100 days to go
With 100 days to go until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset believes the stage is set for very special and game-changing rugby sevens tournaments that will enable the sport to reach and inspire new audiences and participants worldwide.
With sevens continuing to attract new fans in record numbers, excitement is building across the global rugby family as the world’s top players prepare to showcase their talent on sport’s greatest global stage on 6-8 August (women) and 9-11 August (men).
The global qualification process is reaching its climax, a successful Rio test event has been staged, and construction is about to begin on the 15,000 temporary rugby sevens venue at the Deodoro Park that will provide a spectacular backdrop to the awarding of rugby’s first Olympic medals in 92 years.
In the year of sevens, the men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series are smashing all previous attendance, viewership and engagement records on the road to Rio 2016 with the men’s series set to attract a record 700,000 fans across the 10 rounds, while more than 30 million views of breath-taking action have been viewed on facebook, demonstrating the youth appeal of a sport that delivers a score every minute.
Lapasset said: “Olympic inclusion has already had a profoundly positive impact on the global development and popularity of rugby and with 100 days to go until rugby sevens’ debut on sport’s biggest stage, we are anticipating a game-changing event that will enable rugby to reach, engage and inspire new audiences worldwide.
“Rugby sevens, with its winning blend of high-octane action, close competition and entertainment, is proving a hit with young audiences, broadcasters and commercial partners around the world. “This is why we believe that Rio will love sevens and we look forward to hosting fans in a vibrant arena at the very heart of the Deodoro complex where fans will experience the dynamic athleticism of our rugby sevens Olympians in a unique festival atmosphere.”
What to expect: Seven stories for rugby sevens at Rio 2016
THE RETURN: Rugby is back on sport’s biggest stage after a wait of 92 years and this is the opportunity for the sport to reach, engage and inspire new audiences. USA are the reigning Olympic rugby champions.
SEVENS SAMBA: Sevens will deliver an exciting festival atmosphere to the Games, with fans typically dressing up, dancing and supporting all the teams. Brazil will be the darlings of the crowd.
FIJI’S FIRST OLYMPIC MEDAL? Can Fiji’s men and women make history and secure a first-ever Olympic medal for their country?NEW ZEALAND’S FAMILY AFFAIR: New Zealand have four sets of siblings who could be going for gold in Rio in Niall and Sonny Bill Williams, Jordon and Joe Webber, Stacey and Beaudein Waaka and Terina and Isaac Te Temaki.
COMEBACK QUEEN: Jillion Potter’s incredible story of triumph over adversity in overcoming a broken neck and beating cancer to again wear the USA jersey.
NFL TO RIO: A Super Bowl winner with the New England Patriots, Nate Ebner is chasing the dream of becoming an Olympian with USA.
CLASS OF YOG 2014: The class of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics could be in Rio to showcase their talents on sport’s greatest stage, including gold medallists Arthur Retière, Tiana Penitani, Dominique du Toit and silver medallist Bautista Delguy.