LP hosts Olympic lax discussion

LAKE PLACID — If lacrosse is to make its return to the Olympic Games, the sport’s followers will look to Lake Placid as an important piece in taking a step in that direction.

The International Olympic Committee has initially paved the way for Olympic re-inclusion with provisional recognition, but an important discussion that occurred at the Lake Placid Summit Classic tournament moved that dialogue.

“This sport epitomizes the Olympic ideals like no sport,” said Jim Scherr, the one-time head of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee who is now CEO of World Lacrosse, to an onsite audience as well as viewers on Facebook Live. “It has a phenomenal history and tradition and origins which makes it a special sport. But also, it is a fast-moving, exciting sport that has the best of the Olympic ideals of friendship, fair play and excellence.”

The sport was only contested in 1904 and 1908. Its last appearance was as a demonstration sport in 1948, when Ned Harkness, the eventual CEO of ORDA, coached the American squad. However, with the efforts of World Lacrosse and US Lacrosse, the goal is to return for Los Angeles in 2028.

The Lake Placid Olympic seminar, conducted by tSummit Lacrosse Ventures ournament organizers, featured representatives of both governing bodies. Those individuals shed much light on the work needed to make 2028 a reality.

Currently, 62 nations participate in lacrosse, and World Lacrosse has a goal to increase that to 100 in the next five years. It is also considering a smaller playing field with less players per team and trimming the length of games, measures all designed to expedite that growth and make future games, including the Olympics, more competitive with more nations contending.

The new direction to accommodate this Olympic dream alters the paradigm of lacrosse.

“It’s disruptive. It’s different. You are going against what you are used to and what you love,” said Steve Stenersen, chief of US Lacrosse. “This is simply the addition of a discipline that I hope will not only help us with our Olympic aspirations, but also in terms of development.”

The seminar and comments took place in an appropriate setting, as Lake Placid is a two-time Winter Olympic host and has conducted the Summit Lacrosse Classic for 30 years. The 2019 edition brought over 250 male and female teams to the village for a week of entertaining action from high school athletes to adults to masters.

Finally, SLV stated that ensuing Olympic seminars and exhibitions will be held in conjunction with future tournaments.


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