Five new sports among WSA membership base added to 2028 Los Angeles Olympics
Five new sports, all represented among the Welsh Sports Association (WSA) membership base, have been added to the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
Cricket, flag football, lacrosse, squash and baseball-softball have all been confirmed as new Olympic sports, set to feature at the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.
The decision was made final at the 141st session of the International Olympic Committee, which took place in Mumbai, India between the 15th and the 17th of October.
The WSA is thoroughly excited for the five member organisations who will now be newly represented at the Olympic Games in five years’ time.
Cricket will return as an Olympic sport having last appeared at the 1900 Games.
Leshia Hawkins, CEO of WSA member Cricket Wales (soon to be Managing Director, Recreational Game at the ECB), commented:
“We were, of course, delighted by the decision of the organisers of the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics to recommend cricket for inclusion at their Games. Women’s Cricket was hugely successful – and extremely well supported – at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022 and this feels like a very logical next step.
“Cricket undoubtedly has the potential to be a genuinely global game; Olympic inclusion is a further opportunity for our sport to progress those objectives. I also hope it will inspire the next generation of cricketers and provide talented young cricketers, both boys and girls, with another dream to aim for in the form of a gold medal for Team GB, as well as seeking honours along the way in the Wales, Glamorgan, Western Storm and Welsh Fire pathways.”
Full-contact American football has featured in the Games before, last appearing in 1932 – the last time LA hosted.
With flag football now added to the sports, CEO of WSA member British American Football Association, Pete Ackerley’s statement read:
“We as a governing body are delighted that the sport of Flag Football will feature at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles 2028.
“BAFA already has plans well underway to enter competitive teams in both men’s and women’s competitions as part of a wider strategy to boost participation in the sport at both grassroots and elite level in the UK.
“We have been committed to developing the sport in the UK for many years and recognise the profile that the Olympic spotlight will bring gives us a springboard to further grow the sport in this country across universities, schools and sports clubs.
“Our vision is bold and ambitious – and so, we regard competing at the Olympic Games as a stepping stone for the establishment of the lasting legacy of a vibrant participation sport with the support and dedication of the Britabll community.”
Lacrosse has been played twice at the Olympics, although not since 1908. Upon its reintroduction Ben Taylor, CEO of WSA member Wales Lacrosse, stated:
“This is absolutely fantastic news. It has been a long-held objective of the sport to return to the Olympic fold and all credit to World Lacrosse who have done a brilliant job of managing the process and orchestrating a cohesive campaign to demonstrate why lacrosse should have a place at the top table.
“We can now look forward to lacrosse being showcased on the world’s biggest sporting stage and inspiring new people to discover what it’s all about. Obviously at the Olympics it will be a GB team, so for us in Wales the challenge is to harness the forthcoming surge in exposure to get more people playing in universities, more clubs setting up, more schools taking an interest and more people getting to love this amazing sport. As ever with volunteer-led sports, that means we need more coaches, more umpires and more volunteers to make it all happen, but we have amazing people driving this sport forward and I’m sure we will be up to the task.”
After several failed applications to be added as an Olympic sport, squash will now finally make its debut in five years.
WSA member Squash Wales Chair, Richard Bennett, stated:
“On behalf of Squash Wales, I would like to express my immense delight on Squash being confirmed in the LA28 Olympic Games.
“Squash has worked tirelessly hard for many years to be included so to now have the opportunity to showcase our fantastic Sport in the largest of competitions is truly spectacular.”
Meanwhile, World Number 8 and Squash Wales athlete Joel Makin, said:
“It’s massive news for the sport as a whole to be included in the Olympics for the first time in LA 2028. It’s a great opportunity for us to show the athleticism, skill levels and intensity that squash has to offer. Hopefully we can use this opportunity to gain exposure from a wider audience and bring more people into the sport.”
World Number 15 and fellow Squash Wales athlete Tesni Evans, added:
“Squash getting into the Olympics is great news for the sport and so exciting!
“The Olympics is the pinnacle of sport, so for squash to have its chance now to showcase all the athletes is incredible. It’s going to take the game to new heights, with a new audience; and something us, as players, are very excited about is having the chance to go for an Olympic medal!”
Baseball-softball was a regular at the Olympics between 1992 and 2008, but has featured only once since, at the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
Co-Founder and CEO of fellow WSA member RBI Wales, Holly Ireland, commented:
“RBI Wales are beyond excited about the inclusion of baseball and fastpitch softball in the Olympic Games in 2028.
“This will provide amazing visibility for the sport and will be a huge inspiration for our players, and the future players of Wales.”