Olympics Finally Add Beloved American Sports to Program
The 2028 Summer Olympics are still a few years away, and while athletes and spectators around the world are currently gearing up for the 2024 Games in Paris, the International Olympic Committee is firming up the program for the 2028 edition in Los Angeles. This includes the addition of some beloved American sports to the lineup.
The IOC just approved the addition of flag football, baseball-softball, lacrosse, squash, and cricket to the Games, opening the door to players from around the globe to showcase their talents on the world stage. Most of them will be returning to the Olympic program after many years out of the spotlight, while one will be making its official Olympic debut in L.A.
LA28 organizing committee chairman Casey Wasserman told IOC members that the move is being done in hopes to elevate the sports to permanent or near-permanent places in the Olympic program. “We want L.A. 2028 to have the same springboard effect for our five sports,” he stressed, per ESPN. “In L.A. we are dreamers and doers. ”
While full-contact American football has been a demonstration sport in past U.S. Olympics, the sport in any form has never been an official medal-awarding game until now. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell emphasized the league’s dedication to ensuring it remains an Olympic staple for years to come. “The NFL is committed to working together to strengthen flag football’s place in the Olympic movement long term,” he said in a statement. For what it’s worth, Rob Gronkowski is already prepared to hit the field in 2028.
Both baseball and softball have been at the Olympics many times over the years, most recently at the 2020 Games in Tokyo. Though they were pushed out of the Olympic program in 2024 to make way for sports like breakdancing, they’re both set to return when the Games come stateside in the next Olympiad. Interestingly, though breakdancing originated in the U.S. and will be a part of the Paris Olympics, it didn’t make the cut for 2028.
Lacrosse, the first sport ever played on the American continent, has been played twice at the Olympics, but not in a medal-awarding capacity since 1908. Cricket similarly hasn’t been an Olympic sport since the early 20th century, making its first and only appearance at the 1900 Games in Paris. Squash, meanwhile, will join the Olympic program for the first time in history after several failed attempts in past Games.
For now, the world’s attention is set on the next Summer Olympics in Paris, now less than a year away. Once the closing ceremony is over, however, the countdown to the first U.S. Olympics in nearly three decades begins.