The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently took a significant step towards embracing the world’s most popular sport, Cricket, by accepting the recommendation to include T20 cricket for both men and women at the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics This decision was made during the IOC’s executive board meeting in Mumbai, heralding a new era for the sport on the global stage.
The IOC’s Crucial Acceptance
The acceptance of cricket’s inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics represents a pivotal moment in the sport’s history. The IOC’s decision, taken at the executive board meeting, sets the stage for a potentially transformational development. The next step is for the IOC to vote on this recommendation at its Session, scheduled to be held in Mumbai from October 14 to 16.
LA28 Local Organizing Committee’s Bold Proposal
The LA28 local organizing committee played a significant role in pushing for cricket’s inclusion. It recommended the “potential inclusion” of not only cricket but also four other sports: baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse, and squash. These recommendations align with the broader ethos of LA28, creating a diverse and dynamic sporting environment for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.
IOC President’s Endorsement
IOC president Thomas Bach expressed his endorsement for the inclusion of these five sports in the Olympics. He emphasized that these proposals had been accepted as a package, underlining their compatibility with the sports culture of the United States and Los Angeles in 2028. This historic move is seen as a way to showcase iconic American sports to the world while simultaneously welcoming international sports to the United States.
Cricket’s Journey Towards Olympic Inclusion
Cricket’s quest to become an Olympic sport has been long and arduous. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has consistently pursued the goal of making cricket a global sport. However, it wasn’t until 2019 that tangible progress was made. In 2022, cricket made its return to the Commonwealth Games, with women’s T20 matches being played at Edgbaston in Birmingham. This development marked a significant milestone, with eight teams competing over eight days.
One of the major obstacles in cricket’s path to the Olympics was the resistance of influential cricket boards, such as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). To be eligible for Olympic inclusion, global sports bodies must adhere to the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The BCCI’s resistance to coming under the ambit of India’s National Anti-Doping Agency, a WADA affiliate, had posed a challenge to the ICC’s Olympic aspirations.
Strong Anti-Doping Commitment
In a reassuring development, IOC president Thomas Bach highlighted the “robust” anti-doping programs in place for all five new sports, including cricket. This assurance played a pivotal role in the IOC’s decision to accept cricket as an Olympic sport.
Cricket’s Global Appeal
Cricket’s enduring global appeal was another significant factor in its favor. The sport’s fan base has been steadily growing, and this popularity hasn’t gone unnoticed by the IOC and the LA28 organizers. The inclusion of cricket in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics is expected to draw attention from fans and athletes worldwide.
India’s Role in the Decision
India’s performance at the Hangzhou Asian Games, where the country secured over 100 medals for the first time, was a key influencer in the IOC’s decision-making process. Bach also noted that India ranks second on the IOC’s social media handles, highlighting the tremendous interest of the young generation in the Olympics.
A New Era for Cricket
Cricket’s potential inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics is a game-changing decision for the sport. This historic moment marks a turning point in the sport’s journey to become truly global. If the IOC confirms this recommendation, it will open doors for cricket to engage with new athletes and fan communities, not only in the United States but around the world.