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Distribution of male and female athletes at the Summer Olympics 1896-2016

The share of male athletes at the Summer Olympics has always been greater than the share of female athletes. The first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896 was exclusively for male competitors, and although some female events were introduced in Paris in 1900, the share of events was just 2.2 percent. Over the next century, the share of female to male events has grown gradually, and at a faster rate in recent decades. In spite of this growth, the share of female and mixed events is still just 45 percent of the total, however a number of mixed shooting and relay events are being introduced at the Tokyo Games in 2020, in an attempt to increase these numbers.

Distribution of male and female athletes participating at the Summer Olympics from 1896 to 2016

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Source

Release date

2016

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

1896 to 2016

Supplementary notes

The total number of participating athletes in each year is as follows:
1896 - 241
1900 - 997
1904 - 651
1908 - 2,008
1912 - 2,407
1920 - 2,622
1924 - 3,088
1928 - 2,883
1932 - 1,334
1936 - 3,963
1948 - 4,104
1952 - 4,955
1956 - 3,314
1960 - 5,338
1964 - 5,151
1968 - 5,516
1972 - 7,134
1976 - 6,084
1980 - 5,179
1984 - 6,829
1988 - 8,391
1992 - 9,356
1996 - 10,318
2000 - 10,651
2004 - 10,625
2008 - 10,942
2012 - 10,568
2016 - 11,238

*Estimate

**The source only provides data relating to the number of female athletes; the number of male athletes has been calculated by subtracting the female figures from 100.

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Statistics on "History of the Summer Olympics"

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