Members of the International Olympic Committee are gathering in Copenhagen today for the eagerly anticipated decision on which city will host the 2016 Olympic Games. By the end of today we will know where Rugby Sevens could be headed in 2016, if the sport is added to the programme next Friday.
Members of the International Olympic Committee are gathering in Copenhagen today for the eagerly anticipated decision on which city will host the 2016 Olympic Games.
Both Chicago and Rio de Janeiro have been installed as favourites with Madrid and Tokoyo also in the hunt in what’s billed as one of the closest races in recent times.
Chicago's bid to host the Olympics has been greatly boosted by US President Barack Obama who made an impassioned plea to the IOC in Denmark this morning.
The city plans to build five new permanent venues and 11 temporary ones, with 22 of their planned 27 venues in four clusters within 15km of the Olympic Village, which will be based south of McCormick Place which will itself house 11 venues. The new venues will compliment existing structures such as Soldier Field, United Center, Sears Center and Wrigley Field.
If Chicago and Rugby Sevens are both successful it could have a profound effect on the sport in the USA with multiple athletes wanting to participate in a sport that could bring them a gold medal in their home country. With the huge success of the USA Sevens event in recent years and the improvements made by the team itself, Rugby Sevens would fit into the programme with ease.
First for South America?
South America has never hosted the Summer Games but Rio de Janeiro is hoping to change that, with the likes of Pele in Copenhagen to lend support. The city plans to stage all the competitions inside the city, bringing "dynamics to the games and facilitating the athlete's interaction", according to the bid website.
Brazil have made great strides in Sevens in recent years especially through the Women’s side. They remain unbeaten on South American soil and enjoyed a good showing the inaugural Women’s World Cup back in March. The Brazilian RFU are keen to focus resources on the Sevens side over the 15-a-side game.
Tokyo is touting "the most compact and efficient Olympic Games ever" with a waterfront setting, enabling the city to redevelop a rundown area, previously just used for industry and shipping, just as London and Barcelona did in previous hostings.
The introduction of the new Asian Sevens Series would mean the sport could be well received in by a Tokyo audience by 2016 with interest in the game continually rising.
Madrid have a strong case with 85% of venues already built and in place, and a history of hosting Olympic qualifying events. Although Rugby is still a developing sport in the country, Spain have some experience on the IRB World Sevens Series and finished fourth at the 2009 Euro Finals stage in Hannover.
UR7s will keep you up to date with all the news from Copenhagen.