The team in charge of organizing the 2028 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles is considering big changes to its lineup of sports for the world to see.
The organizing committee for the Games in Los Angeles announced that lacrosse is one of the five sports under consideration to be added to LA28, marking a huge step in the long quest for lacrosse to return to the Olympic Games.
“This is incredibly exciting news,” USA Lacrosse CEO Marc Riccio said in a statement. “The Olympics are the pinnacle of sport globally and inclusion would bring unmatched visibility and investment in the sport around the world. The LA28 Organizing Committee’s recommendation shows an appreciation for the significance of lacrosse and an understanding of its potential. We’re not to the finish line yet, but this a major step forward in the process.”
Previously, lacrosse was one of nine sports to be named under consideration. The other four finalists joining the sport are cricket, flag football, baseball/softball and squash.
The International Olympic Committee will vote on the proposal for final approval at meetings in Mumbai, India, that begin next week.
It’s a massive step forward for lacrosse, which was last included in the Olympic program at the 1948 Summer Games in London as a demonstration sport. Lacrosse was also a demonstration sport at the 1928 and 1932 Summer Olympics, and was included as a medal sport in 1904 and 1908.
Stakeholders in the sport, specifically former Johns Hopkins lacrosse legend Paul Rabil, have endlessly pushed to get it back in the Olympics for decades. In Baltimore, a hotbed for lacrosse, Rabil has done that through the Premier Lacrosse League, helping it generate more buzz as one of the most exciting sports in North America and beyond.
“This is a monumental moment for lacrosse,” Rabil said of the announcement Monday. “We’re both honored and thrilled that LA28 has recommended lacrosse for the Summer Olympic Games. This was a collective effort by leaders and stewards of our sport. A special thank you to Casey Wasserman and the LA28 organizers. To Jim Scherr, Sue Redfern and the entire World Lacrosse organization; to Joe Tsai and Jane Lee for their participation and support, as well as every international governing body who has invested in the growth of the game in more than 90 countries today.”
The sport may look different if it returns today compared to 1948. Traditionally, most know lacrosse as the 11-on-11 sport played in high school, colleges and youth teams. In Canada, box lacrosse is played six-by-six on converted ice rinks in the summer.
The Olympic version is a blend of both called Sixes, the best format to get the sport back in, if approved, Rabil said.
“What’s going to help us as a sport get into L.A. ’28,” Rabil told The Baltimore Banner in March, “is going to be versions of Olympic Sixes that is played by the best players in the world.”
Sixes were prominently featured during The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2022, where Canada won gold in men’s and women’s.