World Rugby Celebrates Rugby’s Olympic Return at ORC in Rio

11 | 8 | 2016

Rugby is officially back as an Olympic sport and the World Olympians Association is excited and honored to help the rugby community mark this historic occasion. Across two nights at the Rio 2016 Olympians Reunion Centre by EY, rugby’s best and brightest celebrated this significant moment for their sport.

Around 300 members of the rugby and wider Olympic family joined World Rugby to ring in the sport’s Olympic return at the home of Olympians in Rio on the 7th and 10th of August. Among the speakers were World Rugby President, Bill Beaumont, Vice-President Agustin Pichot, Cheryl Soon, the 2009 Rugby Sevens World Cup winning captain for Australia, who was one of the players instrumental in seeing rugby sevens included as an Olympic sport, Alhambra Nievas, the Spanish referee who oversaw the Rio 2016 women’s rugby sevens final, and Rob Vickerman, former England rugby sevens captain.

Speaking at the event, World Rugby President, Bill Beaumont, said:

“We are honored and proud to be back on sport’s greatest stage and what a return it has been. I have thoroughly enjoyed the amazing men’s and women’s tournaments so far and have been treated to superb sevens at its exciting and dynamic best – and the people of Rio have certainly made their voices heard in a typically carnival atmosphere.

“Over five compelling days of rugby, our top players have showcased the very best of our sport and its values. They have also showed just why we believed that rugby would be good for the Games and the Games good for rugby

“To all our players – congratulations and thank you – you are now officially Olympians.  Our first Olympians in 92 years. How good does that feel? You have made your families, nations and your sport very proud. You have made friends around the world…you have made history…and you have inspired a new generation to play rugby.”

World Olympians President, Joël Bouzou, said:

“We welcome our new rugby Olympians with open arms and congratulate them on what has been an incredible return to the Olympic stage. We are delighted to have been involved at such an important moment for the sport and join with World Rugby President Bill Beaumont in wishing the players well in their new role as Olympians. What more appropriate place to celebrate than the Olympians Reunion Centre by EY, the home of Olympians here in Rio.”

Image credit: Getty Images