The International Olympic Committee announced it has accepted a proposal by local organizers of the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles to add baseball/softball, cricket, flag football, lacrosse and squash to the event’s sports program.
The Los Angeles Olympics will mark the first time ever that flag football and squash have been played. Baseball and softball were included most recently at the Tokyo games in 2020, while cricket was played during Paris Olympics in 1900 and lacrosse was included in the program in St. Louis in 1904 and in London in 1908.
“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 U.S. and globally.”
LA28 organizers announced earlier this month they were proposing to add the five sports, saying they would reflect the “diversity, optimism and creativity” of Los Angeles.
In a statement Monday, LA28 Chair Casey Wasserman said, “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 programme, in its entirety, reflects this belief. 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.”
According to the IOC, sports are selected for the Games after an analysis of various criteria, including gender equality. It also considered the “utilization of existing facilities, involving a wide range of sports communities both in the United States and globally, and incorporating some of the most popular sports in the United States and across the globe.”
USA Baseball CEO Paul Seiler issued a statement saying he was “thrilled” to have baseball/softball in the lineup.
“The inclusion of baseball and softball will undoubtedly enhance the experience of the Games, as both sports have enjoyed global success in recent years and deserve to be celebrated on the international stage,” Seiler said.
“It is exciting to be able to return to the place that kickstarted baseball being on the Olympic Programme, as well as a location that boasts numerous professional teams and some of the most iconic players in today’s game. USA Baseball takes great pride in showcasing the nation’s best players in international competition, and we can’t wait for the opportunity to do so on home soil.”
Team USA has won six baseball medals in the Olympics in seven
appearances. The United States won gold in 1988 and 2000, silver in 2020 and bronze in 1984, 1996 and 2008.
Softball made its debut as an Olympic event in 1996, when Team USA won gold. The United States won gold medals in the 2000 and 2004, and silver medals in 2008 and 2020.
“We are delighted that baseball and softball have been confirmed as part of the sports program at the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028 by the IOC Session,” World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari said in a statement. “The WBSC firmly believes that baseball and softball will help millions of fans engage with the Olympic Games, especially with USA being home to many of the sports’ best players and biggest stars from across the world. It is going to be an electric atmosphere in L.A. where the best baseball and softball athletes in the world will have the opportunity to play on the biggest stage in front of a global audience of billions.”
The 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles are set to begin on July 14, 2028 and run through July 30.
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