Olympic Squash Contenders to Train on Campus
Last year’s decision by the International Olympic Committee to elevate squash to Olympic sport status will bring visitors and visibility to Drexel’s University City Campus, which is home to the US Squash National Headquarters.
The International Olympic Committee announced that squash would be the sole individual sport added to the 2028 Los Angeles Games programme in October 2023, just days after the U.S. Open Squash Championships concluded at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center.
Drexel has played host to the U.S. Open since 2011 and remains a founding sponsor of the championships. In 2021, the University welcomed US Squash and Team USA Squash to take up permanent residence on its campus, inside the newly renovated $65 million Arlen Specter Center facility at 25 N. 33rd St.
Professional squash has grown rapidly as a sport in recent years, and inclusion in the LA28 Olympic Games sets it on a course to go into overdrive.
“The inclusion of squash in the LA28 Olympic Games is a significant breakthrough for the sport,” said US Squash President and CEO Kevin Klipstein. “Being part of the Olympic Games has been a long-held goal for the squash community. Having the Specter Center puts us among the few Olympic sports with its own national center. With it now serving as home for our Olympic hopeful athletes, we’re incredibly well positioned to support them in their pursuit of medals.”
The Arlen Specter Center benefits pro athletes and community residents alike. It has become the world’s largest community squash center, with programs such as the country’s first urban public high school squash league, robust local engagement activities in partnership with nearby community centers, and education programming offered by Squash Smarts. Versions of these initiatives are being replicated in cities nationwide, particularly around Los Angeles leading up to the LA28 Olympic Games.
The facility’s high-performance programming and the sport’s Olympic status guarantee that top pros from around the world will be a regular presence in Philadelphia.
This is a great time for student-athletes who dream of excelling in the sport, said Drexel Head Squash Coach John White. “Both Drexel’s squash programs have come a long way since becoming a varsity sport back in 2011, and I can see our programs and the College Squash Association benefit from this inclusion into the Olympics,” said White. “Players from all over the world are looking at college squash to help, or even start their professional careers, and now is a great steppingstone for them to train and get the chance to become an Olympic athlete.”
Currently there are more than 60 college varsity programs and as many club programs nationally. Drexel’s own varsity programs have achieved national rankings as high as 2 for the women and 5 for the men.