GREEN BAY – Flag football is coming to the Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee announced on Monday the addition of flag football and five other sports to the list of events in the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Flag football and squash will make their Olympic debut in Los Angeles, while the IOC also approved the return of baseball, softball, cricket, and lacrosse to the Olympic roster.
"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. These sports will make the Olympic Games LA28 unique," said IOC president Thomas Bach in a statement. "Their inclusion will allow the Olympic Movement to engage with new athlete and fan communities in the U.S. and globally."
The six sports were proposed by the LA28 Organizing Committee as a package for addition to the Games and were reviewed and supported by the IOC's Olympic Program Commission (OPC) and Executive Board (EB).
The decision follows prior recommendations by all three oversight entities and concludes a two-year process of evaluation.
It comes after the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) and the NFL formed Vision28 – a unique joint venture and partnership model – which places flag football at the heart of shared sport development goals globally.
"Congratulations to the International Federation of American Football on this landmark achievement for flag football and the global community that loves and plays our game," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.
"It's a tremendous honor for any athlete to represent their country at the Olympics. We have no doubt that this decision will inspire millions of young people around the world to play this game in the years ahead. The NFL is committed to working together to strengthen flag football's place in the Olympic movement long term, and we look forward to continuing this exciting journey with IFAF, the LA28 Organizing Committee, the International Olympic Committee and USA Football."
Flag football – a short, fast, non-contact and gender-equal format, renowned as the most accessible and inclusive version of American football – is spearheading exceptional worldwide participation growth in American football, especially among women and girls.
According to NFL data, an estimated 20 million participants in more than 100 countries currently play flag football, which is growing in tandem with the exploding international popularity of the NFL, as America's favorite spectator sport continues to build on a global fanbase of 340 million.