May 04, 2021
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Standout moments of Rio Olympics

Just 82 days to go before the start of the sevens tournament at the Tokyo Olympics,  World Rugby looks back at the standout moments from the Rio Games in 2016.

Rugby’s return to the Olympics after a 92-year absence could not have gone any better in Rio, with wins for Fiji and Australia in the men’s and women’s competitions, creating much excitement.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont attested that if any board members of the International Olympic Committee were sceptical about rugby’s value to the Games, they were quickly won over by the action on show and the buzz around the full stadiums.

"Whenever I met an IOC member in a hotel restaurant or lift during the first week in Rio, they would quickly look down at my accreditation to see who I was and usually say nothing. But after Fiji won, well, everybody wanted to congratulate me on the amazing tournament," Sir Beaumont said.

Rugby in any form is like a religion in Fiji, and head coach Ben Ryan took on an almost god-like status after steering the men’s team to the gold medal in Rio. 

A breathless exhibition of skilful handling and broken-field running, the thumping 43-7 victory over Great Britain in the final match showed off everything that was good about not only their own play but rugby sevens as a whole. 

Fiji’s triumphant players kneeled to receive their medals from Princess Anne – their country’s first Olympic medal of any colour – but back home in Suva and beyond, they were dancing on the rooftops and jumping for joy.

By Romeka Romena  

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