Top 10 Most Difficult Sports in the World | Toughest Sports

August 25, 2021 By Sourav

Top 10 Most Difficult Sports in the World | Toughest Sports

In all the most difficult sports, there is always more hardship and difficulty than what meets the eye. Be it in the process of selection or performance, it is mandatory for players to present the skills and capabilities of their minds and their bodies.

In some sports, key skills required are athleticism, speed, and agility, while many other sports require keeping the mind in the game. Some sports require players to be slow, steady, and patient.


Most Difficult Sports | Hardest And Most Demanding Sports 

In many sports, the 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 favor 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





Boxing definitely deserves its place in this list of Top 10 Difficult Sports in 2021, we have Boxing.

It is again a fighting sport that requires two people to box against each other in a ring.

This game also has high chances of bruises and injuries. Also sometimes the games can be easily rigged and pre-planned.

That increases the chances of bigger and more serious injuries. This sport already witnessed some of the greatest boxers of all time who dominated the world. 





Gymnastics is a complex sport that needs physical strength, flexibility, grace, agility, power, coordination, balance, and control. The Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique was founded in 1881.

It governs the competitive gymnastic events internationally, with each country having its own national governing body. Modern gymnastics was first developed by three pioneer physical educators in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Germany, in the form of exercises for young men and boys, on apparatus. 

Of the gymnastic events, competitive gymnastics is considered the best known. The men’s events include a high bar, parallel bars, vault, still rings, pommel horse, and floor exercise.

While the women’s events include vault, floor exercise, balance beam, uneven bars. Gymnastics actually evolved from the exercises used by the ancient Greeks. 





Swimming is a type of water sport where swimmers try to swim as fast as possible with various strokes such as Butterfly stroke, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle.

The Fédération Internationale de Natation currently governs this sport internationally.

The earliest reference to swimming was found in paintings. Swimming now holds its place among the Most Demanding Sports in the World.

Besides, it also deserves its mention as one of the most difficult sports in the world. 





Next on the list of Hardest Sports, Skiing is a form of ice sport where contestants use skis to glide on snow. The word “Ski” is derived from "skíð", an Old Norse word that means "split piece of wood or firewood".

The International Olympic Committee and the International Ski Federation currently govern this game. Skiing was first primarily used solely for transport. And during the 18th century, Norway started to host Military ski races.

Two main genres of this sport, Alpine Skiing, and Nordic Skiing were developed in the 1930s. Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super-G, Alpine skiing combined, and Downhill then became the main disciplines of Alpine skiing.

Cross-country, Telemark, Ski touring, Skijoring, and Ski-flying are the main discipline of Nordic skiing. 


Motor Cross



Motocross is a form of off-road motorcycle racing on enclosed off-road circuits. It is one of the Most Physically Demanding Sports and is usually organized in all-weather conditions. Motocross actually originated from motorcycle trials competitions in the United Kingdom.

The earliest reference to the origin of this sport can be found in the first quarterly trial of the Auto-Cycle Clubs in 1906 and the Scottish Six Days Trial in 1909.  And now, there are several greatest motocross racers who dominated this sport.

The word “Motocross” is a combination of Motocyclette, the French word for motorcycle, with "cross country". Camberley town in Surrey hosted the first-ever scramble race or modern Motocross in 1924.

The FIM Motocross World Championship, the AMA Motocross Championship, British Motocross Championship, and Motocross des Nations are the major event of Motocross. Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme now governed this sport. 


Figure Skating



Figure Skating is a type of sport where teams, duos, or individual skaters perform on figure skates on ice. Men’s singles, ladies' singles, ice dancing, and pair skating are the four main Olympic disciplines of this game. 

Figure Skating was first introduced in the 1908 Summer Olympics in London as the first winter sport in Olympics. 

The International Skating Union is the governing body of international Figure Skating that includes the Winter Olympics, the World Championships, the Four Continents Championships, the European Championships, and the Grand Prix of skating. 

Figure skating blades used in this sport are typically 4.7mm thick with a slight curve of an arc of a circle having a radius of 180-220cm. Figure skaters usually perform spins, lifts,  jumps, throw jumps, moves in the field, death spirals, and various other moves. 


Water Polo



Water polo is a team water sport consisting of four periods where two teams attempt to score goals by throwing the ball into the opponent's net. Each team of this game consists of six field players and one goalkeeper in the water.

Water Polo is typically played in at least 1.8 meters deep pools with a water polo ball that floats on the water. The game comprises swimming, catching, and shooting the ball using a single hand. 

The game actually originated as a sort of "water rugby" in the late 19th century in Scotland. William Wilson first organized a set of rules for a team water ball game called "aquatic football" in 1877.

The Bon Accord Festival in the banks of the River Dee in Aberdeen, Scotland, hosted the first-ever game of Aquatic Football or Water Polo in the late 19th century. Fédération Internationale de Natation is the governing body of this game on the international level. 


Bull Riding



Bull Riding is the most popular type of Rodeo sport where the rider attempts to stay mounted while the bull attempts to buck off the rider. The rider must stay for eight seconds atop the bucking bull and due to the risk.

This brief moment is often dubbed as "the most dangerous eight seconds in sports". Bull riding actually originated from the Mexican Charreada. One of the earliest variants of Bull Riding called Jaripeo, a hacienda contest, was developed during the 16th century where the riders rode the bull until it stopped bucking or till the rider dies. 

A Texas Ranger named H. L. Kinney staged the first Anglo-American organized bullfight in 1852 in the southwest.

Both the rider and the bull earn from 0 to 50 points from two judges based on several fundamental aspects of the event. Cowboy boots and hats are the additional attractions of these sports besides the riding. 


Horseback Riding



Horseback Riding or Equestrianism involves steeplechasing or vaulting with horses and riding horses. Jockeys trained the horses to perform a set of skills on the course or to achieve great speed. The coordination between the horse and the jockey or the horse rider has a great impact on the event.

Many historians claim that men started to ride trained horses in approximately 4500 BC. But, numerous other historians doubted that our ancestors started to ride horses long before this claim.

Thoroughbred horse racing or flat racing is the most popular form of these sports. The Royal Charter Jockey Club in the UK and the Jockey Club in the USA currently governed this sport.

Steeplechasing or National Hunt racing now also became 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. 


Freestyle Wrestling



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 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 actually originated as the "catch-as-catch-can" wrestling in the United States and Great Britain.

Interestingly, several US presidents such as Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt actively participated in the 'catch-as-catch-can'. 


Cross Country Running



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 first became popular during the 19th century in England. The schools started participating in cross country races as early as 1837. 

Wimbledon Common in southwest London hosted the first recorded national cross country championship on 7th December 1867. The Hamilton Park Racecourse in Scotland hosted the first international cross country race on 28th March 1903.

Since its establishment in 1973, the IAAF World Cross Country Championships became the elite competition of the modern days' cross country race. This sport now also holds its place among the most extreme sports in the world


Final Words

There is a long-standing debate as to which sport is the most demanding, and hence, most difficult, so much so that it is not merely a matter of personal opinion anymore. Sports experts have gotten together to devise their own ways to analyze which sports are the most difficult, taking into consideration various parameters such as durability, analytic aptitude, nerve, hand-eye coordination, flexibility, agility, speed, power, strength, endurance, etc. 


Most Difficult Sports | 2021 Infographics


Judging the level of hardness of a sport is not necessarily a matter of expert opinion. Sports fanatics have their own and varied opinions in this regard. Irrespective of how hard a sport is, the fans of the sport definitely stay loyal to their favorite game and its players. 

So, we hope that you liked our list and it's your turn now. Let us know in the comments which sports you think are the Most Difficult Sports.

Leave a Reply

  1. Melida
    Melida September 18, 2019 19:16


    1. Mac
      Mac June 13, 2020 04:59

      Hockey. If for no other reason it’s hardest because you play it on ice while skating.

    2. Golfer
      golfer June 30, 2020 14:20

      bruh, golf!!!

    3. S.aaron
      S.aaron July 23, 2020 08:44

      Wow. My guess is that whoever wrote this article was completely unaware of the official state sport of Maryland. A sport where 2 men charge each other on horseback with long lances. The object is to knock your opponent off his horse. Horseback jousting. S.Aaron.

    4. Peter Aumont
      Peter Aumont July 23, 2020 17:50

      Cross country running ? More like the easiest. I ran competitively and I can assure you hockey, American football are both dangerous and super difficult. I would be destroyed in 1 play in NFL football. In hockey I wouldn’t even survive a game because the shifts are 100 % push to the maximum endurance as quick as possible. I was a hockey goalie and 100kmh shots to the face with a heavy object isn’t pleasant

  2. Kasandra Moyer
    Kasandra Moyer October 2, 2019 05:02

    Horseback riding is the hardest sport I have EVER played. But it is way more than just a sport. I just had someone say to me that horseback riding is not a sport, and all you do is sit there. That person has never even been on a horse exept for a pony ride. You have to be able to control a 1200 pound animal, remember patterns, combinations, and all while trying to make it look easy and simple. So if horseback riding isn't hard, why is it in the olimpics and football isn't?

    1. Aaliyah Moore
      Aaliyah Moore June 16, 2020 14:52

      sooooooooooooooooo true. I wish people actually understood.

  3. Gabriel Weber
    Gabriel Weber March 9, 2020 09:16

    Well I have tried meny different sports and the hardest I’ve played is wrestling it’s the most demanding sport of all the sports i have tried. Like football hockey bull riding water polo and so much more but water polo is hard but not as hard as wrestling. If you are wrestling for a team that not a very good team then you’ll never know.

  4. Karim, Muhammad Fazal
    Karim, Muhammad Fazal April 9, 2020 16:33

    I didn't enjoy any of these games. I consider Bull Riding as the Most Dangerous. Consider your landing on your neck, or the bulls hoof landing on your head, rib cage or your groin.

    1. Sourav Das
      Sourav Das April 9, 2020 17:20

      Yes, Rodeo sports are extremely dangerous.

  5. Codiferious Comatosis
    Codiferious Comatosis June 22, 2020 04:51

    Quidditch?? Hellllllo?!

    1. Sourav Das
      Sourav Das June 22, 2020 17:30

      Bad news, Harry. I've just been to see Professor McGonagall about the Firebolt.

  6. Keke
    Keke June 26, 2020 16:00

    Synchronized swimming should be on here. You have to hold your breath while keeping count to the music and doing all the different moves. All while swimming

    1. Sourav Das
      Sourav Das June 26, 2020 17:20

      Thanks for your suggestion. We will definitely think about your suggestions during our next update of this list.
      And, keep visiting our sports blog!

  7. Lucas
    Lucas August 24, 2020 06:03

    Basketball by far you don’t know how many hours you have to put in to see progress

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