With a final vote by the IOC, we now know for sure that the LA 2028 Organizing Committee will have five showcase sports: flag football, baseball/softball, cricket, lacrosse and squash.
And that could mean some real boons for those sports in the USA in years to come. Not you, baseball and softball. Oh, and you, too, lacrosse. Take a seat. You’re already in the popular crowd here. But for sports that are still growing in the USA, like flag football, cricket and squash, it’s big news.
The party started on October 10 when the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee (LA28) announced that it had made its five choices and proposed them.
According to the Washington Post: “Many Olympic observers anticipated that the T20 version of cricket, flag football and baseball and softball would be in the proposal LA 28 leaders made to the International Olympic Committee. Cricket has many wealthy backers in India, getting flag football into the Olympics has been a top priority of the NFL, and Major League Baseball has wanted baseball and softball back in the Olympics.
But lacrosse and squash are surprises, mainly because the IOC caps the number of Summer Games athletes at 10,500, and L.A.’s proposal means the numbers are likely to blow past that limit. Organizers have been studying the feasibility of some disciplines in established Olympic sports (such as certain races or weight categories) and have considered pulling those disciplines to make room for the new sports.”
It will be interesting to see the domino effect of the new additions. Some new disciplines have been announced already; in fact, just last week, USRowing noted that Beach Sprint Rowing has been officially added to the LA 2028 program.
Additionally, according to Inside The Games, “modern pentathlon (with obstacle racing replacing the equestrian component) and weightlifting have also been restored to the program. But the status of boxing remains unclear with the International Boxing Association (IBA) having been kicked out of the Olympic Movement and World Boxing, a breakaway rival body, having failed to so far summon the support it was expected to."
This comes on the heels of the news that IOC director general Christophe De Kepper has "guaranteed" that boxing will feature at Los Angeles 2028.”
The adoption of the five new sports for LA 28 has left (quite) a few sports out in the proverbial cold. Among those is breaking, which is due to make its debut as a showcase sport in 2024 in Paris.
The World DanceSport Federation said it was “profoundly disappointed” by the outcome. Karate, motorsport and kickboxing were also excluded from the recommendation. (Karate appeared in 2020 but has not been showcased since that time; motorsport and kickboxing have never appeared.)
And while many in the USA might be shaking their heads over the inclusion of cricket, it is a sport that is growing quickly in this country, propelled by demographic shifts. Cricket was last played in the Games in Paris 1900. It is likely the format to be used at the Olympics will be T20, which results in a shortened, more television-friendly game.
If that upsets purists, it is essential to note that the concept of format changes is nothing new to the Olympics. Lacrosse was last featured in the Olympics in 1904 and 1908; however, the format proposed for Los Angeles in five years’ time is Lacrosse Sixes, which uses a smaller field, smaller teams and faster play.
And the news from the IOC just keeps on coming. It is expected that the Winter Olympics will be a double award (meaning the IOC will announce the host cities of both the 2030 and 2034 Games at the same time. Salt Lake City has indicated its interest in hosting the 2034 Games; it is avoiding bidding on the 2030 date in order to avoid conflict with the Summer Games in 2028.
An issue of great concern to the IOC is the rapidly diminishing number of potential hosts for the Winter Olympics; climate change has wreaked havoc on formerly dependable destinations. Bach noted in an interview, "The Future Host Commission reported that the studies are works in progress and the final results will be presented in due course, but the preliminary results already show that we need to adapt the Olympic Winter Games given the impact of climate change. In collaboration with the winter sports community, we need to look for solutions for the future."
A decision is expected to be made later, after the IOC talks with potential hosts; a target date of around the time of the Paris 2024 Games has been given for any announcement.