Lacrosse Editorial – Lacrosse is One Step Closer to an Olympic Return

During the recent International Olympic Committee (IOC) meetings, just ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, it was announced that full recognition status would be granted to World Lacrosse.  An absolutely historic moment for the international federation of a sport last featured on the Olympic platform 73 years ago.

What does this mean?

Full recognition ensures that World Lacrosse will maintain its status as a member of the Association of IOC Recognized International Sports Federations (ARISF). Additionally, World Lacrosse will continue to be eligible to receive financial support through the IOC Development Program and will continue to benefit from access to IOC meetings, educational seminars, publications and other resources.

Has Lacrosse ever been in the Olympics before?

Lacrosse was a medal sport in the 1904 and 1908 Olympics, and a demonstration sport in 1928, 1933 and 1948.

What is still needed for lacrosse to be a medal sport at the Olympic level?

The Olympic Charter states that a sport must be practiced widely by men in 75 countries on four continents, and by women in 40 countries on three continents, to be eligible for the Olympics.  While Lacrosse isn’t quite there yet, World Lacrosse has increased it’s membership to 70 nations on six continents with seven new nations joining in the last 20 months.

What is the timeline World Lacrosse is looking at?

World Lacrosse has its sights set on the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles for a return to the program.

“This is a momentous day for lacrosse enthusiasts around the world and a reason for our entire World Lacrosse family to celebrate,” said World Lacrosse President Sue Redfern. “We are deeply grateful to the Membership of the International Olympic Committee for today’s vote and the expression of confidence it reflects. With Full Recognition comes greater responsibility, and we are committed to serving as an active and engaged member of the international sport community and supporting our partners across sport.”

“The evaluation process for Full Recognition has been intensive, but at every step in the process, the IOC has helped make World Lacrosse a stronger, more effective international federation, and we greatly appreciate the IOC’s ongoing support and encouragement,” said World Lacrosse Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr. “While today’s decision represents a historic milestone for World Lacrosse, it is not the culmination of our journey. Rather, we will use this new status and the momentum it creates to find new ways to continue expanding opportunities for participation in lacrosse around the globe while supporting even greater growth.”

In May 2021, World Lacrosse formally introduced a new discipline of lacrosse:

“World Lacrosse Sixes”

Specifically designed to…

• Support and encourage the continued growth of lacrosse worldwide

• Provide greater access to lacrosse by eliminating barriers to entry (eg: cost, team size, field size)

• Appeal to the next generation of sport participants and fans with a discipline that features tempo, speed, scoring and less specialization

• Over time, create greater competitive balance internationally by bringing more nations within reach of the podium at major international events


• And, fit within the 21st Century Olympic framework, where the International Olympic Committee and Host Cities are working to reduce the cost and complexity of staging the Olympic Games

The response to World Lacrosse Sixes has been overwhelmingly positive, with five international or domestic invitational events already scheduled for the latter part of 2021.

This is yet another huge step in the growth of arguably the fastest growing sport in today’s era.  Stay tuned as the not so distant future looks to be a very exciting time for everyone involved with the game of lacrosse.

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