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Softball is Officially Back in the Olympics for 2028 in Los Angeles

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It’s official. Softball is back in the Olympics for the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.

Softball is among five sports that were added by the International Olympic Committee on Monday, with cricket, flag football, lacrosse and squash also confirmed for the program.

The slate of sports cleared a final hurdle from the Olympic body’s full membership at a meeting in Mumbai, India, after being proposed by Los Angeles officials one week ago and recommended by the IOC executive board last Friday.

All five (softball/baseball are grouped together) were voted in as a single package with two “no” votes from about 90 IOC members in the room.

No details were included on the intended format or facilities for softball. In Tokyo, the tournament consisted of six teams, down from eight teams in each of the sport’s previous four Olympics tournaments. As in previous editions, rosters were limited to 15 athletes. 

As part of Olympic reforms and retooling over the past decade, organizing committees have the ability to propose sports for inclusion on a one-time basis, often to appeal to local audiences or specific demographics. Inclusion in 2028 would not guarantee that softball will be part of the 2032 program in Brisbane, Australia.

First included in the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996, softball was part of the program through the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Dropped, along with baseball, following Beijing, the sport returned in 2021 as part of the delayed Tokyo Olympics—again as a sport included by local organizers, rather than the IOC’s regular slate of sports. 

In Los Angeles, the United States will hope to snap a 24-year gold medal drought. Japan defeated the U.S. for gold in both 2008 and 2021. 

Olympics aside, the United States is the three-time reigning world champion, having won the WBSC World Cup (formerly World Championship) in 2016, 2018 and 2022. Among members of the U.S. team coached by Heather Tarr that won the 2022 world title in Birmingham, Ala., Ally Carda would be 35 in 2028—the oldest among players who took the field in the gold medal game and have not retired. 

The 28 sports that were already part of the 2028 program are: Aquatics, Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Canoe, Cycling, Equestrian, Fencing, Field hockey, Golf, Gymnastics, Handball, Judo, Rowing, Rugby, Sailing, Shooting, Skateboarding, Soccer, Sport Climbing, Surfing, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Volleyball (beach and indoor) and Wrestling.

Check out our latest interview with two-time olympian Natasha Watley on YouTube.