Flag football and cricket were be among five sports to be approved for inclusion at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics by the International Olympic Committee executive board Friday.
The other sports making the cut are lacrosse, squash, and baseball-softball, which are expected to be officially ratified by the 141st IOC session taking place in Mumbai, India beginning on Sunday.
Per IOC rules, cities can request inclusion of several sports for when they host the Olympics.
“These proposals have been accepted as a package by the IOC executive board,” said IOC president Thomas Bach at the end of the executive board meeting. “Taking into consideration that these proposals and these sports are fully in line with the sports culture of our hosts in 2028, with the American sports culture, they will showcase iconic American sports to the world while bringing at the same time international sports to the United States.”
The 2028 Olympics will already feature 28 events, including soccer, golf, basketball, hockey and tennis. The IOC does not have to add any additional sports to that list.
Baseball at the Olympics dates back to 1904 but did not become a medal sport until 1992. After appearing in five consecutive Games, the sport — along with softball, which featured from 1996-2008 — was voted out of the event for the 2012 Olympics. Baseball and softball did return for the 2020 Tokyo Games, but neither sport will feature in Paris next summer.
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association played a role in getting both baseball and softball included in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, per Evan Drellich. But don’t get your hopes up thinking we could see major league players pause mid-season to take part.
Tyreek Hill would love to compete for golf
The NFL has played games in England, Mexico and Germany since 2007, increasing its brand awareness across the globe. Having flag football featured on a worldwide stage at Los Angeles 2028 will be another marketing opportunity for the league.
According to the IOC, “more children aged 6-12 play flag football than tackle football in the US and, at the elite level, there are approximately 20 million flag football players across over 100 countries, with gender-balanced athlete participation.”
Flag football would be a 5-on-5 event played on a 50-yard field with no offensive or defensive linemen.
If the U.S. men’s team, which won gold at the World Games last year, need any help maybe they can take the advice of Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews.
Andrews may have been joking with his response but Hill is very open to the idea, as he noted on his It Needed To Be Said podcast this week.
“You know how amazing it would be to assemble a super-team to play in the Olympics?” Hill said. “That would be crazy. To be able to go to the Olympics and actually win a medal.”
“Just being able to say, ‘Hey, I was able to play on the Olympic level and compete for a medal for the U.S.’ That would be special,” he said. “Who wouldn’t want to do that? Travel to L.A. and compete in a flag championship. I think it would be so dope if other NFL players buy into that.
“If they’re serious about bringing flag football, sign me up. Sign the Cheetah up.”
There has been no indication yet that NFL players would be eligible to play in the Olympics but that shouldn’t stop you from putting together a fantasy team that would compete for gold.