Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

2028 Summer Olympics draws new, old fans with slate of both classic and fresh sports

The+Olympic+rings.+Illustration+by+Rachel+Choi.
Rachel Choi
The Olympic rings. Illustration by Rachel Choi.

The 2028 Summer Olympics are over four years away, but exciting changes are being made to the program now.

The 2028 Games will feature five sports that will not be seen in next year’s Paris Summer Games. Flag football and squash will make their debut, while the other three have appeared in some Olympic form before—two of which are played here at Emerson. All five sports were reviewed and accepted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Olympic Programme Commission (OPC) and Executive Board as a package for LA28 only.

Lacrosse was included as a medal sport in 1904 and 1908 and a demonstration sport in 1928, 1932 and 1948. The oldest team sport in North America, lacrosse has seen significant global growth in the last few decades. World Lacrosse, the IOC-recognized international governing body for lacrosse, added four new countries to its membership base recently, bringing the total to 90. 

For the upcoming summer Olympics, however, a new form of lacrosse will be played, called “Sixes”. Invented in 2018, Sixes is a fast-paced, compact version of lacrosse intended to reduce the complexity of the sport and increase accessibility. 

“The Olympics gives our sport the platform and visibility to achieve unprecedented growth,” USA Lacrosse CEO Marc Riccio said in an Oct. 16 USA Lacrosse news post.

Sixes is played in roughly 45-minute games, with 8-minute quarters and a 30-second shot clock. Six players will take the field with no specialist positions, just runners and goalies. 

However, the Emerson lacrosse community—and the lacrosse community at large—is divided on whether the introduction of the game in this way is beneficial to the progression of the sport.

“I’m happy it’s being added, but I don’t like the way they are implementing it,” freshman women’s lacrosse defender Sydney O’Hara said in an interview with the Beacon. “I think they are devaluing the importance of lacrosse by changing it.” 

Baseball and softball appeared on the docket at Tokyo 2020, but they were both dropped after the IOC cited Major League Baseball’s unwillingness to alter their season to let the athletes compete in the games. In 2020, Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league interrupted their season so that top stars could play, since the timing of the Summer Olympics overlaps with the regular baseball season. The MLB’s 162-game season would certainly cause some scheduling problems if they let athletes compete this time around.

It’s not for a lack of enthusiasm on the players’ end. In an interview with ESPN on Oct. 16, Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper said he would “love to put USA on [his] chest and represent it at the highest level.”

Many are wondering if the MLB will take after the NHL, who haven’t let their pro athletes compete in the Olympics since Sochi 2014. 

For softball, however, the reintroduction to the Olympics is an exciting opportunity to showcase their best players in a novel way.

“It’s really important for women’s sports and gives players the opportunity to showcase their talents that they’ve built for years on one of the biggest stages for sports,” first-year softball second baseman Riley Caiazza said.

Softball often gets less attention than its male counterpart. Their most prominent national league, the National Pro Fastpitch, contained only six teams and was suspended in 2021 due to a lack of revenue from canceling the two previous seasons for COVID-19 related reasons. 

“I find softball to be a really overlooked sport,” Caiazza said. “I think it’s great for young athletes to see and I know I’m super excited to watch it.”

The inclusion of these five new sports allows LA28 to both showcase American sports and bring international sports to the U.S., broadening the audience for each one.

The final sport brought back for LA28 is the English game of cricket. The last time cricket was on the program for the Olympics was Paris 1900. For decades, the sport has been almost the sole preserve of larger countries like England and India, so the chance to roster a team for each country has thrilled smaller ones who simply need the opportunity to play bigger teams.

Cricket has low popularity in the U.S., so its inclusion in the games will also afford it the chance to reach out to American sports fans and establish a footing in a relatively untapped American market.

The games will take place from July 14 to July 30, 2028 in and around Los Angeles, Calif.

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About the Contributor
Anna Knepley, Assistant Sports Editor
Anna Knepley (she/her) is a freshman journalism major from just outside of Baltimore, Maryland. She currently serves as the assistant sports editor. Outside of the Beacon, she can be found hanging out with friends, exploring the city and writing for the CPLA newsletter. 

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