Cricket, squash, baseball/softball, lacrosse, and flag football will all be included in the Olympics programme at the Los Angeles Games in 2028.
The proposal was approved at the International Olympic Committee Session in Mumbai on Monday, with only two delegates voting against the new events.
Cricket returns to the Games for the first time in 128 years in the form of six-team men’s and women’s T20 tournaments, lacrosse for the first time as a medal sport since 1908 while baseball has featured at the Olympics several times.
The proposal from the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028 (@LA28) to include five new sports in the programme has been accepted by the IOC Session.
Baseball/softball, cricket (T20), flag football, lacrosse (sixes) and squash will be in the programme at…
— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) October 16, 2023
Flag football, a non-contact format of American football, and squash are included for the first time.
IOC president Thomas Bach had described cricket’s inclusion in the LA2028 programme as a “win-win situation” when he spoke about it on Friday.
“The Olympic Games will give cricket a global stage and the opportunity to grow beyond the traditional cricket countries and regions,” Bach said.
“And for the Olympic Movement, it’s the opportunity to engage with fan and athlete communities to which so far we have very little or even no access.”
Bach insisted he did not have to twist the LA organisers’ arms to include cricket on its list of prospective new sports, in spite of it being very much an emerging sport still in the United States.
“It did not take anything to convince them,” the German said.
“The idea first came up in a dinner I shared with Casey Wasserman (the chairman of LA 2028) at the athletics World Championships in Eugene last year.
“Casey saw already the great potential (of cricket) and was highlighting it himself. So there was not much work to do, if any.”
Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley welcomed the sport’s inclusion in the 2028 programme and hoped it would remain in place for the Brisbane Games in 2032.
“This is a game-changer for our sport that is already among the fastest growing in the world,” Hockley said.
“The Olympic Games will undoubtedly increase the global reach of cricket, inspiring a whole new generation to love and play the game.
“The opportunity to win an Olympic medal also provides a new and exciting opportunity for our champion women’s and men’s teams.
“We look forward to working with the Australian Olympic Committee in the lead-up to the Los Angeles Games and are hopeful this will be the start of a long-standing relationship between cricket and the Olympics, including for Brisbane 2032.”
Phil Collier, the head coach of Great Britain’s lacrosse team, described the sport’s inclusion as “great news”, adding: “The global spread of lacrosse in recent years has come alongside a rise in standards of play, and a speeding up of the game. At the top international level, Sixes Lacrosse showcases the best of that. Great athleticism alongside incredible and innovative stick skills.
“What’s really exciting is knowing that right now, there are young players in schools, clubs and universities across the UK that can start to chase their own Olympic dreams, motivated to work hard to be the best lacrosse player they can be and to represent Great Britain at the Olympic Games.”
The #IOC Session in Mumbai, India, today conferred Full Recognition for IFAF.
IFAF President @pierretrochet has written to member federations to express his delight and gratitude.
— Int’l Fed of American Football (@IFAFMedia) October 15, 2023
The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) hailed flag football’s inclusion at LA.
Diana Flores, the chair of the IFAF athletes committee, said: “To compete in the Olympic Games is the ultimate dream of every athlete, and millions of flag football players around the world will go to sleep dreaming of Los Angeles 2028 tonight.
“I want to thank everyone who has made this possible – including all my fellow athletes and ambassadors who have played such a central role in driving the project forward.
“Together, we are determined to use this incredible stage to showcase the best of flag football – its speed, athleticism and creativity, and also its power to transform lives and include new communities in sports.
“As an athlete community, we are proud to be leading the way, but our goal must be to use this opportunity to inspire, lift up and empower a new generation around the world.”
By PA Sport Staff
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