Flag football has crossed the first hurdle to the Olympic Games.
Mexico (women) and the USA (men) won historic first gold medals in Flag Football, while the USA (women) and Italy (men) won silver medals at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama. On a stunning final night in the Magic City, Flag football marked the sport's debut at a global multi-sport event, giving it's fast, highly skilled and world-class athletes the chance to shine on the world stage.
In the women's final, the Mexicans smoothly defeated the world champions the USA to win a convincing 39-6. Despite the overwhelming support of the loud fans at the historic Legion Field in Birmingham, the USA could not catch up with Mexico, who never looked in doubt during a lightning-fast game.
In the men's final, home favourites and reigning world champions the USA beat Italy to the limit in a highly competitive encounter. The scores were tied at half-time at 24:24 after Italy scored the first points early in the first half. However, the USA took a decisive lead in the second half and eventually won 46:36.
Earlier, in the men's bronze medal match, Mexico and Austria fought a hard-fought battle, with Mexico eventually winning 39:35. In the women's competition, Panama took the lead from the start against Austria and never let it slip away, winning 40:19 to take the bronze medal.
IFAF President Pierre Trochet said after the medal ceremony: "Tonight marks the end of a wonderful week here at the 2022 World Games. We have written a new page in our history and I would like to thank the organisers, the volunteers, the fans and, most importantly, the incredible athletes for making it such a special event. The standard of football on display tonight at Legion Field was simply incredible and really highlights how well the flag fits into this style of multi-sport event."
Mexican QB and likely tournament MVP, Diana Flores, who won the gold medal, added: "This is a dream come true not only for me, but for my whole team, for Flag football in Mexico and all over the world. This is the beginning of a new era for Mexico. We look forward to seeing how big this sport can become. We are excited to show the world how passionate the athletes are and how much heart they put into it. I would like to thank the World Games for giving us this opportunity to all share this passion and love for the game."
Flag football made a historic debut at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, earlier this week, when 16 of the world's top teams began their quest for gold. It was the first time Flag Football has been included in the official programme of a global multi-sport event, and marked a watershed moment in the evolution of a popular, non-contact and inclusive format that continues to grow rapidly around the world.
The NFL will be committing as much as $1 billion to the development of the sport, with the aim of making Flag Football itself a qualifier for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. We are also keen to see the sport grow at Enaa Ljubljana Frogs, where we will be organising free training sessions in October for anyone who wants to try the world's fastest-growing sport.