majority will fall or get hurt. Ask anyone to row a boat, they probably can in extent maybe not as fast or longer than the professionals.

    • ignoranceissomethingelse

      rowing is a sport that is hard as you make it. saying it is easy is like saying cross country or swimming is easy because anyone can run or swim. rowers train to the extent that they have the best lung capacity of any athlete due to the incredible amount of exertion it requires to be at the top level. the combination of precision, teamwork, mental and physical toughness that rowing requires is more than you understand.

  • gymgirl

    I love this list. They final give gymnastics the credit it deserves.

  • gymgirl

    Oh come on! Please its in the WATER anyone can do that!

    • M

      I doubt you have ever tried synchronized swimming! You are so wrong not just anyone can do Synchronized swimming!

  • E

    Finally swimming is being recognized as a hard sport. People don’t undersrand

  • roger

    anymous….your statement might be one of the dumbest ive heard in sometime….do al ittle rersearch on motocross! it is extremely physically demanding. you a first ballot in the idiot hall of fame!

  • Augustine

    All of these skills are required to some extent by each of the players in football. The complexity/strategy in gymnastics is not even close to hockey, much less football. The ‘sole athlete’ has a big playbook to learn. The complexity of team sports, esp. football, adds another dimension to the difficulty level.

    • Kayleigh

      Have you seen the gymnastics code of points? Lol. You wanna talk about a big playbook!!!

  • Alex

    That’s not the point they’re making though. “A sport where a lot of money is necessary to participate will not have the best talent.” IE: If horseback riding wasn’t so expensive, it would probably be at a much higher level of difficulty/be much more advanced than it is now, because talent doesn’t just come from people with money.

    • tblvr

      There are plenty of talented riders that don’t come from money. Unfortunately, those with money can rush to the top because they can buy the best horse for the job. But the rest of us put our blood, sweat and tears into conditioning ourselves and training our mounts from the ground up– THOSE riders work their asses off to make it! Besides, this isn’t a list of the most “competitive” sports, it’s a list of the most difficult! Riding should be higher than #8, imo. It’s a partnership with your horse, using a language built in silence..

    • potcu

      i know lots of people that don’t have much money and ride really good. you still have a point, because people with money can buy better horses, but good riders can even ride the toughest horses

      • Alex

        Its not just about that though. My parents couldn’t even afford riding lessons. When you’re talking 30 bucks an hour for a lesson at minimum, and your parents are both making minimum wage, its never going to happen. Nevermind actually leasing or owning a horse.

  • derek

    “…where numerous other historians doubted that horses were ridden long before this claim.” That makes no sense.

  • James

    Obviously Ballet isn’t on this list because its categorised an art but based on mental and physical difficulty its definitely in the top 5. I’ve trained with the olympic gymnasts before I became a dancer and from experience it doesn’t even come close to ballet. Its a shame ballet doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.

  • Jim

    So cross country out ranks American football? No credibility.

  • jake miller

    lists like this are absolutely stupid. gymnastics is only #1 because the author just like gymnastics. just like on another list wrestling is #1 just because the author likes wrestling. I’ve seen one with MMA on the top and swimming on top and rugby on top and karate on top. making list like this are stupid. I guarantee 98% of you think your sport is the hardest one a. because you don’t do all of these sports. and b. because your sport is really hard to you. people need to understand, no sport is any harder than any other, they are only as hard as the athlete makes them. the sport is irrelevant, what matters is how hard you try. note: physical difficulty is not the only factor. Note: this comment only applies to sports that require actual effort (sorry golf). note: im not hating on you or any sport here merely the idea of ranking them into hardest and easiest. you cant compare cross country running and wrestling. one is endurance the other is a full body sprint. apples to apples people. everyone thinks that there sport HAS to be the hardest NO MATTER WHAT, cant we all just agree that they are all hard and all worthy of recognition? note: I fall into the category of everyone and am guilty of thinking other sports are easy on occasion. if you disagree with me, please write a CLEAR and LOGICAL argument as to WHY i am wrong i will gladly read it and respond. sorry if i got feisty in this comment please don’t rage just going for literary effect. thanks.

  • Andrew Otto

    Im glad motocross made the list but they could’ve spelled it correctly on the list. Most people think it isn’t that physically demanding and “the bike does all the work.” The truth is its extremely physically demanding and I can say that because I actually race motocross. Its anaerobic and hard on your body. I wear a heart rate monitor when I ride and my average heart rate is usually around 196 with a max of 206. At an amateur level I maintain this heart rate for 15 min straight, professionals usually go for about 30 min. I train and go to the gym religiously and my heart rate still runs that high. You have to be strong too. The bikes weigh 230lbs and it takes a lot of strength to control them on a motocross track. Here is the link to a video that shows how tough motocross really is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmiAavoWngk

  • Erin

    Soooo horseback riding and motocross are most “physically demanding”? Ok, I know they involve a lot of technique and skill; I have horses and did equestrian for several years and I KNOW it’s hard. BUT I also run collegiate cross country/track and even though there’s not much technique, running requires more endurance and sheer willpower than any other sport and, in my opinion, also puts the most pressure on the body. My body has never been in so much constant pain than it is when I’m in season. Everything hurts. Bad.

  • GP

    they need to put equestrian vaulting!!!!!

  • RugbyGirl

    How about rugby?

  • Mark

    WHERE IS PARKOUR???

  • RB

    Why not just put triathlon on instead of cross country and swimming? I think swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles, and then running 26.2 miles is a little difficult.

  • Jarrod Jones

    I’ve done all 3. Gymnastics is #1, followed by water polo and then swimming. However there are sports that should have been on this list and some that should not, so…

  • Voyboy

    League of Legends should be number 1.

  • garza

    Still no love for marching band. 🙁

  • bob

    lame. professional boxing is the most difficult sport. MLB pitching is pretty damn hard. motocross listed but should be higher.

  • ME-B

    Was this written by a 10-year-old?

  • ME-B

    Huh?

  • Casey

    Competitive Irish Dancing definitely needs to be up here.

  • Pole Vaulter

    where is pole vault? It requires gymanstic,strength,speed,reflection and guts to do it!

  • emwcee

    I would add sled dog racing to this list.

  • anonymous

    Well, synchronized swimming is a combination of gymnastics, swimming, and water polo, plus a little extra, so I’d say it’s automatically number one by this article’s logic!!

  • lerry

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If YOU think think the to ten list should be different, then submit your own article with research or right a Wikipedia page about it.

    • even you can also give it a try, i will publish on the website if you write a top 10 list on base your own research.

  • Dominique

    I have a feeling no one bothered to read all of the comments along with the article before commenting their opinions, so let me make it easy for you: We all have different opinions, but the bottom line is that most of us haven’t tried all of these sports. For those who have, your opinion and preferences do not negate the opinions and preferences of others who have different body types, skill sets, abilities, etc.
    Stop saying that the article is wrong and then go on to say that you’re right. Yes, rowing is difficult. Yes, horseback riding is difficult, and stop saying otherwise. Yes, all of these sports, and all of the sports you mentioned, and all of the sports in the world actually, are difficult in their own ways. Why can’t we just appreciate another sport instead of saying that OUR sport is the best/the most difficult/the most competitive?
    I, for one, actually agree with this article’s #1. Gymnastics is ridiculous, I know, I tried.

    • thanks buddy. by the way i didn’t replied any comment because everyone was trying to prove his favorite sport to be the most hardest/ difficult to play………!

  • me me me

    What about MY sport, why isn’t MY sport on the list. MY sport is WAY harder than every other sport, because it’s MY sport.

  • Chris

    As usual wrestling get absolutely no respect. I hope I do not disrespect or offend anyone with my comment, but it is a joke if you believe horseback riding, skiing water polo or anything else on this list is as physically demanding as wrestling. Don’t get me wrong everything on this list deserves recognition but come on it’s past it’s due for wrestling to get the recognition it deserves.

  • Alex

    You can’t get into riding if you don’t have /some/ money or a family with horses. I begged and begged to learn how to ride when I was little but my parents flat out couldn’t afford lessons, no matter how hard they busted their asses.

    • hej

      I’ve done both figure skating and riding and as long as you don’t actually have your own horse it is about the same amount of money… So to start practising riding isn’t a lot more expensive than a lot of other sports… (now figure skating isn’t the cheapest sport either, but a lot of sports aren’t unfortunately)

  • Equestrian

    Disappointing to see horse back riding misinterpreted. NOT EVERYONE DOES RACING. 3 day eventing is probably far more popular and athletic than a race.

    Please don’t make the mistake of thinking racing is the only type of riding. 3 day eventing is part of the Olympics and there are lots of events in lots of places around the world for 3 day eventing.

  • Logan

    I have done a lot of sports: Baseball, baketball, football (college), Rugby, Wrestling, Hockey and even swam for 5 years in middle school and high school. I am disappointed to not see Rugby anywhere on here. I also totally agree with you on the fact that swimming is very hard. I would have put 1. Rugby, 2.Gymnastics, 3. Water Polo, 4.Swimming.

    The only difference between water polo and swimming would have to be the fact that instead of going in a straight line, you also have a bunch of people trying to drown you.

    Not saying at all that swimming isn’t easy, but just be thankful that this one article decided that swimming was more difficult than Rugby or Water polo where contact is necessary and doesn’t result in disqualification.

    • CcAnn

      I’m guessing I’ve never even done a cartwheel!

    • Sara Davis

      So im guessing that you’ve never tried gymnastics✋ Its requires every part of your body to be strong and takes a lot of mental toughness to get over jumping backwards on a 4 in block of metal!

  • 🙂 that is what going on in comment section

  • Dave

    Hockey…… Most people can barely legitimately skate….. This article was stupid

    • Nick

      Hockey is by far the hardest

      • jay

        totally agree

  • Emily

    I’ve done swimming and I’m a competitive gymnast gymnastics is defiantly harder, and I’m not saying swimming isn’t hard. But it doesn’t take as much skill as gymnastics does

  • Shaina

    Curious where Synchronised swimming would place in this.

  • sardar Tabasim
  • Liam

    Wrestling is the toughest by far. gymnastics is tough but no of these other sports should be ranked in the top 10. This ranking is a complete joke.

  • me

    rowing?!?!?!?!?!?!

  • Lisanne

    Anyone who doesn’t argee with gymnastics at #1. Try doing a good backflip on floor, of getting a kip on bars. Such easy basic skills every gymnast needs.
    it will cost you hours and hours of practice, great abs and loads of blisters.

    We’ll talk after that, and if it is still too easy for you, we’ll find some more advanced skills in the code of points. What about a Muchina or an Amanar?

    Well, I agree that some sports are overrated, and some are missing. Bus Gymnastics should definately in top three or in my opinion without a doubt at #1. Kids starting at age 3, training 15 hours a week at age 8, and around 30 at age 14. Physically ans mentally killing. Always pushing your body and mind to the limits at that young age.

    • tony

      hockey should be #1

  • hockeyGod88

    Umm guess no one plays HOCKEY any more. I understand figure skating could encompass the HOCKEY. But like some have mentioned, swimming is a strait line and water polo is that plus someone trying to pull you down/drown you. Gymnastics is body control and physical ability. Then you have skiing

  • CcAnn

    Yeah not really. I used to be in swimming and it was just stupid so then I went to dance, they said to have private gymnastics lessons and I quit dance for gymnastics and it’s ALOT harder and uses ALOT more strength and ability than swimming!

  • jlarsen04

    i do swimming consistently

  • Alan Deelightful Dale

    LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL Water Polo SIX?!?!?!?! Not even! Behind Figure Skating and Motocross??? And basic swimming??? Um it combines Swimming with Football with the fact you have someone killing you underwater and you tread for up to 45-60 minutes with time stoppages and you remain in the water. This is so stupid its unreal….Motocross? The bike does most of the work?!?!?! LOL

  • Bell

    I’m not saying dancing isn’t hard – but come on, figure skating and gymnastics are “quite similar” sports but one’s on ice with jumps and piruettes (basically ballet on ice…) and the other one requires super-human skills. You really think dancing is harder than that?

  • tyson1

    where is boxing?… it’s number one for sure.

  • shuttlecocker

    Most difficult sport! That normally translates into how hard it is for an already fit and athletic person to perform the moves considered skillful in that sport. To look comfortable/composed and in charge.
    In all of my travels I know of a sport that most people have great difficulty getting a hang of, no matter how accomplished they may be as an athlete etc. That sport is Badminton.
    The equipment is light and leads them to feel relaxed and comfortable.
    They may have indulged in it in backyard, picnic and camping trip settings. In reality they were goofing off and didn’t know it.
    Indoors (competitive), this is a fast and challenging sport for people of any skill level. It is humbling, stamina sapping and extremely exasperating. All you have to do is try it in its real setting indoors. One of two things will happen. Either you will be addicted or you’ll shake your head and walk away in defeat. I know. I’ve seen it so many times.
    The proof is in the pudding. There is nothing that comes close in terms of sheer speed of action, running, jumping and exerting to generate power, touch and deception. There are so so many things you can do in this sport and it’s still never enough. In sheer minutes you will be absolutely exhausted. Probably like never before. Caution: make really sure you are as fit as you can be before taking it on.

  • Happy Feet

    the most difficult sport is breakdance!

    you will need all the different sport skills at the same time, even to handle a basic set. watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfJFEiOnwXE

  • Happy Feet

    Its breakdance

  • Tic Tac

    Its Breakdance

  • Chris

    Where is golf? I say this because it takes years to even break 90.

  • Hannah

    Gymnastics is hard but I think cheerleading should be 1

  • thanks Gymnastics_lover.

  • Thomas Daniel Voss

    Figure skating is on the list but not ice hockey? Not sure if you’ve ever done hockey but it requires amazing hand-eye coordination!

  • fred

    Apparently no one has tried Motocross

  • gymnastics_101

    I have done swimming (for 3 and a half years) and gymnastics (for 7years) and saying swimming is harder than gymnastics is just not realistic, swimming is decently really hard and deserves to be in the top 5 but come on dude, harder than gymnastics? Not a chance. U people have me laugh so hard cuz u know nothing about gymnastics, its not just a bunch of bendy girls in pretty leotards, its GYMNASTICS! ESPN has proven and declared it to be the hardest sport so what ur saying is that scientists are wrong. So I suggest u get ur facts right before u jump to conclusions, cuz u clearly know nothing about gymnastics.

    • jlarsen04

      ok thats fair

  • Ella

    Surprised to only see horse-riding at #8, in my personal opinion it should be a lot higher. I have done both gymnastics and horse-riding, and they are both extremely difficult and take a lot of physical strength, skill and balance. I wouldn’t say that horse riding is a lot easier than gymnastics, which is why I’m surprised to see it at #8. Also, I think vaulting should be on there. Vaulting is almost gymnastics, on a cantering horse. It requires an insane amount of balance, strength and skill, and it deserves to be in the top 3 at least.

  • Brianna K.

    In my personal opinion, I think Horse Back riding deserves to be higher up on the charts. It requires so much hard work! My sister is a equestrian, and she goes through so much! She is at her barn almost every day a week, mucking out stalls, feeding, and taking care of her horse. And that’s not even the riding aspect. On that horse, you have to be extremely focused. It requires muscle, stamina, and 100% concentration. If you make one wrong move, you could easily screw everything up. And yes, on the Olympics it looks like they put no effort what so ever into it. But, that really isn’t true. They train those horses day in and day out to get the perfect movement. And with jumping, you are basically flying, kind of. On that horse, that could easily stumble. You are jumping over 4 feet, and going at top speed. A lot of people say,” Oh, all you do is sit there and the horse does what ever.” And when one of my friends say that, I tell them go ahead and get on a horse your self, have fun doing dressage and cantering without falling. So if your one of the people that talk smack about this sport, go ahead and get on a horse yourself, see if anything changes.

    ( And I am just stating my opinion, don’t argue with me)

  • Lawl

    That’s cute and all but where are the real sports?

  • Owen Payne

    motocross* not riding a dirt bike, is the toughest sport in the world. You train everyday in the gym, plus the practices are all day, not just 2 and a half hours. No one will really know how tough it is until they try it for themselves.

  • Darkox Graphics

    where is downhill?

  • Lashyn Ahmad

    Personally I think that waterpolo is the hardest. This isn’t statistics or anything though, it’s just my personal opinion.You’re welcome to have your own opinion.

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  • Anna Bommarito

    I think that gymnastics should be #1 it deserves to be in the spotlight for once it not called one of the popular sports but if gymnastics were easy they would call it football and football is not easy

  • Reversed Reflection

    Skateboarding should be on this list!