Lacrosse targeting Olympics return at 2024 Games

Tom Hayes, director of development at the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL), said the global governing body is aiming to reintroduce lacrosse as an Olympic sport at the 2024 Games.

Hayes said the FIL is confident of the sport making a return to the Olympics after it reached several major milestones in recent years. SportAccord, the umbrella organisation for more than 100 international federations and organisations, accepted the FIL as a member in 2012. The International World Games Association (IWGA) did likewise last year and in April lacrosse was accepted as a participant sport in the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw, Poland.

Hayes said the World Games could serve as a platform to further increase the sport’s international profile. “The future looks good,” Hayes told Lacrosse Magazine. “It's like you're in a dream. We've hit our target dates right on the money, every one of them. Now we're wondering, there has to be some road bump somewhere, but who knows? If you're a hot sport and they see the growth, not only in the number of countries but number of participants, who knows?”

The format of the sport's inclusion in the 2017 World Games is yet to be determined in terms of the number and size of teams, if it will include men’s and women’s competitions, and if it will impact the FIL championship calendar.

Despite the considerations, Hayes is confident about using the event to promote the sport. He said: “We need to expose the sport to people that have never seen it before.”

Alongside golf, lacrosse was one the earliest sports to have featured in the modern Olympics. Lacrosse was a medal sport at the 1904 and 1908 Olympics and was included in a demonstration event at the 1948 Games in London. Golf, which only served as a medal sport once at the 1904 Games, is to return to the Olympics in 2016.

Hayes, speaking ahead of the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships, which commence today in the US city of Denver, added: “We're still taking baby steps… but I don't think it's a matter of if, it's a matter of when.”