Sports in the United States are an important part of  American culture. American football is the most popular sport to watch in the United States, followed by basketball, baseball, and soccer. Hockey, tennis, golf, wrestling, auto racing, arena football, field lacrosse, box lacrosse and volleyball are also popular sports in the country. Based on Olympic Games, World Championships, the United States is the most successful sports nation in the world.

You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.

Michael Phelps

Based on revenue, the four major professional sports leagues in the United States are Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), and the National Hockey League (NHL).

Popular team sports

The most popular team sports in the United States are American football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, and soccer. All five of these team sports are popular with fans, are widely watched on television, have a fully professional league, are played by millions of Americans, enjoy varsity status at many Division I colleges, and are played in high schools throughout the country.

Other team sports

Lacrosse is a team sport that is believed to have originated with the Iroquois and the Lenape. The sport is most popular in the East Coast area from Maryland to New York. While its roots remain east, lacrosse is currently the fastest growing sport in the nation. The National Lacrosse League is the national box league, while the Premier Lacrosse League is the professional Field Lacrosse league. Major League Lacrosse is a semi-professional Field Lacrosse league also operating nationally.

  • Volleyball
  • Rugby union
  • Ultimate and disc sports

Olympics

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is the National Olympic Committee for the United States. U.S. athletes have won a total of 2,522 medals (1,022 of them being gold) at the Summer Olympic Games and another 305 at the Winter Olympic Games. Most medals have been won in the sport of athletics (track and field) (801, 32%) and swimming (553, 22%).

American swimmer Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, with 28 Olympic medals, 23 of them gold.

The United States has sent athletes to every celebration of the modern Olympic Games except the 1980 Summer Olympics hosted by the Soviet Union in Moscow, which it boycotted because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The United States has won gold at every games in which it has competed, more gold and overall medals than any other country in the Summer Games and also has the second-most gold and overall medals in the Winter Games, trailing only Norway.

From the mid-20th century to the late 1980s, the United States mainly competed with the Soviet Union at the Summer Games and with the Soviet Union, Norway, and East Germany at the Winter Games. However, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it now primarily contends with China and Great Britain at the Summer Games for both the overall medal count and the gold medal count and with Norway and Canada at the Winter Games for the overall medal count.

 

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