Flag football is officially one of five new sports added to the Olympic program for the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
On Monday in Mumbai at the 141st International Olympic Committee (IOC) session, it was announced that flag football, baseball/softball, cricket, lacrosse and squash would be included at the Games.
It will be the first time that flag football and squash will be in an Olympic Games.
Cricket was included in the Paris Olympics in 1900, while lacrosse was included at St. Louis 1904 and London 1908. Baseball and softball have been in several Olympics, most recently in 2021 for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
“The choice of these five new sports is in line with the American sports culture and will showcase iconic American sports to the world, while bringing international sports to the United States. These sports will make the Olympic Games LA28 unique,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement.
“Their inclusion will allow the Olympic Movement to engage with new athlete and fan communities in the US and globally.”
The IOC explained that the process to decide upon the addition of the five sports took a plethora of different criteria, including looking at how popular the sport is in both the US and globally.
Flag football, baseball, softball and lacrosse are sports which are traditionally popular in the US.
Lacrosse will be competed in the ‘sixes’ format of the game – a fast-paced, compact version of the sport at the intersection of field and box lacrosse. According to World Lacrosse: “It offers an inclusionary opportunity to all lacrosse athletes and an easier entry point for new players, and is characterized by an accelerated, open style of play with quick transitions and non-stop, high-scoring action.”
It added: “Developed in 2018, sixes has advanced global growth, increased accessibility and approachability, created greater competitive balance, and reduced cost and complexity of participation and event staging. It is the next generation version of the game.”
Cricket, while a popular sport around the globe, has had little interest in the US until earlier this year when the inaugural season of Major League Cricket – a competition focused on the shorter format of the game – took place.
“I have long believed that we have an incredible opportunity in Los Angeles to create the most compelling Games, not just for us, but for the world. Our Olympic sport program, in its entirety, reflects this belief,” the chairperson of the 2028 Games’ organizing committee, Casey Wasserman, said.
“We are excited to embark on game-changing collaborations with major professional leagues that will unlock massive opportunities to amplify the Olympic and Paralympic story and captivate new audiences.”