Five sports, including cricket and flag football, proposed for inclusion at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics were approved by the International Olympic Committee executive board on Friday, leaving them with one last hurdle to seal their Olympic spots.
Organisers of the LA 2028 Games said this week they wanted cricket, flag football, lacrosse, squash and baseball-softball added to the event.
Each host city, under IOC rules approved a few years ago, can request the inclusion of several sports for their edition of the Games.
“These proposals have been accepted as a package by the IOC Executive Board,” IOC President Thomas Bach told a press conference at the end of the executive board meeting.
“Taking into consideration that these proposals and these sports are fully in line with the sports culture of our hosts in 2028, with the American sports culture, they will showcase iconic American sports to the world while bringing at the same time international sports to the Unites States.”
The IOC session, starting on Sunday, will now have to rubberstamp the board’s recommendation.
Cricket, which enjoys a massive appeal in India and a quickly growing global audience, is set for an Olympic return after appearing once at the 1900 Games.
India is also considering bidding for future Olympics.
The Los Angeles Games proposal is for a six-team Twenty20 cricket tournament for men and women. T20 is a short format of the game.
“The inclusion (of these sports)… will allow the Olympic movement to engage with new athletes and fan communities in the United States and globally,” said Bach.
“We see the growing popularity of cricket, particularly the T20 format. “We are ready to welcome the world’s best players of cricket to perform in the United States in 2028.”
The IOC board also recommended the inclusion of modern pentathlon, after the international federation (UIPM) replaced horse riding with an obstacle running course following a horse-hitting scandal at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.
“UIPM was challenged…, finding a replacement for riding as one of the sport’s five disciplines, and that is exactly what we have done,” said UIPM president Klaus Schormann.
“Paying close attention to reducing the cost and complexity of the sport and adding appeal for youth and the general public.”
Weightlifting also secured its Olympic spot for Los Angeles after changes were made to its anti-doping testing procedures, among other things. Both sports had been provisionally left out of the LA Games.
While all five new sports’ inclusion is only for one edition of the Games, they are banking on the boost provided by Olympic participation to spur growth as they look to remain an attractive Olympic product going into the next four-year cycle.
Flag football is a non-contact format of American football played by teams of five.
Baseball was featured in several previous Games. It was added to the 2020 Tokyo program after being left off in 2012 and 2016, but it will not be a part of the Paris Games.
Softball, the female counterpart to baseball, has appeared at five previous editions of the Summer Games and was also left off the Paris agenda.