(WCMH) — The Olympic Games are returning to the United States in 2028 and will see the Olympic debut of America’s most popular sport.
The International Olympic Committee voted on Monday to include flag football, cricket, lacrosse, and squash as new sports for the 2028 games in Los Angeles. Additionally, baseball and softball will return to the program after not being included in Paris for the 2024 Olympics.
Flag football’s inclusion marks the first time the sport will be showcased at a major international sporting event. The NFL’s recent expansion of international games in the regular season has helped grow an audience for football globally. “The NFL is committed to working together to strengthen flag football’s place in the Olympic movement long term,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement.
Lacrosse, considered the oldest organized sport in North America, is back in the Olympic program after being discontinued for more than 100 years. The sport was included as a competitive one in 1904 and 1908 and as a demonstration sport in 1928, 1932, and 1948. “The game’s return will be transformative for players and fans around the world,” said Paul Rabil, the co-founder and president of the Premier Lacrosse League.
The other North American sport coming back to the games is baseball/softball, which was an Olympic staple from 1984 to 2008. The IOC decided to remove each sport from the Olympic program in 2012 but it was brought back for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. The sport’s return was part of a new initiative for hosts to propose nationally popular sports. Team USA has only won gold once in baseball (2000) while the USA softball claimed the last two silver medals.
While not a mainstream sport in the United States, cricket is by far the most popular sport globally that was added to the 2028 program. The original bat-and-ball game invented in England in the 16th century is watched and played by hundreds of millions across the globe, primarily in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Africa. Olympic cricket will be in the T20 format, the shortest form of the sport to attract more spectators and viewers.
Finally, squash will be the fourth racket sport in the Olympic program for 2028 joining tennis, badminton, and table tennis. The indoor, walled racket game has never been in the Olympics despite its governing body being recognized by the IOC. “Squash is an amazingly dynamic, diverse and competitive sport that is perfectly suited for the Olympic Games,” wrote World Squash Federation president Zena Wooldridge.
The 2028 Summer Olympic games from Los Angeles begin on July 14, 2028 and will be broadcast on NBC4.
2028 Olympic sports
- Artistic Swimming
- Water Polo
- BMX Freestyle
- BMX Racing
- Mountain Biking
- Field Hockey
- Flag Football
- Modern Pentathlon
- Rugby sevens
- Sport climbing
- Table tennis