One would think that if a game is played in over a hundred nations around the world that it might also be a part of the biggest amateur athletic competition in the world. However, since the United States last won the Gold back in 1924 rugby has not been an Olympic competition.
That oversight was corrected last Friday when the 121st session of the International Olympic Committee met in Copenhagen and overwhelmingly voted that Rugby Sevens be added to the Olympics starting in Rio de Janeiro. Currently there are 205 countries participating in the Olympics and 116 countries that compete in Rugby Sevens giving the game potential for tremendous growth.
With the inclusion of Rugby Sevens in the Olympics USA Rugby officials expect to see even more growth in the game here at home.
“From an early age, Americans believe that the greatest success an athlete can achieve is becoming an Olympian and competing in the Olympics,” Men’s Sevens Coach Al Caravelli said. “With this inclusion, I believe we will see more athletes taking up rugby who previously played other American sports. The United States has a massive quantity of these untapped athletes and one of our goals will be to convert these athletes into rugby players.” (USA Rugby Press Release for October 9, 2009)
While the United States may have a hard time regaining Olympic Gold it is not entirely inconceivable that they might. Currently the Men’s team ranks 11th in the world and the Women are 3rd with the South African Men and the Australian Women first.
In other rugby news the dates for the RWC 2011 Qualifier have been set for the matched between the U.S. and Uruguay. The first match will take place on November 14 in Montevideo, Uruguay with the second at Broward County Regional Park in Lauderhill, Fla., on November 21. History stands in favor of the U.S. team. It beat Uruguay by a two game score of 75-20 to get into the last Rugby World Cup and hold a 9-1 record against the Los Teros over the last 20 years.
In honor of the inclusion into the Olympics I would like to suggest a Greek beer brewed right in the heart of the Peloponnesian Peninsula. Zeos Pilsner is made from the sweet artesian water found on the Peloponnesian Peninsula combined with the best grains and hops available in Greece to make this fine pilsner. Clean, crisp and easy to drink it is no wonder that the Zeos Brewing Company calls it the National Beer of Greece!