Lacrosse to be decided as Olympic summer sport

LOS ANGELES — The Haudenosaunee Nationals lacrosse teams, dressed in their regalia, carrying their own flag, representing their own nations, lighting an Olympic torch at the 2028 games hosted by the city of Los Angeles is a dream for lacrosse in Haudenosaunee territory.

That Olympic dream just inched closer to reality.

On August 3, LA28 invited lacrosse to present its case amongst eight other sports for Olympic inclusion. So in the next few months, the International Olympic Committee will decide if lacrosse is in or out of the 2028 summer Olympics.

Baseball/softball, breaking, cricket, flag football, karate, kickboxing, motorsport and squash are the other sports being considered for addition to the program.

World Lacrosse, the governing body for the international sport of lacrosse, made changes to the game, creating the World Lacrosse Sixes, a game with fewer players that better fit the IOCs move to make the Olympic games smaller, less costly and reducing the complexity of staging.

If lacrosse returns as an Olympic medal sport, it will then be on the Haudenosaunee to continue fighting for their teams to be represented. The game has only been an Olympic medal sport twice in over a century ago.

There are requirements that nations have to meet in order to be considered a country to create a national olympic committee and then gain entry into the Olympics. According to the Olympic Charter, “the expression ‘country’ means an independent State recognized by the international community.”

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy is located across southern Ontario, Canada and upstate New York like a checkerboard. This impacts nationhood as defined by the charter, but not nationhood as defined by Onkwehon:we.

Being recognized as a nation isn’t the only way into the Olympics. The Olympic committee can also make an exception and allow the Haudenosaunee Nationals to play, but that isn’t the route the team wants to go.

Going the non-exception route means the Haudenosaunee will need to have four other men’s and women’s sport teams to compete at the Olympics. Haudenosaunee leadership will also need to advocate for their nation to be represented at the Olympics.

The womens team officially formed in 2006 but under another different organization. For years, the Haudenosaunee Nationals men’s and women’s teams operated under different organizations.

Now they operate together.

In July, the women’s team heads to the 2022 World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship, which happens every four years. This year the games will be hosted by Towson University in Towson, Maryland.

As for going to the Olympics in 2028, the event is predicted to only allow 9,500 athletes, a thousand less than in 2021, meaning the Haudenosaunee have to be strategic about what four other sports they choose.

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