MUMBAI, India (AP) — Flag football and cricket were among five sports that took their next step Friday toward inevitably being added to the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee executive board recommended all five sports — including baseball-softball, lacrosse and squash — that were formally requested Monday by organizers of the LA Games.
The final elevation to the 2028 program should come Monday at a meeting of about 100 IOC members who typically rubberstamp the board’s views.
“These proposals have been accepted as a package,” said IOC president Thomas Bach, who chairs the 15-member board, hailing a showcase of “iconic American sports to the world while bringing at the same time international sports to the United States.”
Cricket is a big-ticket item for the IOC. The sport is expected to raise broadcast revenue from India by at least $100 million when the country’s favorite sport joins the Olympics.
“For the Olympic movement, it is the opportunity to engage with a fan and athlete community to which so far we did have very little or even no access,” Bach said at a news conference in Mumbai, where the IOC has a week of meetings.
Cricket in Los Angeles will involve six teams in each of the men’s and women’s tournaments playing in the shortened T20 format, the IOC said Friday. The select lineup, which includes the host U.S. team, means some established cricket-playing nations will miss out, maybe even India.
Olympic leaders arrived in India this week just as the country began hosting the men’s Cricket World Cup. Games at that tournament are played in a longer one-day format.
Bach praised flag football for growing in popularity globally “in particular among girls and women.”
“With flag football you are avoiding some of the challenges with injuries that American football is facing,” he said.
Lacrosse, Bach said, is “the sport, if I may say, of the First Nations of the U.S.”
Each team sport added will have six-nation competitions for men and women.
The board also confirmed weightlifting and modern pentathlon have retained their places after overcoming uncertainty about their Olympic status for doping and sporting reasons, respectively.
Modern pentathlon would have been excluded, Bach said, but for replacing horse riding with obstacle racing as one of the five disciplines.
Boxing has been assured of staying in the program but there are ongoing issues with replacing the banished International Boxing Association.
“We have no problem with boxing, we have no problem with boxers, we just have a huge problem with regard to the governing body,” the IOC president said.
Adding new sports and retaining others will break through the original quota limit of 10,500 athletes in Los Angeles. The new limit is set to be agreed on by early 2025, the IOC said.
AP coverage of the Paris Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games