Cricket is set to return to the Olympics after a 128-year absence after being added to Los Angeles 2028’s (LA28) burgeoning program alongside squash, lacrosse, flag football, and baseball/softball.
LA28 has recommended the five sports for “potential inclusion” as new disciplines to the LA Olympics, which will be reviewed and ratified this week by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at its executive board meeting in Mumbai, India, between October 12 and 14.
The IOC was initially set to decide on the new sports for LA28 during its executive board meeting on September 8, but this was delayed due to ongoing deliberations between the LA28 organizing committee and the IOC over which sports should be included.
Host cities are able to propose sports they would like added to their Olympic program that will be beneficial and popular with the home crowd.
In a statement, LA28’s chairperson Casey Wasserman said: “LA28's proposed sports ignite the imagination on the field of play and drive culture off it. They're relevant, innovative, and community-based, played in backyards, schoolyards, community centers, stadiums, and parks across the U.S. and the globe.
"They will bring new athletes to the Games, engage diverse fanbases, and expand the Games' presence in digital spaces, further amplifying LA28's mission to deliver an unparalleled experience.”
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ICC chairman Greg Barclay added: “We are delighted that LA28 has recommended cricket for inclusion in the Olympics.
“Whilst this is not the final decision, it is a very significant landmark towards seeing cricket at the Olympics for the first time in more than a century.”
Cricket’s only previous appearance at the Olympics was during Paris 1900 when it was one of 18 sports to be included. Great Britain and France played in the only match.
During its presentation to LA28, the ICC recommended a six-team Twenty20 event for both men and women comprising the top-six ranked sides in the ICC’s men’s and women’s T20 rankings on a cut-off date.
The short-format T20 iteration has proved popular around the world since its inception around 20 years ago, particularly in India through the Indian Premier League. The league’s 2023 final in May generated 32 million concurrent viewers via streaming.
Flag football’s bid for inclusion, meanwhile, was backed by American football’s top-tier National Football League. The non-contact sport is a five-a-side game, played on a smaller pitch. Instead of tackling, players pull a flag off the person retaining the ball.
Baseball also returns to the Olympic program after missing out on Paris 2024. It was included during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to the sport’s popularity in Japan alongside karate, skateboarding, surfing, and climbing but was left off the programs of both London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Squash, meanwhile, has been bidding for Olympic inclusion for years but has been rejected four times – for London 2012, Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020, and Paris 2024.
Elsewhere, Lacrosse previously appeared on the Olympics program in 1904 and 1908.
The five proposed sports would come in addition to the 28 Olympic sports in LA28’s initial sports program announced by the IOC in February 2022, including aquatics, archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, canoe, cycling, equestrian, fencing, soccer, golf, gymnastics, handball, hockey, judo, rowing, rugby, sailing, shooting, skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, and wrestling.
The LA28 Olympic Games is set to run from July 14 to July 30, 2028, while the LA28 Paralympic Games will run from August 15 to 27.