“I think it’s a bit of disbelief, to be honest,” Amanda Sobhy said after hearing the news that squash had been recommended for inclusion in the LA28 Olympic Games.
“When you have been working so hard for so many years to try and get into every Olympic Games and to only be rejected, the fact that we finally made the five sports recommended for LA in 2028, it was a shock.
“You almost can’t believe it, but the fact that it is happening is a dream come true.”
The decision to grant squash a place on the LA28 Olympic sports programme is a significant and exciting milestone in the sport’s history, with squash set to be played in the Olympics for the very first time.
After being named alongside cricket, baseball/softball, flag football and lacrosse as one of the five sports to be recommended for inclusion at LA28, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially confirmed the decision to grant squash its place on Monday.
Sobhy, who was a key figure in squash’s official Olympic campaign, is one of squash’s best known players, having led USA to their first ever WSF Women’s World Team Championship final last December and has 20 PSA World Tour titles to her name.
The New Yorker will be 35 by the time the LA28 Olympics arrives, but any thoughts of retirement before then have been firmly put on the back burner.
“I think it means I am going to prolong retirement a little bit more because it is everything that you can dream of as an athlete,” she said.
“To be able to compete in the Olympics, be able to compete for Olympic gold medal, and to be able to say you were an Olympian, that is something that no one can ever take away from you.”
If getting squash on the Olympic roster wasn’t already exciting enough for the U.S. No.1, Sobhy has the added prospect of potentially playing in her home country in front of her home fans.
The World No.5 has already shown this season that she thrives amid the added pressure of playing in America, finishing runner-up at the South Western Open in Houston and reaching the semi-finals of the Platinum-level event, the U.S. Open presented by TRUIST, in Philadelphia.
Sobhy has also enjoyed huge levels of success when representing her country, becoming the first squash player to ever win three gold medals at a single Pan American Games back in 2015 in Toronto.
And with fellow Americans Olivia Fiechter (World No.9), Olivia Clyne (World No.13) and Amanda’s sister Sabrina Sobhy (World No.14) all currently thriving on the PSA Tour, the platform has been set for a strong American showing in 2028.
“Oh my god, it’s amazing,” Sobhy said on the prospect of playing in Los Angeles.
“It would be so exciting. I’d love competing in front of friends and family with a home crowd and it would just be so meaningful, especially because that would probably be one of the last events in my career.
“And to be able to say that I finish off my career with the Olympics is really just like a dream come true.
“Also the fact that the U.S. players are doing really well, it helps with LA28. I hope it will increase the exposure for the sport in America. I hope it gets the marketing it deserves, gets the recognition it deserves, and the money it deserves.”
For years, squash has just missed out on a spot in the Olympic Games, with sports such as golf, rugby sevens and wrestling all getting the nod on separate occasions.
However, Sobhy is insistent that squash can become a staple feature at the Olympic Games and that the recent decision can also aid the sport’s growth in the long run.
“I think it’s such a global sport. I think if you’re looking at the overall nature of the sport, the sport is so fast-paced, so dynamic, there’s so much fitness, skill and tactics required – it embodies everything about a sport.
“It’s also so global; it’s played all over the world, it’s not heavily concentrated in one area, or just in the Americas.
“I hope that it will completely elevate the nature of the sport, elevate us as players, give us the money that we deserve because we work so hard for it. I also hope the sport gets the recognition it deserves because it’s a fantastic sport and I just feel like the Olympics will help it a tonne.”