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Which Sports Do More Americans Participate In?

Wednesday, 20 Apr 2011 | 4:34 PM ET

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association has put out its list of sport by sport participation in the United States. This is one of these lists that each year I'm completely fascinated with. So here is the best of the best from 2010:

Boston Marathon
AP
Boston Marathon

• Birdwatching is among the top 10 activities Americans aged 55-64 would like to do.

• More than 49 million people now run, up 12.6% in 2010 and up 57.4% over the last decade.

• An amazing 1.9 million people participated in triathlons in 2010, up 63.7 percent from the year before.

• The treadmill is being used by 42.5% more Americans than it was in 2000, while the amount of people that use the cross country ski machine is down 52.9 percent.

• The fastest rising piece of gym equipment is the elliptical trainer, which was used by 28.1 million people in 2010, up from 7.3 million in 2000.

• Between 2008 and 2010, yoga participation increased by 23 percent.

• Water sports are suffering. Over the last decade, jet skiing (down 18.2%), scuba diving (down 26.8 percent) and water skiing (down 44.8%) have all been affected. The only water sport on the rise? Surfing, up 26.3 percent in the last 10 years.

• Despite the growth of the NFL, tackle football participation is down 16.1 percent over the last decade.

• The fastest growing sport over the last decade is lacrosse (up 218 percent), even though the numbers are small. For example, nine times more people participate in baseball than lacrosse.

• In the oddball category, there are 3.2 million cheerleaders in this country, up 22.7% in 2000 and 19.4 million people now play ping pong, up a whopping 53 percent in the last decade.

• Things aren't good if it has wheels. All down over the last decade? Roller skating (63.6 percent), roller hockey (down 65.3 percent) and skateboarding (30.9 percent).

• Other sports that are on a huge decline over the last decade include wrestling (44.2 percent) and slow-pitch softball (37.9 percent).

• The saddest number in the report? 36 percent of all inactive Americans are under 34 years old.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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