Skip to main content

Learn More About Lacrosse


What is the history of lacrosse?

The earliest renditions of lacrosse trace back to the 17th century; it is one of the oldest team sports in North America, initially played by Native American tribes. These games served a few different purposes—for fun, to strengthen the younger boys, to settle arguments, or to appease the Creator—and always began and ended with a ritual dance. The field had no official out-of-bounds, and teams ranged from 100 to 1,000 players.

As European settlers came across the Atlantic, some of them who witnessed the game were attracted to it. Others, especially the Jesuits, condemned its violence and gambling aspects. The Montreal Lacrosse Club formed in 1856 by Canadian dentist William George Beers. He also wrote new rules to adjust the duration and number of players.

The sport grew in the United States, and by the 20th century, it appeared in colleges and universities across the country. Different styles of gameplay now include field lacrosse, box lacrosse (played in an indoor arena), women's lacrosse (which is non-contact) and intercrosse (coed play).

Lacrosse at the Olympic Games

Lacrosse has only been a medal competition in the Olympics twice, in 1904 and 1908; Canada took home the gold both times. It appeared as a demonstration event three times after that, in 1928, 1932, and finally in 1948. In each of these outings, only men were allowed to compete.

The only countries to send teams were the United States, Canada, and Great Britain; because of this, each country has one at least one medal.

What are the current Olympic lacrosse events?

There are no current Olympic events for lacrosse. The highest level of competition for field lacrosse is World Lacrosse Championships which is held every four years.

Sports in this article

Lacrosse