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Archive for December 8, 2018

Dec. 8, 2018 — LAX 4 LA?

This past week, it was announced that the International Olympic Committee had recognized the international federations of kickboxing, the Russian combat sport called sambo, and lacrosse.

The people involved with the game of lacrosse have been overflowing with enthusiasm, believing that the sport is going to be a full Olympic participant by the time the Summer Olympics return to Los Angeles in 2028.

But count your Founder in the “wait and see” camp.

There are dozens of athletic and even semi-athletic competitive disciplines which have status with the International Olympic Committee that aren’t even close to being on the Olympic program, and are likely not to be without significant changes to the way the Olympics are contested.

Right now, there are caps on overall participation of athletes. An addition of a sport would result in the reduction in number of participants in other competitions. Note, for example, changes in the number of weight classes in boxing and weightlifting over the years as sports like tennis, golf, and rugby have been added.

But my skepticism about adding lacrosse to the Olympic program is mostly about the current hegemony in the sport worldwide. Let’s be honest: the Big Four medal contenders on both the men’s and women’s sides are the United States, Canada, Australia, and Team GB (the united team of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland as they would be playing in an Olympics).

I do laud the powers-that-be in lacrosse for increasing the reach of the sport, especially through hosting the most recent FIL men’s World Cup in Israel.

But there are still large swaths of the globe — Central Asia, Africa, South America — which do not yet have the sport at a competitive level with The Big Four. I think lacrosse falls short of the criteria for inclusion because it is not played in enough countries.

In addition, there could be some unforeseen problems. In an Olympics, there would not be a presence for a Haudenosaunee team of Native Americans and First Nations players from Canada. That could be a major issue down the road.

Let’s see what happens.