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Olympic Vision

Lacrosse’s return to the Olympics: Q&A

Lacrosse will be competed at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, as confirmed by the International Olympic Committee and LA28 in October.  

Here’s a look at frequently asked questions related to lacrosse’s return to the Olympic stage. 

What lacrosse discipline will be played in the Olympics? 

In 2028, men’s and women’s lacrosse will be competed in sixes, an incredibly fast-paced, compact version of the sport at the intersection of field and box lacrosse, making it equally accessible to all lacrosse athletes. 

Sixes is played on a smaller field with a 30-second shot clock, 8-minute running-time quarters and with no specialist positions. 

It is characterized by an accelerated, open style of play with non-stop, high-scoring action. 

Why is sixes the chosen discipline? 

The selection of sixes as the chosen discipline for lacrosse in the 2028 Olympics stems from several important considerations. Sixes provides a dynamic and compelling version of the sport that aligns well with the demands of the Olympic program. 

Sixes offers a unique fusion of field and box lacrosse, making it equally accessible to current lacrosse players. Its format is tailored to accommodate a broad range of athletes and promotes the stick skills at the heart of the game.  

The decision to use field lacrosse goals was also made with accessibility in mind, so that nations developing the game would not need to buy new equipment. 

Sixes also has a smaller roster of 12 players, which is desirable for the Olympics, in which there is a cap on the overall number of athletes. This athlete limit significantly reduces the likelihood of team sports being added to the program when roster sizes can be greater than 20 for each team. 

Sixes is also highlighted by its increased action with more goals, more transitions and more exciting conclusions to contests. Additionally, the ethos of sixes will produce compelling matchups between more of the top teams involved. This type of gameplay makes for an engaging product for both athletes and spectators that befits the Olympic stage. 

Which teams will play in the 2028 Olympics? 

The qualification process will be set in early 2025 once the number of team allocations is confirmed by LA28 and the IOC.  

Until that process is set, approved and implemented, no teams have qualified. The 2026 World Lacrosse Sixes Championships (men and women) is expected to be the culmination of the qualifying process. 

How many teams will compete in the Olympics? 

The number of teams – which will be the same for men and women – will be finalized in early 2025 based on allocations managed by LA28 and the IOC. A minimum of six teams have been approved per gender for all of the newly added sports, with potential for an increase based on final overall athlete numbers set by the IOC and LA28. WL is targeting a minimum of eight teams per gender.  

What teams are eligible to compete at the Olympics? 

Team/country eligibility is determined by the IOC and typically requires recognition by the UN and representation by an IOC-recognized National Olympic Committee.  

A list of IOC-recognized National Olympic Committees can be found here

Individual athletes must meet both World Lacrosse and IOC eligibility requirements.  

Will the Haudenosaunee be able to play in the Olympics? 

World Lacrosse has the utmost respect for the heritage of lacrosse. As the originators of the game, Native Americans are represented by Haudenosaunee Nationals Lacrosse, which is recognized as a full member of World Lacrosse and is warmly welcomed and celebrated at WL events. World Lacrosse also successfully advocated for the Haudenosaunee’s inclusion in The World Games 2022, where both their men’s and women’s teams competed. 

Participation at the Olympic Games follows a specific structure involving the 206 National Olympic Committees. World Lacrosse will finalize the LA28 qualification process with the IOC after Paris 2024, and is fully committed to collaborating with the IOC, LA28 and relevant NOCs to find creative solutions to showcase the sport’s history and enable a pathway for the Haudenosaunee to participate in the Olympics while respecting the Olympic Games framework.   

Where will lacrosse be played in LA? 

Lacrosse fits into the existing LA28 venue plan, and the sport’s competition location is expected to be announced by LA28 in the coming months.  

What happens after 2028; is lacrosse still in the Olympics? 

Under the IOC’s process, new sports are initially added for a single edition of the Games and may then become part of the more permanent program, though inclusion for any sport is never guaranteed. 

What does the international lacrosse calendar look like between now and the Olympics? 

World Lacrosse hosts six world championships on a quadrennial basis: men’s field, women’s field, men’s U20 field, women’s U20 field, box (men’s and women’s) and sixes (men’s and women’s).  

In addition, WL supports Continental Federation events that serve as qualifiers for the world championships and a calendar of annual sixes events, and also participates in The World Games, a quadrennial global multi-sport event. 

In 2024, World Lacrosse will run the women’s U20 championship in Hong Kong, China, and the box championships with both men’s and women’s tournaments in Utica, New York, United States. 

In 2025, World Lacrosse will host the men’s U20 championship and participate in The World Games 2025 in Chengdu, China, with the sixes discipline.  

In 2026, the women’s championship as well as the sixes championships for men and women will take place and in 2027, the men’s championship will be contested again.  

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