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The History of Lacrosse & The Olympics

07/30/2012, 8:00am EDT
By Dave Walls for NLL.com

A look at the history of lacrosse on the world's biggest stage

Patrick Brennan of Team Canada battles for a loose ball in the 1908 Olympics.

As the Summer Olympics capture the attention of the world, lacrosse fans have to wonder when their time to shine on the Olympic stage will come. While the sport continues to grow internationally and prepare for an inevitable return to the Olympics, it's important to note the history that lacrosse already has with the Olympic Stage that dates back over 100 years.

Lacrosse was an official sport in the 1904 and 1908 Olympics, with teams from Canada winning the gold medal on both occasions. In 1904, two teams from Canada and one from the United States competed, with the Shamrock Lacrosse Club defeating the St. Louis Amateur Athletic Association 8-2.

Canada would take the gold again in the 1908 Olympics in London, as Great Britian and Canada battled in a single match, as the third team from South Africa withdrew just before the games began. Both teams showed vastly improved offenses, but the Canadians would pull away late for a 14-10 victory. 

After 1908, lacrosse was removed from the official program of events, although it was held as an unofficial demonsration sport in 1928, 1932, and in 1948. Large crowds of up to 75,000 fans showed up in 1932 in Los Angeles, and also filled Wembley Stadium in 1948 for the final demonstration game, featuring a 5-5 tie between Great Britain and the United States.

As the Olympics roll on in London, lacrosse fans know that with the game's ever-increasing popularity on an international level, it is only a matter of time before lacrosse returns to the global stage, where it rightly belongs.

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