The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved a proposal by Los Angeles 2028 to add five additional sports to its program for the 2028 Games. The sports that will be added are baseball/softball, cricket (T20), flag football, lacrosse (sixes), and squash. These sports will join other recently debuted sports such as skateboarding and surfing.
Flag football and squash will be making their first appearance in the Olympic program, while baseball and softball, cricket, and lacrosse will be making their return. The IOC has not yet made a decision on whether boxing will be included at LA28 due to uncertainty surrounding its governing body.
The addition of these sports to the Olympic program reflects the goal of attracting younger viewers. LA28 Chairperson Casey Wasserman believes that collaborations with major professional leagues will help amplify the Olympic and Paralympic story and captivate new audiences.
The return of baseball and softball to an American-based Games is seen as a powerful force for developing the sports at a youth level. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has committed significant resources to developing talent and increasing youth participation in baseball and softball.
Cricket's return to the Olympics after more than 100 years was announced at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup. South African cricketer AB de Villiers expressed excitement about reaching a wider global audience and the opportunity for cricketers to win an Olympic gold medal.
Lacrosse, which originated as a game played among Indigenous tribes in the US and Canada, has become one of America's fastest-growing sports. Its inclusion in LA28 is seen as fitting, considering its popularity and the existence of professional lacrosse organizations.
The return of softball and lacrosse to the Games provides a major opportunity for female athletes, as the Olympics strive for gender parity. Paris 2024 will achieve full gender parity, with an equal number of men and women competing.
Squash, another sport being added, will benefit from an Olympic boost in terms of building its youth participation network and elevating women and men. World Squash Federation President Zena Wooldridge believes squash is perfectly suited for the Olympic Games.
Flag football will use the Olympics to showcase its growth, especially at the youth and women's levels. With concerns about head injuries in tackle football, flag football provides a safer alternative and has been experiencing significant growth.
The full LA28 sport program can be viewed on the LA28 website. The Paralympic sport program will be determined by the International Paralympic Committee, with a determination on any new sports LA28 may put forward for inclusion to be made by the end of 2023.