On Oct. 16, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) agreed to add five new sports to the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles – baseball/softball, cricket, lacrosse, flag football and squash. The announcement has had a special impact on local athletes.
Biju Nair is the CEO of Blazers Cricket Academy in Sunnyvale, a local group that oversees youth cricket development programs in the South Bay.
“We at Blazers are excited to see Cricket being approved as an Olympic Sport,” said Nair. “This is one of most important milestone[s] for USA Cricket especially as the 2028 Olympics is happening in LA [Los Angeles] and as hosting country, USA will be able to participate in the very first Olympics in the Cricket Category. This will simply boost the possibilities of this sport in the country.”
Nair hopes that the approval of cricket by the IOC will help the sport become more “prominent and significant,” especially because it will debut in the USA.
The 49ers organization is also excited to hear the announcement by the IOC. The team has long supported the sport of flag football, an initiative the NFL has avidly pushed in the past few years. Just last spring, the 49ers organization was a key advocate for making girls flag football an official sport with the California Interscholastic Federation – the governing body of high school sports.
“We have long believed in the power of flag football to create opportunities and bring athletes together,” said Jenni Luke, Vice President of Community Impact for the San Francisco 49ers. “For years, we’ve hosted free, co-ed flag football leagues across Northern California and skills camps through 49ers PREP presented by U.S. Bank, and we successfully lobbied the state to recognize girls flag football as a varsity high school sport. Moving forward, we’re excited to see flag football capture hearts and inspire a new generation of players and fans as an official Olympic sport.”
Santa Clara University’s lacrosse coach Greg Hollingshead coached the Austrian National team this past summer at the World Games in San Diego. He says he’s happy to see the sport grow, especially in California, where it doesn’t always get a lot of attention.
“Lacrosse has been a part of my life since I was in Junior High, which those that don’t know coming from California was not common to be a lacrosse player. Fast forward now 15 years and I am the head coach at Santa Clara, coaching California-grown talent at the school,” said Hollingshead.
“The sport has grown so much in such a short period of time. Now that lacrosse is finally making it into the Olympics it feels like all the hard work over the years of trying to grow the game has finally paid off,” continued Hollingshead. “Now kids are playing D1 lacrosse and professional lacrosse and being paid for it. I can’t wait to see where the sport continues to grow and impact the youth in the area as well as the country.”
The 2028 Summer Olympics will be held in Los Angeles from July 14 through July 30.