Monday, October 12, 2009
After many years of campaigning, it was announced on Friday that Rugby has finally been accepted into the Olympic Games, for the first time since 1924. Following a 20 minute International Rugby Board presentation in Copenhagen, it was announced that Rugby Sevens received an overwhelming 81-8 votes.
IRB secretary general Mike Miller and President Bernard Lapasset argued that the inclusion of sevens in the Olympics would help broaden the spread of countries that could win medals, grow the sport in new territories, and would appeal to sponsors and fans.
Lapasset was helped out in the final push by former captain of Argentina Agustin Pichot, Womens Rugby World Cup Sevens winning captain Cheryl Swoon of Australia, Kenyan Sevens captain Jumphrey Kayange, Anatassiya Khamaova, a top Kazakhstan female player, and the legend himself, Jonah Lomu of New Zealand.
"This is a historic moment for our sport and for the global Rugby community, who were united in support of our campaign," said IRB President Lapasset.
"We are excited and honoured to be joining the Olympic Games and I would like to thank the IOC members for believing in our Olympic vision and our values and recognising that Rugby Sevens is a perfect fit for the Olympic Games."
"The Olympic Games will be the pinnacle of the sport for all our athletes and the Rugby family. The best men's and women's players in the world are excited to be able to showcase their talent on the world's greatest sporting stage."
"We are now looking forward to working in partnership with the IOC to develop and implement a Rugby Sevens tournament in Rio that will reach out to new audiences and inspire a new generation of sports fans around the world," added Lapasset.
According to sources, the Olympic Sevens competition (in Rio De Janiero in 2016) will replace the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament as the main event of the seven-a-side game.
Footage from the announcement wasn't too interesting, so we're posting the second of the two videos made by the IRB to promote getting Sevens into the Olympics. Brilliant.
Let's get Rugby in the Olympics (Rugby's Reaching Out #1)