Lacrosse: Big decision brings men's and women's teams one step closer to the Olympics

Colorado Springs, Colorado – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Tuesday it would grant Full Recognition to World Lacrosse, a huge step forward for the sport in its quest to join the Olympics.

World Lacrosse has received Full Recognition by the International Olympic Committee.
World Lacrosse has received Full Recognition by the International Olympic Committee.  © Screenshot/Instagram/c_radziewicz

The international federation for lacrosse is on a mission to bring the sport to the Olympics by 2028 in Los Angeles. Though the IOC's decision doesn't make that dream a reality yet, it does bring lax fans one step closer to the goal.

According to a press release, the decision came during the 138th IOC session in Tokyo after an IOC executive board approved a recommendation earlier in June.

"This is a momentous day for lacrosse enthusiasts around the world and a reason for our entire World Lacrosse family to celebrate," the release quoted World Lacrosse President Sue Redfern as saying.

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"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," she continued.

World Lacrosse CEO Jim Scherr said, "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."

"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," he concluded.

World Lacrosse launches a new version of the game

The US Women's Lacrosse team at the 2017 World Games, where they took first place.
The US Women's Lacrosse team at the 2017 World Games, where they took first place.  © Screenshot/Instagram/taylorcummings_

Lacrosse, not currently an Olympic sport, has appeared at the Games before. The first time it was played at the Olympics was in 1904 in St. Louis. It was a medal sport in 1904 and 1908 and played as a demonstration sport in 1928, 1932, and 1948.

The recent push to make the Olympics gave rise to World Lacrosse Sixes. Reducing the on-field team size to six players, the field size to 36 x 70 meters, and the quarter length to eight minutes each, the new rules aim to increase the tempo of the game. The 30-second shot clock is meant to make the experience even more exciting for spectators.

In addition to making lax more accessible and competitive, World Lacrosse says the new discipline brings the sport "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."

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Launched in May 2021, five or six invitational events showcasing World Lacrosse Sixes are already planned for the second half of the year, the federation reported.

It is this version of the game that is likely to be featured should lacrosse make it to the Olympics.

Cover photo: Screenshot/Instagram/c_radziewicz

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