If in Paris next summer break dancing will debut as an Olympic discipline, in Los Angeles 2028 there will be five new modalities that burst into the program, as approved this Monday in Bombay by the International Olympic Committee in its 141st Session. Lacrosse, cricket, baseball/softball, squash and flag football, all at the suggestion of the organizer, will have their own Olympic champions.
The big news this time are squash and ‘flag’ football, which will premiere in Los Angeles. Lacrosse and cricket return after many decades and baseball has been in and out of the Olympic program. According to Karl Stossresponsible for the Games Program Commission, “the best” will participate in all modalities, also in baseball and cricket, with powerful professional leagues that will be monitored “closely” by the IOC so that this is fulfilled.
“It’s squash time,” he proclaimed. Niccolo CamprianiDirector of Sports of the IOC about a sport that has been left on the doorstep on several occasions and that in Spain had its peak at the end of the 90s, although it was losing popularity due to the growth of paddle tennis.
More intriguing is flag football, also known as billet in some countries. Although it is still a form of American football – and here the nod to the US – that is played without tackles. “Flag football is the future,” Campriani proclaimed, emphasizing its inclusive nature. The players, in teams of six, do not wear the usual helmets and armor so characteristic of the NFL and do wear flags or handkerchiefs (38 centimeters) on both sides of each player’s waist. For its inclusion, the Session had approved the day before the full recognition of the International American Football Federation, which was admitted by the IOC only provisionally.
The Session voted en bloc on the Los Angeles proposal, by show of hands, and approved it by a large majority, with only two votes against. These sports are accepted only for the 2028 edition and their continuity in future editions is not guaranteed.