Our online poll revealed 40% of Americans think they’re fit enough to compete in at least one summer or winter sport at the Olympics.

In our nationally representative survey of 1,000 U.S. residents, two in five respondents said they believed they have what it takes to be an Olympic athlete.

That includes three times as many men as women (60% vs. 22%), half of all respondents from the Northeast (52%) and almost 70% of those under the age of 35.

Basketball, football/soccer and swimming proved particularly popular choices  — alongside one amusing respondent who answered “any one [sport] that is not stressful.”

Survey results: How do Americans feel about the Olympics 2020

New Olympic events

Our study also delved into what Americans think of the five new events added to the 2020 Tokyo games: skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing, softball and baseball —  which the International Olympics Committee (IOC) has chosen to recognize as one category — and karate.

While those polled were generally accepting of all five event categories, roughly one in seven felt that the high-intensity rock climbing event should not have been included this year. 

On the other hand, softball/baseball and karate received much more favorite receptions, as about two-thirds of respondents actively welcomed these events into the Games this year.

And when asked about worthy additions to upcoming Games, survey-takers were more likely to cite mixed martial arts and lacrosse than cheerleading, which the International Olympic Committee only just recently recognized as an eligible sport. 

  1. MMA (42%)
  2. Lacrosse (40%)
  3. Bowling (39%)
  4. Cricket (31%)
  5. Cheerleading (30%)
80 percent of survey respondents have followed Olympics coverage

How popular were the Games this year?

As of Wednesday, July 28 when the survey was launched, almost eight in 10 respondents had tuned in to some of the Olympic coverage this year, including 47% who watched the Opening Ceremony on July 23.

By contrast, one in five respondents admitted that they’re “very uninterested” in the proceedings this year. 

And regardless of how much they’ve watched, 44% agreed that the Olympics is “overrated,” including fewer women than men (38% vs 52%).

Another 55% argued that the Olympics should have been cancelled this year rather than postponed, while another 69% are actively worried about the event triggering an increase in the global COVID-19 infection rate.

Forty-six percent even believe that the games should be hosted in a permanent structure rather than moved from host country to host country, mirroring the IOC’s recent sustainability policy that relies on already-existing stadiums for Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028. 

This OnePoll online survey was conducted on July 28th 2021, with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Americans. As members of AAPOR – the American Association for Public Opinion Research, OnePoll researchers adhere to the principles and actions set out in the AAPOR Code.