(ATR) International sport federations representing cheerleading, kickboxing, lacrosse, muaythai, sambo and ice stock sport were all granted full International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognition at this week’s IOC Session held in Tokyo.
The Session’s approval of an IOC Executive Board recommendation to recognize the federations means that all six sports are now eligible to apply for inclusion on the Olympic program. Sambo, lacrosse, kickboxing and ice stock sport had all been provisionally recognized in 2018 for a three-year probationary period. Cheerleading and muaythai were first provisionally recognized in 2016.
Among the criteria for full recognition are federations having their statutes and activities in line with the Olympic Charter, complying with the World Anti-Doping Code, maintaining independence in their governance structures and having 50 national affiliates (or 25, for winter sports) from three continents.
Of the six sports, lacrosse is generally seen as the most likely to make it onto the Olympic program in the near future; specifically at the Los Angeles 2028 Games due to lacrosse’s popularity in North America. World Lacrosse, the sport’s governing body, has been developing a more fast-paced six-a-side version of the game geared specifically toward that goal.
“While today’s decision represents a historic milestone for World Lacrosse, it is not the culmination of our journey”, said World Lacrosse CEO Jim Scherr. Rather, we will use this new status and the momentum it creates to find new ways to continue expanding opportunities for participation in lacrosse around the globe while supporting even greater growth.”
Other newly accepted sport federations also expressed an interest in lobbying for an Olympic spot in an upcoming cycle.
“We are grateful to the International Olympic Committee for the appreciation of our work and for the attention to our sport. Today we have taken another big step towards our cherished dream, which is the inclusion of Sambo into the program of the Olympic Games”, said the president of the International Sambo Federation, Vasily Shestakov.
“This is definitely one of the most important days in the history of cheerleading,” declared International Cheer Union president Jeff Webb. “With this recognition, you’re not automatically in the Olympic Games, but you can apply, which we intend to do”.
Notably absent from the list of sports gaining full recognition was American football, whose federation, the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), has been provisionally recognized by the IOC since 2013. American football, like lacrosse, is also making an explicit play for the 2028 Olympic program, with IFAF lobbying for inclusion of the contactless ‘flag football’ version.
Presidents of all six added federations were virtually invited to the IOC Session for their sports’ confirmations.
Homepage photo: IOC
Written by Filip Vachuda
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