Road to 2016 Rio Olympics starts today for England Sevens stars
England’s men are in the middle of a pre-season build up to the 10-tournament HSBC Sevens World Series that kicks off in Australia in October while England’s Women are preparing for a busy season which includes contesting a newly created IRB World Sevens Series. Both teams will also compete in the World Cup Sevens in Moscow next summer.
But the prospect of competing in Brazil as part of Team GB is in all their minds following the London 2012 Games and was underlined today by players Rob Vickerman and Alice Richardson.
Men’s captain Vickerman said: "The whole thing was just incredible and to think that rugby’s going to be a part of this in four years’ time is a great prospect.
"The game of sevens is perfectly suited to the Olympic environment and for the whole globe to see that – and we’re talking about billions of people – is going to be amazing. It’s going to be a big focus for us, four years to work hard on it and hopefully there’ll be some lucky lads from the England team who can push for those honours.
"Being an Olympian is something you’d never have considered as a rugby player. You grow up and think ‘I’d love to win a World Cup or play for the British Lions’. But then suddenly there’s this whole new target available for the younger generation.
"To say you’re an Olympian, let alone a medallist, is hard to understand but we’re going to see an exponential growth in the game over the next few years and the next generation will be inspired by that."
Richardson added: “It is incredibly exciting to think that Sevens is now an Olympic sport and I can’t wait to hopefully experience that in four year’s time. Team GB has performed so well at London 2012, especially the female athletes, and I hope that we will be able to continue and build on that success.
“The buzz around London 2012 has been amazing and very inspiring. I can’t wait to be a part of it, to rub shoulders with Olympians from around the world in the village and competition venues and to compete at the highest level. Being an Olympian is every athlete’s dream and I know that every member of the England Women’s Sevens set-up will be working extremely hard to do everything they can to be a part of the Rio games in four years’ time.”