Last updated on October 16th, 2023 at 11:18 AM
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has ushered in a golden opportunity for lacrosse players across the globe by officially including lacrosse on the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic programme.
Great Britain boasts a rich lacrosse history stretching back to 1883, and today’s news heralds a significant opportunity to write a new chapter 80 years after the sport last appeared on the Olympic stage, as a demonstration sport in London at the 1948 Olympic Games.
Fast forward to the present day and Great Britain men and women are both ranked number four in the world in the new sixes format of the sport.
This follows the 2022 World Games in Birmingham Alabama where GB women lost 13:7 to Australia in the bronze medal match, while the GB men were tied 18:18 with Japan at the end of regulation time in a breathless matchup, before a golden goal in overtime snatched the bronze medal away from GB.
The IOC’s decision underlines the growth and progress of lacrosse over recent years. Inclusion on the world’s biggest sporting stage is testament to the tireless efforts of World Lacrosse, supported by a global community of administrators, players, coaches, volunteers, and fans who have championed the sport at all levels.
LA28 will mark the third Olympic appearance for North America’s first sport that is now played in nearly 100 countries around the world, after it was contested in 1904 (St. Louis) and 1908 (London). Lacrosse was later featured as a demonstration sport in three Olympics: Amsterdam 1928, Los Angeles 1932 and London 1948.
In 2028, men’s and women’s lacrosse will be competed in sixes, an incredibly fast-paced, compact version of the sport, which is characterised by an accelerated, open style of play with quick transitions and non-stop, high-scoring action.
Reflecting on the IOC’s decision, Leslie Rance, Chair of British Lacrosse, said: “This is a monumental moment for lacrosse in Great Britain and indeed for the global lacrosse community.
Our athletes have the unparalleled opportunity to represent their nation at an Olympics Games which is something we’ve been waiting for, for a very long time.
“We know there is a lot of work to do over the coming years, firstly to qualify for the Games and then to ensure we are prepared to compete for medals, but I know that our team of coaches, support staff and players are ready for the exciting challenges which lie ahead.”
Tom Wenham, Men’s Head Coach said: “I’m enormously proud of the players’ commitment and hard work up to and including the World Games 2022, but the narrow defeat to Japan for the bronze medal left us all with a feeling of unfinished business.
To be able to now harness this energy as a catalyst for a potential medal bid at the Olympics Games is incredibly inspiring. We recognise the unique challenge and opportunity that this news provides, and we’re motivated and excited to take British Lacrosse to new levels.”
Phil Collier, Women’s Head Coach said: “The decision to include sixes lacrosse in the 2028 Olympics is great news, and will provide a further boost to the growth of our sport.
The global spread of lacrosse in recent years has come alongside a rise in standards of play, and a speeding up of the game. At the top international level, sixes lacrosse showcases the best of that. Great athleticism alongside incredible and innovative stick skills.
“The decision also confirms the British team as the pinnacle of sixes lacrosse for players across the home nations who want to compete at the highest level.
What’s really exciting though, is knowing that right now, there are young players in schools, clubs and universities across the UK that can start to chase their own Olympic dreams, motivated to work hard to be the best lacrosse player they can be and to represent Great Britain at the Olympic Games.”