In a historic shift, the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games will commence with track and field athletics in the first week, a significant departure from past schedules. World Athletics has hailed this decision as an “historic shift in the competition schedule,” noting it will be the first time in recent memory that these events will start at the beginning of the Games.

Seb Coe, President of World Athletics, expressed strong support for this innovative change. “We are thrilled to endorse this visionary schedule for LA28,” he said. “This adjustment demonstrates our commitment to advancing athletics and enhancing the global visibility of our athletes. By placing athletics at the forefront of the Games, we are setting the stage for an electrifying start that will captivate audiences worldwide and ensure an unforgettable Olympic experience.”

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Reflecting on his own participation at the Los Angeles Olympics 40 years ago, where he won gold in the 1500m and silver in the 800m, Coe recalled that the opening ceremony took place on July 28, with sports like swimming and gymnastics following before the athletics events began on August 3. Similarly, during the London 2012 Olympics, the opening ceremony was held on July 27, with athletics events running from August 3-12.

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World Athletics and LA28 are confident that this new schedule, which shifts swimming events to the second week, will enhance promotion and viewership of athletics. The marathon races will still take place at the end of the Games, maintaining tradition.

 

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“The first-week scheduling places athletics at the heart of the Games, ensuring a dynamic start and sustained excitement throughout the event,” World Athletics stated. “The historic marathon events will remain on the last weekend, with medals awarded during the closing ceremony – honoring a tradition that dates back to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. This schedule change allows athletics to benefit from the high level of interest generated by the opening ceremony, especially one crafted in the storytelling and creative hub of Los Angeles.”

Janet Evans, Chief Athlete Officer of LA28, emphasized the collaborative efforts behind this decision. “Over the past months, LA28 has closely collaborated with World Athletics, World Aquatics, the IOC, and OBS to evaluate the opportunities presented by this schedule change,” she said. “We believe the positive impact of this change will extend beyond the two sports involved, strengthening the overall LA28 Games and benefiting all sports within the LA28 program.”

The Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games will take place from July 14-30, marking the third time the city will host the Olympics, following the 1932 and 1984 Games.