Athletics to kick off the programme at 2028 LA Olympics – AW

    No.1 Olympic sport will take place during the opening days of the Los Angeles Games in four years’ time

    In a move which World Athletics describes as an “historic shift in the competition schedule”, track and field athletics will take place in the first week of the Olympic Games for the first time in living memory in Los Angeles in 2028.

    “We are excited to support this visionary timetable change for LA28,” says World Athletics president Seb Coe. “This change underscores our commitment to innovation in athletics and elevating the global profile of our athletes. By prioritising athletics in the first week, the Games will witness the most thrilling of starts, captivating audiences worldwide and setting the stage for an unforgettable Olympic journey for global audiences.”

    When Coe won 1500m gold and 800m silver at the Los Angeles Olympics 40 years ago, the opening ceremony was on July 28 followed by sports such as swimming and gymnastics before the athletics programme began on August 3.

    Similarly, when the London Olympics took place in 2012, the opening ceremony was on July 27 with athletics running from August 3-12.

    World Athletics say that both themselves and LA28 “are confident that this schedule adjustment, which sees swimming events move to the second week, will unlock unparalleled opportunities for athletics in pre-Games promotion and Games-time viewership”.

    The marathon races will still take place at the end of the Games, though.

    Seb Coe wins in 1984 (Mark Shearman)

    World Athletics adds: “The first-week scheduling positions athletics at the forefront of the Games, ensuring a strong start and sustained excitement throughout the event. The historic marathon events will remain over the last weekend, with medals presented during the closing ceremony – a tradition that befits an event that has been part of the programme since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

    “The swap allows athletics, for the first time in memory, to benefit from the high level of interest and excitement provided by the opening ceremony. And not just any opening ceremony, but one crafted in the storytelling and creative capital of the world in Los Angeles.”

    Janet Evans, chief athlete officer of LA28, said: “Over the past months, LA28 has worked closely with World Athletics, World Aquatics, the IOC, and OBS to assess the opportunities around this competition schedule swap.”

    “We believe the positive effects of this change will extend beyond the two sports involved, strengthening the LA28 Games as a whole and ultimately benefiting all sports in the LA28 sport programme.”

    The Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games will be held from July 14-30 in 2028. It marks the third time Los Angeles will host the Olympics, following the 1932 and 1984 Games.

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