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Squash and cricket set to gain Olympic status at Los Angeles 2028 Games

The United States looks set to win six more medals at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics thanks to its additional sports choices in a schedule that will also include cricket and squash.

The Los Angeles organizing committee has released its selections for five proposed new sports and, although these have yet to be ratified by the International Olympic Committee in Mumbai next week, the choices have already followed months of intense negotiations.

Costs, venues, likely ticket sales and live audiences, as well as sponsorship opportunities, were all important factors in decision-making, but Los Angeles organizers also unashamedly opted for sports which will help the United States once again dominate the flag medal table. football, lacrosse and baseball/softball.

“The sports offered by LA28 ignite the imagination on the playing field and chase the culture off it,” said Los Angeles Organizing Committee Chairman Casey Wasserman. “They are relevant, innovative and community-focused, played in backyards, schoolyards, community centers, stadiums and parks across the United States and around the world.

“They will bring new athletes to the Games, engage diverse fan bases and expand the presence of the Games in digital spaces, amplifying LA28’s mission to deliver an unprecedented experience.”

The new sports offered

Cricket

Cricket has only been included once before in the Olympics, when England and France played a single match in 1900. The T20 format will be used in both the men’s and women’s competitions and, with Brisbane hosting the Games In 2032, there is a big opportunity to establish itself as a regular Olympic sport. The commercial opportunities for the IOC and local organizers are clear and Olympic television rights are now expected to increase in the Indian subcontinent. The extent to which a gold medal becomes more important than historic and long-standing cricket competitions, however, remains debatable.

Likely winners: The men’s competition is wide open between the traditional cricketing nations, but Australia, who have won six of the last seven T20 World Cups in women’s cricket, will be the clear favorites for that gold medal.

Squash

Squash has long been seen as an obvious addition to the Olympic program, but has had to watch with frustration for many decades as sports like synchronized swimming, skateboarding, surfing, rock climbing and breakdancing were the first to have their chance.

It is a gladiator sport that seems to fit perfectly with Olympic ideals and, with easily transportable grounds, has already been practiced in iconic locations around the world.

World Squash described the move as “an important and exciting milestone in the history of squash as the sport moves closer to inclusion in the Olympic Games for the first time.”

Likely winners: The world rankings are dominated by Egyptian players and, although it is a sport which has a particularly strong history in Commonwealth countries, the best players now come from all corners of the world. The United States has four of the top 20 players on the women’s world tour, with Great Britain’s Georgina Kennedy ranked seventh. The best British men’s player is Bristol-based Mohamed El Shorbagy, ranked fourth in the world.

The Crosse

A popular sport among young Americans. There are several formats, but this is the fast-paced, high-scoring “six” event that will take place over four eight-minute quarters in Los Angeles. Lacrosse was last included in the Olympics in 1948, when it was an exhibition sport in London. World Lacrosse, which has 85 member nations, said it was “delighted and honored” by the decision. “Lacrosse is played globally, accessible and equitable, with a unique origin and modern, youthful relevance,” they added.

Likely winners: The men’s and women’s world rankings are led by the United States, followed by Canada, with the England team ranked third in the women’s rankings.

Flag football

An indoor version of American football where, instead of tackling players to the ground, the defensive team must remove a flag or flag belt from the ball carrier. It was first played in the 1940s and has had its own world championships since 2002. The version of the sport at the Los Angeles Olympics would be a five-a-side game and played on a 50-meter indoor arena.

Likely winners: It’s hard to ignore the United States, which leads the world rankings for both men and women. A World Cup takes place every two years and while the United States is the reigning champion for both men and women, Austria, Mexico, Canada and Panama have also triumphed since 2010.

Baseball and softball

Sports that have come in and out of the Olympic program several times since baseball was first included in 1904, when it was played in St. Louis. Although there are world championships for men and women in both sports, the Olympic baseball games are for men and softball is for women. They were both included continuously from 1996 to 2008 before being dropped and then returning to Tokyo two years ago. There are differences between the two sports in the number of players as well as the size of the field and certain rules. These include throwing where, in softball, the ball must be thrown under the arm.

Likely winners: Japan had home-field advantage at Tokyo 2021 and won the softball and baseball gold medals in the final against the United States. They remain the top two nations in the world rankings.

telegraph

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