THE OLYMPIC CANDIDATURE
Can cricket enter the Olympics? ©Getty
What is common to cheerleading, flag football, lacrosse, baseball, softball and cricket? All are competing for a spot at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Los Angeles 2028.
In a few weeks there could be a better picture of cricket’s prospects in its bid for the Olympics, although the final decision will not be made until next year.
LA28 organizers will be calling the sports disciplines in serious contention to pitch next month and the International Cricket Council (ICC), the game’s global governing body, has serious work to do, should it receive an invitation to Los Angels. So far, no invitations have been extended to the ICC, nor to any of the budding disciplines.
It is understood that invitations will likely be sent out in the coming weeks after a thorough understanding of a game’s connection to the Olympic movement as well as the host city of Los Angeles.
A recent the wall street journal The report says cricket’s time could come at Brisbane 2032, but ICC officials are confident of its inclusion in the LA28. “One of our strategic priorities is to compete in the LA Olympics. The decision is made by the IOC in consultation with the LA28 LOC. All we can do is do our best and hope that the cricket will be brought to LA,” ICC President Greg Barclay recently told Cricbuzz.
He pushed the envelope by raising the point of one billion fans. “We believe there is a unique opportunity in the partnership between cricket, the Olympic Movement and LA2028. We want our global fan base of over one billion people to be part of the greatest sporting event in the world. We want our best players and the most dynamic format to take advantage of the Games’ unique global platform,” Barclay said as quoted by WSJ.
Having already announced 28 disciplines for the Games, LA28 said it did not have to include a new sport but was not against new disciplines. However, new entrants will have to respect the quota cap of 10,500 athletes set by the IOC.
“In February 2022, the IOC announced the 28 Olympic sports in the initial LA28 sports programme, including aquatics, archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, canoeing, cycling, horse riding, fencing, golf, gymnastics, handball, hockey, judo, rowing, rugby, sailing, shooting, skateboarding, soccer, sport climbing, surfing, taekwondo, tennis, tennis table, triathlon, volleyball and wrestling.
“Beyond the initial 28 sports, the LA28 Games Organizing Committee has the option, but not the obligation, to propose additional new sports for inclusion in the LA28 Olympic programme. In the coming months, LA28 and the The IOC will work with the International Federations to review the disciplines with the judging criteria. The criteria will also assist in the judging of potential new sports for the LA28 Olympics,” an LA28 spokesperson told this website. When specifically asked if the athlete quota was flexible, the spokesperson said: “The IOC has set the quota of 10,500 athletes for the Olympic Games.”
The lack of serious infrastructure for the game and the major following of cricket in the United States are considered the shortcomings of the ICC bid, but it put the best foot forward by awarding a World Cup to America ( 2024 T20 World Cup with the West Indies). From August, India will travel to the United States to play some T20I against the West Indies.
The ICC will present those points, along with a billion fan base arguments, but first it will need to be on the IOC and LA28’s list of ‘serious contenders’ which should be known in the coming weeks.