Squash has been campaigning for Olympic inclusion for decades, and the IOC has shortlisted it as a potential showcase sport in Los Angeles in 2028. Photo © Mike K. | Dreamstime.com
Who’s getting an invitation to the big dance in 2028? It’s still unclear but last week, selected showcase sports made their presentations to the IOC for LA 2028 inclusion as showcase sports.
Motorsports, cricket, karate, baseball and softball, lacrosse, breaking, kickboxing, squash and flag football all met virtually with the IOC, according to Inside The Games.
A quick breakdown of these sports, as mentioned by SwimSwan, is as follows:
- T20 cricket, which is launching a major professional league in the US in 2023 and was last contested at the 1900 Games;
- Baseball and softball, which appeared at the 2008 and 2020 Olympics but was absent in 2012, 2016, and will be absent in Paris 2024;
- Karate, which made its debut in Tokyo 2020 but won’t be in Paris 2024;
- Break dancing, which will debut in Paris after a successful run at the Youth Olympic Games;
- Lacrosse, which was on the Olympic program in St. Louis 1904 and London 1908 and was a demonstration sport at three other Olympic Games. (It was also featured at the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama this summer).
- Flag football, which appeared at its first international multi-sport event at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, and was an Olympic demonstration sport in 1904 and 1932;
- Kickboxing – While MMA is not an Olympic discipline, fans of this discipline of martial arts view it as a way for MMA to get its foot into the Olympic door.
- Squash – this sport has never been in the Games and has been passed up cycle after cycle.
- Motor sports, one of the most-watched sports in the USA, was a surprise finalist. While the International Automobile Federation (FIA) has not confirmed what discipline they will present, it is expected to be e-karting. (Sorry, NASCAR and IndyCar).
Sports that will return from both Tokyo and Paris, according to the IOC, are surfing, skateboarding and competitive climbing.
So what happens next? All these sports will be winding up the spin cycle. Inside The Games notes that the IOC will be evaluating potential sports “on a six-point criteria list which includes supporting environmental stability, upholding integrity and fairness, and recognizing both interest in the host country and offering global appeal.”
According to SwimSwam, The LA 2028 Games also have a cap of 10,500 athletes, which will be the fewest since Atlanta in 1996. That could mean that individual sports (like squash and karate) could have a better chance than team sports (like baseball/softball, lacrosse, cricket and flag football). However, there is no hard cap on the number of events that can be included in the Olympic Games, aside from those of participant limits and financial/environmental sustainability policies.
The IOC has already confirmed that 28 sports will be present in Los Angeles 2028, with the opportunity for the embattled federations of boxing, weightlifting, and modern pentathlon to join them if various issues are worked out.
Some sports whose governing bodies had been campaigning for inclusion in L.A. (among them ultimate, cheer, teqball and bowling) will have to wait for another cycle.
Final approval of the additional disciplines the Los Angeles 2028 Organizing Committee chooses to include is expected to be made at the IOC Session in Mumbai in September or October of next year. (The Organizing Committee was supposed to have heard presentations over the summer but the date was pushed back). And the IOC, for its part, has simply said the process was “ongoing.”