Despite being one of the most popular sports in many countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Great Britain, rugby as a sport was only played once at the Olympics, back in 1924. Now, in 2016, a competition in the very popular Sevens format has been added to the Olympic roster.
Recent years have seen rugby develop in many ways, with athletes of all sorts literally abandoning their sports to join rugby teams, but despite all this diversity and athleticism that rugby matches demonstrate on a daily basis, the sport never really had a chance to shine in a competition that would be seen by millions of sporting fans who don’t normally watch rugby.
With Australia now having won the 2016 Olympic gold in the female competition and Fiji taking home the male gold, their first ever, the event has proven as a major success and we can expect that the number of rugby fans will rise dramatically with hundreds of thousands of Olympic Games spectators follow the rugby matches and the race for Olympic Gold and dozens of bookies opening betting markets for the Olympic tournament. You can find all the bookies who offer a chance to bet on Sevens matches at OpenOdds.com if you are looking to place such bets.
But what are the implications of having Sevens rugby at the Olympics? Are there any advantages and who is to benefit from this the most? These are some solid questions that we want to look into.
We all know that rugby is the most popular in the Commonwealth countries such as the UK, Australia and South Africa but what about the rest of the world. Some major countries such as the USA, Russia and China are not all that into rugby just yet and the Olympic tournament may be just the thing that was needed to get the audience in these countries buzzing about the sport.
The trend of athletes leaving other sports to join rugby teams has been absolutely fantastic to see in recent years and the level of athleticism we are seeing among the rugby players is simply unimaginable in most other sports, with rugby players easily running and jumping faster and further than many athletes who compete in the elite athletics competitions.
Should such a trend reach such huge nations as the USA, we could easily be looking at a major boom in rugby as a sport. While the game remains fairly limited to only a number of countries who have characteristically always been good at it, rugby could be forever changed by its introduction into the 2016 and the 2020 Summer Olympics.
While we wait for new countries to take on rugby somewhat more seriously, there is another interesting thing that the introduction of rugby to the Olympics to do and it has to do with the small island country of Fiji. With just under a million residents, Fiji has never come close to winning Olympic gold in any discipline, but we all know how they excel at rugby. Fiji have now won their first Olympic gold medal by defeating Great Britain in the finals of the men’s tournament which is an absolute spectacle for the small country.
Overall speaking, we can expect great things for the future of rugby now that Sevens is played as a part of the Olympics and if the sporting audience ends up appreciating the sport as much as it deserves, rugby could become much more widely popularised as a result of this development. Stay tuned into the tournament and make sure you spread the word as rugby surely deserves more popularity than it is currently getting.