Thursday, January 28, 2016

Rugby and the Summer Olympics

Some history of Rugby in the Summer Olympics

Rugby Sevens will be part of the sports that have been returned to the 2016 Summer Olympics scheduled for August in Rio. This after missing for over 90 years and unlike the previous editions it will feature both men and women tournaments.

Rugby was first played as an organized sport in the Rugby School in UK, this where the sport got its name. This was back in the 18 century. Rugby is a form of outdoor game and it’s played in the pitch. The sport of Rugby is between two teams who are pitted against each other. Like football, it uses a big ball like soccer though the ball differ with that of soccer because it’s oval in shape, while as the soccer ball is round in shape.

Rio 2016 Summer Olympics will see Rugby as one of the sports; this is after 98 years of absence in the modern Olympics games. Rugby last featured in the 1924 Olympics, thanks to lobbying as it will feature in the coming Rio 2016 Olympics Games in Brazil. There is a slight difference in this Olympics as it will only feature Rugby Sevens while the 1924 Olympics featured the Rugby Union of 15 aside format. There are 16 men team and 16 women team who will participate in Rio. Already some of the nations have qualified (2016 Summer Olympics Qualified Teams). Out of those qualified, only Canada, Colombia and Australia have only their women team. South Africa despite their women qualifying will only field a male team.

Host Brazil, Fiji, New Zealand, Great Britain, Japan, Kenya and USA have both men and women teams, Argentina have only a men team.

Results of the Previous Rugby Events in Olympics

The first summer Olympics to feature Rugby was the Paris 1900 Olympics, also commonly known as The Games of the II Olympiad because they were the second modern Olympics games. Rugby was one of the 19 sports that were competed upon by the 997 competitors, less than 10% of the competitors taking part in Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.

In the 1900 Summer Olympics Games, there were 3 nations that participated in the Rugby Union Sport all from Europe. There 3 nations were, host France, Great Britain; the inventors of Rugby and Germany. All the three participating nations managed to bring 47 Rugby players on board. France got in the History as the first nation in the world to ever win a Rugby Gold Medal while Germany went home with a Silver Medal and so was Great Britain was also awarded a Silver Medal. In this specific game, Rugby did not have a bronze medalist.

Below is a picture of the 1900 France and Germany Summer Olympics Match which France won.

Source of the picture is Wikipedia

Rugby as a sport would miss the 1904 Olympics Games held St. Louis, in the United States. I do not know why this happened, but this first Summer Olympics in US, had fewer nation participation due to the distance and travel difficulties. However, come 1908 at the London Summer Olympics, obviously there is no way the British would lack their invention in the mix.

There were three Rugby teams that were meant to participate in the 1908 London Olympics. These three were France, Australasia, and host Great Britain, which was represented by players from Cornwall. Disappointment started with the withdrawal of the 1900 Olympics Champion; France, this left only two teams in the Rugby Sport. Eventually, the host lost the gold medal to Australasia and they settled for a silver medal, like the 1900 Paris Olympics, there was no Bronze Medalist in the 1908 London Summer Olympics Rugby Sports. Come the 1912 Stockholm, Sweden, Olympics Games and Rugby Union did not feature. Due to the war, not only Rugby Union but the entire world missed the 1916 Olympics Games.

The 1920 Antwerp, Belgium Summer Olympics Games saw the return of the Rugby Union as one of the 22 sports featured. But again only two teams participated, USA and France, not even the previous Champion Australasia made it back. As usual, there were only a gold medalist; the Rugby Union newcomer USA and the Silver Medal was left to the 1900 Summer Olympics Rugby Gold Medalist; France.

The 1924 Summer Olympics, went back to France, for the second time, this made Paris get to the History of the as the first City in the world to host Summer Olympics twice. This would be the last time Rugby would feature in the Summer Olympics and it would take 92 years to be featured and in a different format. The Rugby Games in the 1924 Summer Olympics had a new entrant: Romania, but the number of teams remained low, with only USA and France participating. At the end of it all USA took the gold medal for the second time, France retained a silver medal and Romania officially became the first country in the world to ever win a Bronze Medal in a summer Olympics Games.

The 1924 Paris Summer was the last Summer Olympics that would feature a 15-a-side format of the Rugby game. The Rio 2016 will feature a 7-aside format and will feature 16 teams of men and 16 teams of women. This is the first Olympics featuring women Rugby. Who will be the fisrt women team to win a gold medal in a summer Olympics Rugby seven?