When you look back over the annals of major sporting events, few nations are quite as adept as the United States at putting on a spectacle.
So the 2028 Olympic Games should be an extravaganza of entertainment, given that the host city – Los Angeles – is the birthplace and spiritual home of modern cinema.
Tinseltown saw off bids from Paris, Rome, Hamburg and Budapest to win the nod from the IOC, with the Games returning to L.A. after the city welcomed the showpiece in 1932 and 1984.
Generally, the host country is reflected in the schedule of ‘optional’ sports that will be contested in that edition of the Olympics, and 2028 looks set to be no different.
What Sports are in the Olympics 2028?
Some traditionally American sports will be added to the slate of action in 2028.
Unsurprisingly, baseball is one of the additions – not only is that one of the most popular sports in the United States, but also in parts of Latin America and Asia too. It has been part of the Olympic programme sporadically over the years, but enjoyed a return at Tokyo 2020 and, thanks to the infrastructure in place in the USA, will be played in 2028 too.
Baseball will be joined on the docket by its sibling, softball. Popular in America, softball was added as an Olympic sport for the Atlanta Games in 1996, where it remained until it was dumped for the 2012 edition.
Flag football is perhaps not a sport you know a great deal about, but with more than seven million active participants in the U.S. alone – up from 5.6 million in 2013 – it can lay claim to being one of the fastest growing sports around. Even so, the addition of flag football as an Olympic sport comes as something of a shock.
A sort of non-contact American football, teams look to score as many points as possible by crossing into the end zone without the flag of the player in possession being ripped from them.
Lacrosse and squash are less eyebrow-raising additions. Although not traditionally part of the Olympic schedule, both have a large base of players around the globe and, seemingly most crucially, are popular in North America.
And, better late than never, cricket will be added to the Olympic regime for the first time. Both men and women will contest T20 games in Los Angeles, where cricket is something of an underground sport. Nonetheless, its popularity worldwide speaks for itself – the IOC is also rumoured to be keen for India, one of the biggest cricket-playing nations on the planet, to host a future edition of the Games.
Which Sports are Not in the Olympics 2028?
These five additional sports, which will be voted on by IOC members, will join the core of 28 sports that are typically contested at most editions of the Olympic Games.
But in 2028, there could be some notable absentees – including two sports in particular that have become synonymous with the Olympics.
Cheating scandals within the Olympic boxing event in recent years has led to questions being raised about the discipline. With judges bribed and former governing body IBA stripped of its powers, Olympic boxing – which has helped to develop the careers of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather amongst many other legendary pugilists – will be put on the backburner for the foreseeable future.
Weightlifting is another sport that has been rocked by cheating allegations, and its place on the core Olympic programme is in jeopardy – to the point that it may not even feature in 2028.
The International Weightlifting Federation has been accused of not doing enough to control doping in the sport – since the 2012 Games, an extraordinary 21 medals have been stripped after the original winner failed a drugs test.
Modern pentathlon, which has been a mainstay of the Olympic Games for more than a decade, is also in jeopardy. This unique sport sees participants compete in five disciplines:
- Show jumping
- Cross country running
But the sport’s governing body, the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM), wants to replace show jumping with obstacle course racing – yes, you read that correctly. The IOC is less enthused about that, which could mean that modern pentathlon is not ratified for 2028.
The organising committee for LA 2028 originally proposed nine possible sports for inclusion: the five that have been selected as mentioned above, plus breakdancing, kick boxing, karate and motor racing. It now seems highly doubtful that this latter quartet will be ratified by the IOC.