Rugby last appeared in the Olympics in 1924 in its more traditional 15-a-side rugby union format. In 2016, it’s rugby sevens that is on the program, a quicker more high-scoring version of the sport. The United States won the last gold medal when the sport was on the program and has qualified both its men’s and women’s teams decades later, each of which have a chance to medal.
The rugby competition is being held in the Deodoro zone, the farthest from the Olympic Park in a cluster with several other sports including field hockey, BMX, shooting and modern pentathlon. It was a hot day in the zone this afternoon, and while Deodoro Stadium had plenty of empty seats, the fans who were there were passionate about their countries and their sport.
While there may been a bunch of empty seats, the opening round of competition nonetheless was attended by several Olympic heavyweights, including IOC President Thomas Bach, U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun, USA Rugby Chairman Bob Latham and many executives from World Rugby.