Why Isn’t Lacrosse in the Olympics?

22 July 2022

Lacrosse is a beloved sport, particularly in the United States. Quickly on the rise in regard to popularity, lacrosse programs are beginning to explode, particularly in high schools and other youth sports programs. So, why isn’t lacrosse in the Olympics? 

Lacrosse has only recently become more popular outside of the United States and Canada, and it takes quite a few requirements to qualify as an Olympic sport. However, the good news for lacrosse lovers is that, even though lacrosse is not currently in the Olympics, it might be soon!

The rest of this article will explain why lacrosse currently is not in the Olympics, and the path it is on to becoming an Olympic sport.  

Why isn’t Lacrosse an Olympic Sport? 

Field lacrosse was actually a full medal sport at the 1904 and 1908 Olympics, and was a demonstration sport in 1928, 1932, and 1948. While lacrosse has become more popular and continued to expand across the world, it has not been in the Olympics since then. 

It takes time and qualifications in order for a sport to be an Olympic Sport, and one of the major challenges lacrosse has faced on this journey was establishing an international governing federation. It took a great deal of time for lacrosse to establish this federation, as well as to be recognized by the required agencies. 

The popularity of lacrosse has only begun to expand out of the United States and Canada in recent years, and the sport was granted provisional status by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2018. The provisional status is granted for a three-year period and is not an automatic guarantee of inclusion in future Olympic games. 

The IOC then requires a seven-year period prior to being able to participate in the Olympics, meaning that, while there has been some headway made for lacrosse, there is still a bit of a way to go until it can be included in the Olympics. 

What Does it Take for a Sport to be in the Olympics?

Again, there is actually a lengthy process for sports to be approved for the Olympics. An Olympic Proposal must be made, detailing the sport’s history and international presence, followed by an Olympic value and financial status in order to determine if the sport has the means to join and maintain the Olympic principles. Finally, the sport must be popular enough to compete and generate a profit.

In addition to this, the Olympic Charter requires a sport to be practiced by men in 75 countries on four continents and practiced by women in 40 countries on three continents in order to be eligible for the Olympics. World Lacrosse has now increased its membership to seventy countries on six continents, so this key criterion is not far off for lacrosse. 

One of the difficulties with including a new sport in the Olympics is also the number of sports already involved, as there cannot be too many. More recently, the International Olympic Committee has been working to manage the number of Olympic sports, meaning that many new sports can only be added so long as existing sports are removed. 

This holds pros and cons for sports fans, as lacrosse may be added, but it may mean another sport is removed. 

When Will Lacrosse be in the Olympics?

The Federation of International Lacrosse is now internationally recognized and recently gained membership in the International World Games Association, and now that it has been granted provisional status by the IOC, it is one step closer to being in the Olympics. 

World Lacrosse is currently hopeful that lacrosse will be included in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, making an exciting return to the world of Olympic sports. 


Lacrosse is a popular sport in the United States, with its popularity growing across the world. Lacrosse fans are anxious to see it included in the Olympics, and the good news is that it may be soon! 

Lacrosse is not currently in the Olympics because it does not qualify, and has only recently been recognized by the International World Games Association. While it has been included in the Olympics in the past, it is still on the path toward becoming an actual Olympic sport.