Sports are a central part of Norwegian culture, and popular sports include Association football, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ski jumping and, to a lesser degree, ice hockey. Association football is the most popular sport in Norway in terms of active membership. In 2014-15 polling, football ranked far behind biathlon and cross-country skiing in terms of popularity as spectator sports. Ice hockey is the biggest indoor sport. The men's national hockey team climbed ten places in the IIHF World Ranking from 2004 to 2014.

The Norwegian national football team has participated three times in the FIFA World Cup (1938, 1994, 1998), and once in the European Championship (2000). The highest FIFA ranking Norway has achieved is 2nd, a position it has held twice, in 1993 and in 1995.

Chess is also gaining popularity in Norway. Magnus Carlsen is the current world champion. There are about 10 Grandmasters and 29 International Masters in Norway.

Norway first participated at the Olympic Games in 1900, and has sent athletes to compete in every Games since then, except for the sparsely attended 1904 Games and the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow when they participated in the American-led boycott. Famous Norwegian winter sport athletes are, for instance, biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen and cross country skiers Marit Bjørgen and Bjørn Dæhlie.

Norway has hosted the Games on two occasions:

1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo
1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer