LA 2028 Olympics propose adding flag football, baseball, softball, more sports
Organizers for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics want to add flag football (separate men’s and women’s events), baseball, softball, cricket, lacrosse and squash for their edition of the Games.
The IOC Executive Board will review the proposal and can put it forward for ratification at an IOC session next Monday, according to LA 2028.
Recent IOC reforms allow Olympic hosts to propose adding sports solely for their edition of the Games.
For Tokyo 2020, baseball, softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were added.
For Paris 2024, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were approved again, and breaking will make its Olympic debut.
Skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing have already been extended through LA 2028. Breaking is not on the 2028 Olympic program.
“In building the Olympic sport program, we were willing to challenge the status quo and think differently about what’s possible for the Games in Los Angeles,” LA 2028 CEO Kathy Carter said in a press release. “We approached the process holistically and authentically, ensuring that our decisions were grounded in the Games’ commitment to fiscal responsibility. And we’ve landed on a bold and balanced proposal that will energize the Games with culturally relevant competition and boundless possibility.”
No form of American football has ever been an Olympic medal sport. Football was a demonstration (non-medal) sport at the 1932 LA Olympics. One game was played between college players from Yale, Harvard and Princeton versus Cal, Stanford and USC, according to Olympedia.org.
The sport took steps toward the Olympics in recent years. The NFL recently helped lead the push for flag football specifically.
The 2022 World Games, an international multi-sport competition with mostly non-Olympic sports, had men’s and women’s flag football tournaments. The U.S. won the men’s event, while Mexico beat the U.S. in the women’s final in Birmingham, Alabama.
At the World Games, five players from a team were on the field at one time on a 50-yard field that’s narrower than in the NFL. No active NFL players took part. LA 2028 has not announced details of its proposed flag football format.
Baseball and softball were Olympic medal sports from 1992 and 1996, respectively, through 2008. They were cut from the Olympic program in an IOC members vote, then re-added for Tokyo 2020 through organizers’ request (unsurprising given their popularity in Japan). They will not be played at the 2024 Paris Games.
In an early LA Olympic bid plan (back in 2015, when it was bidding for 2024), Dodger Stadium was listed as a baseball and softball venue if the sports were added. LA 2028 organizers have not announced venue plans for the proposed new sports.
Dodger Stadium hosted baseball as a demonstration sport at the 1984 Games. The U.S. roster included Mark McGwire, Barry Larkin and Will Clark.
Since the Olympics take place during the MLB season, active big leaguers have never played in the Games.
Cricket was contested at the 1900 Paris Games but not since.
While test cricket matches can last up to five days, LA 2028 proposes the shorter Twenty20 version for Olympic inclusion.
From 2005 through 2013, squash was repeatedly on the short list of candidates to be added to the Olympics. It never happened.
In its last major push, it was one of three finalists for one spot in the Tokyo Olympic program in a 2013 vote. Wrestling won the vote to essentially retain its spot. Baseball and softball, the other joint candidate, was later added for the Tokyo Games. Squash was left out.
Lacrosse was an Olympic medal sport in 1904 and 1908 and a non-medal demonstration sport in 1928, 1932 and 1948. Only men took part back then, according to Olympedia.
The Olympic Charter states that approximately 10,500 athletes should compete at the Summer Games. But that number is not a hard limit. Rio in 2016 and Tokyo in 2021 each had more than 11,000 athletes.