From the CEO: Why the Olympics Matter


Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at the University of Southern California with the Olympic torch lit and LA28 superimposed on its facade.

Why do we want lacrosse in the Olympics?

It is a question I get often. Surprisingly often. Most times the question is offered with genuine excitement and interest. Other times it’s with a twinge of skepticism, which I also find surprising.

Early this morning, the International Olympic Committee formally approved the Los Angeles organizing committee’s recommendation to add lacrosse (and four other sports) to the Summer Games in 2028. It’s a monumental milestone for the sport.

Here are the real reasons why lacrosse becoming an Olympic sport in LA28 matters.


If you see it, you are more likely to try it. It is straightforward and glaringly obvious that appearing on the world stage will expose more people to lacrosse. This will increase the number of people who experiment and try the game, which grows participation.

Increased participation is the gateway to popularity and stability for a sport. This is a proven formula other sports have benefited from.


Sixes is an effective entrance to the game. The Olympic discipline for men and women is called sixes — intuitive and simple 6v6 on a smaller field with draws only at the quarter breaks. After a goal, you pick up the ball and go. A sixes game takes about an hour and is action packed. It is a great fan, TV and athlete experience.

Sixes aligns with Flex6 Lacrosse — a version of the game USA Lacrosse introduced in 2018. Flex6 Lacrosse lowers the barrier of entrance and makes the first lacrosse experiences easy and fun. Kids play with no equipment (other than a stick), soft balls, on a smaller field with fewer players per team so they touch the ball a lot in a less structured environment.

Olympic sixes brings more validity and accelerates a growth and player development strategy that is working.


Olympic recognition will result in lacrosse investment in the U.S. and by other nations. Investment results in more opportunities and the flywheel begins.

Many other nations outside the U.S. will now be eligible for funding from their government because of the sport’s Olympic status. That is incredibly impactful because so many nations bootstrap their programs, making it hard to establish the game in that country.

In the U.S., Olympic sports do not receive government funding — your Olympic lacrosse teams will be fully and solely funded by USA Lacrosse.  However, competition at the Olympic level will attract new donors, members, sponsorship and media opportunities for USA Lacrosse.

This investment will allow USA Lacrosse to invest more funds into our 11-word ethos: Fuel the Growth. Enrich the Experience. Field the Best National Teams.


Yes, fun. After all, that is what this game is all about. It will be fun to train, compete and see great athletes from all over the world play lacrosse at the highest levels of international competition.

Marc Riccio (@MarcRiccio21) is the president and CEO of USA Lacrosse.


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