LA Wants These 5 Sports Added to the 2028 Olympics

Flag football will likely be included at the games in 2028
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 9, 2023 1:23 PM CDT
Grab the Flag for Gold in Los Angeles? It Looks Like It
Ottawa quarterback Madysen Carrera (21) is tackled by Midland defender Casey Thompson, left, during an NAIA flag football game in Ottawa, Kan., March 26, 2021.   (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)

Flag football took a key step toward becoming an Olympic sport in 2028, a victory for the NFL and organizers in Los Angeles who want to bring a distinctly American sport to the Summer Games as they return to the United States for the first time in 32 years. Two people familiar with a proposal from the Los Angeles organizing committee told the AP on Monday that the committee had delivered its proposal to the International Olympic Committee, setting it up for an IOC vote next Monday. The Los Angeles Times explains the host city has the option of suggesting additions to the standard roster of 28 sports; the paper expects Los Angeles' list of five "new" sports to be approved.

Other sports on Los Angeles' list include baseball and softball (these count as one sport)—which were in the Tokyo Games in 2021 but will not be played next year in Paris—lacrosse, squash, and cricket. The Guardian reports cricket made an appearance at a single Olympics, in Paris in 1900. The paper had earlier reported that cricket was "very likely" going to be played at the 2028 games "given the IOC's desire to tap into India's huge population and financial resources." Out is breakdancing, which will be a one-and-done after its debut in Paris next year. Others not making the cut: motorsports, kickboxing, and karate.

Unclear is whether other sports will have to trim the number of medal events to help the IOC adhere to the limit it set of 10,500 athletes at a Summer Olympics. The addition of five team sports will inflate the number of participants. Flag football is a less-violent cousin of America's most popular sport, one the NFL has been selling in Europe, Mexico, and Japan for decades. This year, the NFL placed three games in London and two games in Germany on its schedule.

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Flag football, in which "tackles" are made by pulling a flag off a belt worn by each player, would be a 5-on-5 affair played on a 50-yard field. There aren't offensive and defensive linemen. At the World Games last year, the US men won the gold medal but the women fell to Mexico in the final. While flag football will feel familiar to the home fans, cricket will be a steep learning curve. Hugely popular in India, Australia, and Britain, it is virtually unknown in the United States. A version called Twenty20—a shorter version of the original game—is proposed for the schedule in Los Angeles.

(More Olympics stories.)

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