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Matt Rambo #1 of Team USA shoots past the defense of Graeme Hossack #4 of Team Canada during the first half of the World Lacrosse Men’s Gold Medal match at Snapdragon Stadium on July 01, 2023 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Olympic Games

The new Olympic sports: Lacrosse invented by the natives, then cancelled by white progress

The choice to include five new sports in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic programme will certainly arouse controversy and expressions of ridicule from those who defend the ideal of pure and traditional sport, that is, that of their homeland and prefer not to see what happens elsewhere. Let’s analyse the reasons why the IOC can promote these disciplines and include them in the 2028 Olympic programme.

THE PROPOSALS

Of the five proposals: Cricket, Baseball-softball, Squash, Lacrosse, Flag Football, the first three are “normal”, practically already seen, the others an intriguing novelty. Why should we be surprised? The Olympic days of breakdancing will be born in Paris…

HISTORY

Baseball-softball has already been part of the Olympic family, then it was abandoned, but readmitted in Tokyo as an additional sport and logically it cannot be missing from the Los Angeles Olympic programme.

Squash had already presented its candidacy at the beginning of the century, but was rejected.

Cricket is entering the Olympic world, it is a sport that has more than a billion fans. The World Cup has started here in India and the whole country is focused on these matches. The Indian team is very strong but, if they don’t win or they miss the final, there would be national mourning.

Declan James of Team England competes with Adrian Waller of Team England during the Squash Men’s Doubles Gold Medal match on day eleven of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at University of Birmingham Hockey & Squash Centre on August 08, 2022 on the Birmingham, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

US SPORTS 

The new features, that is, the two proposals that make purists wrinkle their noses, are Lacrosse and Flag Football. They are two sports of American origin, but the first has documented historical roots that date back to at least four centuries ago. It was a game, they say, of the natives, of those who were then swept away by the progress of the white man.

LACROSSE

is played with a bat or stick that has a concave plastic racket at the top, which is used to receive the ball, slightly smaller than the baseball kind. The 10 players must wear a helmet with a mask, a chin pad, and a mouthguard. The elbows must be protected to avoid damage from blows that can be suffered in contact with the ball.

Flag football being played at the World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama (Photo by IFAF)

FLAG FOOTBALL

Flag Football, which they say is also pushed by the NFL, is on the contrary a sport without violence, the opposite of the American Football we know. It is played with 5 players on a small field, and instead of tackling the opponent, all you have to do is grab one of the two bands of fabric that each player wears around their waist. In some ways it seems like a preparation game for the quarterbacks and wide receivers. It is perfect for school activities.

THE PUBLIC AND MONEY

The IOC has, like all sports, an urgent need to find new spaces, new audiences and new money, because contracts expire and to sign new ones, innovations or rather adaptations to reality are necessary. Hence the frantic race to find solutions suited to the age of microchips and Artificial Intelligence that we are experiencing. Including traditional American sports in Los Angeles is normal, also to broaden the audience to regional and small entities. NBC needs it and that’s normal too. Cricket opens new markets with more than a billion viewers, should they ignore it? It would be suicide.

CONCLUSION

Sport, not only Olympic, is experiencing a sort of identity crisis also because the world is experiencing moments of anguish. Some sports managers are taken aback, confused, perhaps overcome by the times they cannot understand.

It’s time for us to realise that it’s no longer the golden age, where we tread red carpets and exclusive environments, but it’s time to return to the field to understand how sport can return to being true culture and inclusion, not fake and just words.

Credit: AIPS Media

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