Tuesday, May 24, 2022

NFL is making a push to add flag football to the Olympics

Football — American football, that is — is not currently in the Olympics. The NFL is hoping that could (kind of) change soon. The league is pushing to get flag football into the Games, and there is a chance it could happen.

“If flag football becomes an Olympic sport, more countries will invest in playing that sport,” NFL International CEO Damani Leech told NBC Sport on Tuesday.

In 2013, the International Olympic Committee provisionally recognized football’s international federation, but no progress towards getting the sport into the Games has been made since. In order to be included in the Olympics, the sports “must have a broad international representation,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in 2015 when he met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Unfortunately for football fans wanting to see the sport at the Games, Bach also said “This I cannot see in football. It’s a very American sport.”

One year after those comments, football was applied to be included in the Tokyo Games, but did not even make it to the proposal stage to the IOC. Instead, Baseball-softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were proposed and all accepted. In the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics, the new sports are skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were approved again, as was breaking, so football will not be an option for those Games.

That leaves the 2028 Los Angeles Games as the next time football could make a push to be included. The committee for those Games has not yet announced which sports they will add.

“As we look at additional sport recommendations, we will continue to focus on sports that are relevant to Los Angeles, provide an incredible fan experience and contribute to the success of the Games,” LA 2028 chair Casey Wasserman said back in December, according to NBC Sports. “We want to build on tradition, while progressing the Olympic Games forward.”

Football is quite relevant to Los Angeles right now, as their hometown Rams won Super Bowl LVI at the SoFi Stadium.

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