The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday announced that it has approved the addition of five different sports, including flag football, which will make its debut at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
The committee has approved flag football for the first time, as well as the return of cricket, baseball-softball, lacrosse and squash.
“Today is a momentous day for American football,” Scott Hallenbeck, CEO of USA Football, said in a statement. “We are incredibly thankful to the IOC and LA28 Organizing Committee for recognizing flag football as a sport worthy of inclusion in the Olympic Games, and we share our excitement and celebrate this historic occasion with the millions of flag football players across our country. The decision to add flag football to the 2028 Summer Olympic program in Los Angeles is an acknowledgment of the sport's tremendous international growth and appeal as a fast, exciting and competitive sport."
The expanding global opportunities for flag football are reflective of the sport’s staggering growth. In the United States alone, an annual participation study from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) in 2022, showed 7.1 million people participated in flag football while more than half a dozen states have sanctioned girls’ flag football as a varsity sport. Internationally, flag football is played by 20 million people in more than 100 countries.
For baseball and softball, cricket and lacrosse it will be a return to the Olympic Games, while flag football and squash will be making their Olympic debut in LA.
- Baseball and softball have been part of the programme at several editions of the Olympic Games, most recently at Tokyo 2020.
- Cricket was on the programme for the Olympic Games Paris 1900.
- Lacrosse was included on the programme at St Louis 1904 and London 1908.
- Flag football and squash will make their Olympic debut at LA28.
“The choice of these five new sports is in line with the American sports culture and will showcase iconic American sports to the world, while bringing international sports to the United States. These sports will make the Olympic Games LA28 unique,” said IOC president Thomas Bach, in a statement. “Their inclusion will allow the Olympic Movement to engage with new athlete and fan communities in the US and globally.”