A closer look at the five sports given the go-ahead for the 2028 Olympic Games

By Sports Desk October 16, 2023

Five sports – cricket, squash, baseball/softball, lacrosse and flag football – will either be making their Olympic debut or returning to the programme at the Los Angeles 2028 Games.

The proposal was approved at the International Olympic Committee Session in Mumbai on Monday, with only two delegates voting against the new events.

Here, the PA news agency looks at all of the confirmed additions and picks out a few current British standouts in each.

Cricket

Cricket returns to the Games for the first time in 128 years in the form of six-team men’s and women’s T20 tournaments. It last featured as a men’s-only competition for the Paris Olympic Games in 1900, which means Great Britain’s men will somewhat be going into the competition as defending champions, while the sport’s inclusion is also hailed as a brilliant showcase for the exponentially-growing women’s game.

Leading lights: Sophie Ecclestone/Sam Curran

Squash

Squash, one of the sports debuting at LA 2028, has been overlooked by the IOC at the past three Games, and the squash community reacted with incredulity at being ignored in favour of breakdancing for Paris 2024. Monday’s announcement will be welcome news for Great Britain, with three English players currently within the men’s and women’s world top-10 rankings, boasting world and Commonwealth titles between them.

Leading Lights: Mohamed ElShorbagy/Georgina Kennedy

Baseball/Softball

Great Britain’s baseball and fastpitch softball teams have never been in a better position to qualify for an Olympic Games. Not only did the men’s baseball team qualify for and play in a maiden World Baseball Classic – a bit like the sport’s World Cup this year – they also won a game and did enough to qualify for the next edition, following that up with a third-ever European silver medal in September.

GB’s softball team were one win away from making the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – where the sports last featured – and are currently ranked 12th in the latest WBSC World Rankings. They beat a tough challenger in world number three Chinese Taipei earlier this year and, like their baseball counterparts, hold the European silver medal with promising talent in the pipeline.

Leading Lights: Harry Ford/Georgina Corrick

Lacrosse

Like cricket, lacrosse is preparing for its return to the Olympics for the first time in over a century, having last been included on the programme at St Louis 1904 and London 1908. Sixes, the format premiering in Los Angeles, has been described by World Lacrosse as a “fast-paced and compact” version of the game sometimes likened to The Hundred in cricket. Great Britain narrowly missed the podium at the 2022 World Games, placing fourth in both the men’s and women’s competitions, but could certainly be contenders in LA.

Leading lights: Tom Bracegirdle/Claire Faram

Flag Football

Flag football, a variant of American football, will also make its Olympic debut in just under five years’ time. Unlike the NFL, flag is a pacey non-contact sport where tackles are made by pulling flags off players’ hips. Great Britain’s women are ranked 20th in the world and are the reigning European champions, while the NFL this year launched its first girls’ flag league as part of ambitions to grow the game in the UK.

Leading lights: Brittany Botterill/Charlie Williams

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