The shooting sport has been part of the Summer Olympics since the first-ever games. Interestingly, shooting did not have any international authority until 1907. The International Shooting Sport Federation was established by combining different country-wise federations.
Only after ISSF was formed, shooting had its first World Cup in 1986. The International Olympic Committee has given ISSF the authority for organizing and setting up rules in shooting sport for the Olympics.
However, there is a vast difference between shooting in the world cup and the Olympics. The most basic difference is the number of events.
Shooting events: Olympics vs World Cup
In 1986 the first ISSF World Cup in Mexico had only 8 events. The disciplines included were 10m air rifle, 10m air pistol, 50m rifle 3 positions, and 25m rapid fire pistol for both men and women.
Whereas, in the first Olympic games, there were only five male-specific events in shooting. The events were 100m military rifle, 300m free rifle 3 positions, 25m military pistol, 25m rapid fire pistol, and 30m free pistol.
At the upcoming Tokyo Olympics 2021, only 15 events have been included in the shooting sport. Whereas in the recently concluded ISSF World Cup in Croatia there were 29 events.
If we look at the events, the inclusion of team events is the most obvious difference. While in world cups there are team events for all the categories, in the Olympics there are none.
The mixed team events are the new addition in shooting at Tokyo Olympics this year. However, it has been only added to three events: 10m air rifle, 10m air pistol, and trap. On the other hand in world cups, a mixed team event has been introduced to all the events.
Another drastic change in Tokyo Olympics would be the exclusion of three world cup events: 50m rifle prone, 50m pistol, and double trap event. To date, 45 events have been removed from the ISSF World Cups.
Time period difference
The obvious difference is the time period, the Olympic Games are held once in four years. While the ISSF World Cups take place every year.
Four ISSF World Cups are held every year and three in the Olympic year. And, every alternate year an ISSF World Cup Final is conducted. In the Olympics final tournament the top eight shooters of the season, a maximum of two per country compete.Olympics are mega events and the pressure cannot be compared to the one at the ISSF World Cups. The world cups serve as the stepping stones to the Olympic games.