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Athletes look forward to newly added Olympic sports

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By Tanisha Agrawal, Co-Sports Editor

In a groundbreaking decision, the International Olympic Committee approved the inclusion of five additional sports in the 2028 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

“The choice of these five new sports is in line with the American sports culture and will showcase iconic American sports to the world while bringing international sports to the United States,” said International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach in a press statement in August.

Flag football, lacrosse, squash, baseball/softball and cricket will appear in the Olympics with the 2028 games.

Flag football is a non-contact format of American football played by teams of five. The 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games last featured American football, but the 2028 games will mark flag football’s first appearance.

Junior Arjun Narang, a tight end for the Conestoga boys’ varsity football team, has been playing football for eight years. He is excited for flag football’s inclusion and dreams of representing the United States in the 2028 Olympics. He also acknowledged the potential of the sport to attract international fans.

“Flag football getting added means that it’s growing as a sport, and the Olympics will give it a global platform for more viewers to watch and get interested in it,” Narang said. “It gives future players from all around the world a chance to get their names in the spotlight and opportunities to play in the NFL or other places.”

Senior Kiki Liebezeit, a midfielder on the girls’ varsity lacrosse team, echoed similar sentiments. Liebezeit has played lacrosse since second grade and represented the USA Select U16 Team in fall 2022. She sees the Olympics as a game-changer for the sport.

“It will transform fan-following heavily as it will now be a part of the biggest stages of sports and bring in more watchers and people eager to learn more about the competitive sport,” Liebzeit said. “I definitely strive to someday be playing in the Olympics and putting on the USA jersey again.”

Squash will also make its Olympic debut in 2028. For more than two decades, players have been campaigning for its inclusion. Sophomore and boys varsity squash player Kyle Wu sees the squash’s inclusion in the games as a turning point for the sport.

“I just think it’s a revolutionary moment in squash. Squash is such an old sport, it’s been around for more than 200 years. I think that the 200-year drought is broken now. Finally, I guess the world has recognized it,” Wu said.

Cricket, a historic sport with a growing global fanbase, will also regain its place in the Olympics after nearly a century. The last Olympic cricket game was played in 1900.

Senior Pankaj Jalluri, a local cricket player with 10 years of experience, believes that the Olympics will significantly boost the sport’s popularity.

“Cricket players will get better funding, and more importantly, will get a chance to compete at a higher level against the best teams,” Jalluri said. “I would certainly love to watch the competition. This should greatly increase the fan-following for cricket in the U.S. as the Olympics is a global spectacle.”

The 2028 Olympics will also include baseball and softball. The 2000, 2004 and 2008 games featured softball, but the Olympic Comittee removed the sport in 2012. The comittee similarly removed baseball from the games in 2008.

The committee cited the absence of the sport’s best players as the main reason for excluding baseball.

“Being in the Olympics makes future players work even harder and (be) more committed to the sport,” Liebezeit said. “Future players will be impacted by having such a special opportunity to participate in the Olympic Games and seek dreams their little selves never imagined.” 


Tanisha Agrawal can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Tanisha Agrawal, Co-Sports Editor
Tanisha Agrawal is a senior and the Co-Sports Editor of The Spoke. She edits and assigns sports stories, tracks college commitments and lays out the pages of the Sports section. She covers sports features, community events and school policies. She completed the first half of high school in India, where she served as the lead editor for the school's history magazine. Outside of The Spoke, she leads the Bullhorn News, occasionally contributes to the Philadelphia Inquirer and represented Pennsylvania at the Al Neuharth 2023 Journalism Conference in Washington, D.C. At Conestoga, she leads the National History Day Competition team.