Now an Olympic Sport, Rugby is Growing and America is Helping
A title defense 92 years in the making is worth talking about. 92 years ago this summer the United States defeated the two other competitors, France and Romania, to win the team Gold Medal at the 1924 Olympics for Men’s Rugby Union. After 92 years, rugby returns this summer to Rio as a Men’s and Women’s sport.
92 years is a really long time, but count isplack among the large group who are excited that this intense sport is returning to the world stage. How the sport makes its return to the Olympics, and the magnitude of the return, will be as a much different sport. However, what remains a constant in rugby is that team unity drives success. Rugby brings great athletes together to play for their country and to fight for their team colors.
The fans of rugby will tell you that the sport is long overdue for a return to the Olympics. Rugby is a sport in which national teams play for the highest stakes rather than within leagues such as the NFL with football and MLB with baseball. The teams that will face off in the Olympics already have intense rivalries and the players battling for their country have done so next to their compatriots for years. These athletes are primed to show their skill, show their commitment to their country and show how team unity triumphs.
In its Olympic return, Rugby Sevens, or seven players a side will be played, rather than the more traditional Rugby Union of 15 players per side. Rugby Sevens is a fast paced version of the sport in which each game consists of two seven-minute halves and a one minute “halftime.” The pace is fast and the play is as furious and skilled as ever. The teams who thrive are also the teams who play as one while on the pitch.
The United States once fielded one of the world’s top competing teams, as evidenced by their 1924 Rugby Union Olympic Gold. Recently, the sport has made a big surge in popularity domestically. Helping to lead the surge has been the isplack home state of Colorado and the U.S. Western states. USA Rugby is headquartered in our hometown of Boulder, Colorado and the small Denver suburb of Glendale, CO has adopted the label of Rugbytown, USA. USA Rugby has over 115,000 active members across all levels, and the USA Men’s National Team—the Eagles—are currently placed in the top-5 of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series. Don’t forget the Women, who are a top-10 world team in their version of the Sevens Series.
The respect we here at isplack have for these athletes is considerably high. They play an intense contact sport with little to no protection and do so without nearly the fanfare they deserve. They play the sport because they love it, they love their teammates they play with and the country they play for. They play for all the right reasons and show the toughness and resolve of athletes we appreciate.
Rugby will undoubtedly be one of the most intense sports contested in Rio, and the attention the sport receives 92 years after its disappearance from the Olympic arena is deserved.
Get Your Colors On!
Peter Zana, VP Sales