SPARKS, Md. — It’s official. Lacrosse is returning to the Olympics as a medal sport for the first time in more than a century.
The International Olympic Committee voted on Monday to include lacrosse in the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. It will be the sixth time lacrosse has been included in the Olympics, but the first time as a medal sport since the 1908 Summer Olympics in London.
“We are thrilled the International Olympic Committee has voted to include lacrosse in the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles,” said USA Lacrosse CEO Marc Riccio. “In some ways, it feels like we’ve reached the finish line with so many people working towards this goal for so many years. In reality, this is the beginning of a bright new future. The Olympics gives our sport the platform and visibility to achieve unprecedented growth. We can’t wait to get started on the next chapter in the sport’s history.”
— USA Lacrosse (@USA_Lacrosse) October 16, 2023
“Today is a remarkable moment in the history of both lacrosse and the Olympic Games,” said World Lacrosse CEO Jim Scherr. “The inclusion of lacrosse in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles is a testament to our sport's enduring legacy, worldwide popularity and unique ability to bring people together. It also signifies the culmination of an extraordinary journey to return North America’s first game to the Olympics, a journey made possible by the unwavering passion of our lacrosse community.
“This decision reaffirms the Olympic values of unity, diversity and athletic excellence. We eagerly anticipate sharing the beauty of lacrosse with the world and take immense pride in participating in an Olympic Games that champions inclusion and diversity. Together, we will make history on the grandest stage in sports and inspire future generations with the power of lacrosse."
Lacrosse was included in five “new” sports – baseball/softball, cricket, flag football and squash – recommended by the LA28 Organizing Committee and approved by the IOC. Lacrosse was a medal sport in 1904 and 1908 and a demonstration sport in 1928, 1932 and 1948.
Sixes, a new fast-paced discipline developed to spur growth internationally and best position the sport for Olympic inclusion, will be the format used for the Olympics.
Sixes made its international championship debut at The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama. Canada, the United States and Japan medaled in men’s lacrosse and Canada, the United States and Australia were the medalists in women’s lacrosse.
Overall, the United States has been the most dominant country in international lacrosse with 34 world championships dating back to 1967.
The U.S. is the reigning world champion in all four field lacrosse championships, having won the 2023 men’s world championship in San Diego, the 2022 women’s world championship in Towson, Md., the 2022 men’s U21 world championship in Limerick, Ireland and the 2019 women’s u19 world championship in Peterborough, Ontario.
Of the 46 world championships conducted by World Lacrosse and its predecessors, the United States has medaled every time, winning gold 34 times, silver seven times and bronze five times.
Lacrosse, one of the fastest-growing team sports in the United States the last few decades, has also seen significant growth globally. Last week, World Lacrosse added four new countries to its membership base, bringing the total number of members to 90.
About USA Lacrosse
USA Lacrosse, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, is a Recognized Sport Organization of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee. As the governing body of men’s and women’s lacrosse in the United States, USA Lacrosse leads the U.S. National Teams Program and establishes universal standards. With more than 400,000 members across the country, USA Lacrosse unites the community of players, coaches, officials, parents, and program leaders. Working together, we inspire participation, enrich the athlete experience, and support the growth of the sport.