Cricket at the Summer Olympics
|Cricket at the Summer Olympics|
|Events||1 (men: 1; women: 0)|
Cricket has been a sport at the modern Summer Olympic Games. The only time it has been played was at the 1900 Summer Olympics with only a men's contest when Great Britain won the gold medal, but the possibility of it being contested at the Olympics again has recently resurfaced.
Cricket was originally scheduled to be included in the inaugural 1896 Summer Olympics, which were held in Athens; cricket would have been the only team sport held at the Games. There were, however, insufficient entries and so no event was held.
The event was held at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris four years later but only two countries competed, Great Britain and hosts France. The French team was mostly represented by English expatriates while the English team was represented by Devon & Somerset Wanderers Cricket Club, so was not nationally selected. It is considered that few of the participants would have been good enough to play first-class cricket — only the British side had experience of eight such games in its side through Somerset's Montagu Toller and Alfred Bowerman.
The match was played over two days with both 12-a-side teams batting two innings each and did not attract first-class status. England won the match by 158 runs to win the gold medal. If the French had held out for five more minutes the game would have declared a draw. Knowledge of the game would have been lost but for the forethought of John Symes, a member of the victorious team, who kept a scorecard in his own writing.
Efforts to revive cricket at the Olympics
Cricket's governing bodies have for much of their recent history been unwilling to return to the Olympics. In particular, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and England Cricket Board (ECB), considered international cricket's two most powerful boards, have long been opposed.
More recently, the prospect of a return to the Olympics for cricket has become more likely. In March 2017, it was reported that International Cricket Council chief Dave Richardson thought the "time is right" for Olympic cricket. It has been reported that the opposition of the BCCI, India's governing body for cricket and the world's most powerful national board, to cricket at the Olympics has softened.
Any re-introduced event would, unlike the 1900 version, also likely include a women's event. The proposed format would include eight teams split into two groups before two semi-finals and two medal matches. The likely format would be Twenty20 cricket, the shortest of the three formats of the game established at international level. It has been suggested that inclusion of the sport at the Commonwealth Games could be a springboard for inclusion in the Olympic Games. It was last an event in at those Games at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia.
Cricket is the most popular sport in the highly populous Indian subcontinent area, notably in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka.. The deadline for submissions for the initial sports programme has passed for the 2024 Summer Olympics, but hosts Paris will have an opportunity to propose events up until the IOC board meeting following the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Three leading cricket sides - England, Ireland and the West Indies - do not correspond to Olympic national teams, a problem also faced in rugby and association football. The United Kingdom competes at the Olympics as Great Britain with athletes from England, Scotland, Wales and those British Overseas Territories without their own Olympic team. Athletes from Northern Ireland can choose to represent either Great Britain or Ireland. In cricket, Scotland has its own team, Welsh players play for the England team, and the Ireland team represents the Republic and Northern Ireland together. In rugby, Team GB have to nominate one Home Nations team whose results will be used to determine whether Great Britain as a whole qualifies for the Olympics, but players from all the Home Nations can play for the combined team according to the usual Olympic rules.
The West Indies cricket team covers much of the Caribbean, which has several Olympic associations including Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis and United States Virgin Islands. Athletes from dependent territories without an Olympic association can represent the "mother country" without affecting their affiliations in other events. Thus West Indies cricketers from Anguilla and Montserrat would be eligible for Great Britain at the Olympics, and those from Sint Maarten could represent the Netherlands.
|Year||Host||Gold medal game||Bronze medal game|
|Great Britain won by 158 runs||
|only two nations entered|
|Games||Venue||Other sports hosted at venues for those games||Capacity||Ref.|
|1900 Paris||Vélodrome de Vincennes||Cycling, Football, Gymnastics, Rugby union||Not listed.|||
- Bery, Scyld (5 April 2012). "We should salute the wonder of Devon Wanderers, Olympic cricket champions for 112 years". Daily Telegraph.
- Buchanan, Ian (1993). Mallon, Bill, ed. "Cricket at the 1900 Games" (PDF). Journal of Olympic History. International Society of Olympic Historians. 1 (2): 4.
- Williamson, Martin (9 August 2008). "The ignorant Olympians". Cricinfo. ESPN. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
- Joint, Laura (21 August 2008). "When Devon's cricketers won Olympic gold". BBC.
- Wigmore, Tom (25 July 2017). "Cricket is on the verge of making its application for Olympic inclusion". The Guardian.
- Wigmore, Tom (24 July 2017). "Women's World Cup success moves cricket closer to Olympic return in 2024". The Guardian.
- "2024 Olympics: 'Time is right' for cricket bid – ICC chief Dave Richardson". BBC Sport. 30 March 2017.
- Dobell, George (25 April 2017). "Men's cricket a chance for 2022 Commonwealth Games". Cricinfo.
- 1900 Summer Olympics official report. Archived 28 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine. pp. 15–16. Accessed 14 November 2010. (in French)