Is Lacrosse to become an Olympic Sport?

Mens Lacrosse 1902Many of you may have heard of efforts from the lacrosse world to push the sport to being featured in the summer Olympics. However, you may not realise that lacrosse has previously been included in the competition. It was contested at both the 1904 and 1908 games, in which only two teams competed in the event – Canada and the US in 1904 and Canada and the UK in 1908. Both times, Canada won, and the sport was only open to men.

On November 30th 2018, the international Olympic committee granted the FIL (Federation of International Lacrosse) provisional recognition, a development that strengthens the sport’s potential to return to the games. After this, the FIL formed a strategic vision to aim to get lacrosse into the 2028 Olympics, which will be held in Los Angeles, US, where lacrosse is extremely popular and would be a great venue to showcase the sport to the world. Steve Stenersen, CEO of US Lacrosse, stated that the ‘IOC (International Olympic Committee) recognition will strengthen the profile of lacrosse in all FIL member countries and propel the sport to greater expansion throughout the world’ indicating a further take up of the sport around the world and countries placing further publicity and time into lacrosse. This recognition has also enabled the FIL to receive financial support from the IOC and apply for development programmes in all of the member nations.

To further increase its chance of inclusion, the FIL has begun to experiment with different rules to both increase the similarities between the men’s and women’s game and make it more accessible to everyone around the world by making it easier for spectators to understand. This has led to changing the game to 10-a-side, with the midfield losing two players. Each country is testing different rules and will feed back on which to implement, such as the ‘self-start’ rule.

This provisional recognition is only valid for three years, after which the FIL can file a petition to establish its eligibility to be featured in the Olympic Games. However, there are certain criteria that the FIL has to meet, including: having the game played by men in 75 countries, on four continents, and women in 40 countries, on three continents. The FIL currently has 62 members of national governing bodies and is now considered one of the fastest growing sports internationally.

Something that may help their efforts is if lacrosse has a strong showing during the 2021 World Games which are being held in Birmingham, Alabama, which has the ability to significantly publicise the sport around the world and increase awareness. Hopefully, this may then enable the IOC to grant lacrosse as a sport to be featured in the summer Olympics.

Ella, (Year 13) Head of Grosstete Company

Photo Credit:
Private Collection /Look and Learn / Bernard Platman Antiquarian Collection / Bridgeman Images





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