Rugby Sevens can officially call itself an Olympic Sport after it won a majority vote at the IOC congress in Copenhagen. Sevens' presentation led by Bernard Lapasset, IRB President, was well received by the IOC committee with the exciting and fast and huge universality of the sport impressing the members. Sevens recieved 81 'yes' votes easily reaching the majority required for take its place, with Golf also getting voted in at the Bella Centre in the Danish capital.
Rugby Sevens can officially call itself an Olympic Sport after it won a majority vote at the IOC congress in Copenhagen.
Sevens' presentation led by Bernard Lapasset, IRB President, was well received by the IOC committee with the exciting, fast and huge universality of the sport impressing the members.
Rugby Sevens had 81 votes in favour and eight against with one abstention. Golf was also voted into the 2016 Games passing by 63 votes to 27, with two abstentions. The Bella Centre in the Danish capital hosted the conference.
Both sports will also participate at the 2020 Games.
"We are excited and honoured to be joining the Olympic Games and I would like to thank the IOC members for believing in our Olympic vision and our values and recognising that Rugby Sevens is a perfect fit for the Olympic Games," said Lapasset
"The Olympic Games will be the pinnacle of the sport for all our athletes and the Rugby family. The best men's and women's players in the world are excited to be able to showcase their talent on the world's greatest sporting stage."
"We are now looking forward to working in partnership with the IOC to develop and implement a Rugby Sevens tournament in Rio that will reach out to new audiences and inspire a new generation of sports fans around the world," added Lapasset.
Mike Miller, CEO of International Rugby Board, called rugby sevens a "modern, youthful and skillful sport" that was made for television and sponsors and "loved by fans and players alike."
Former Argentina captain Agustín Pichot, Cheryl Soon, captain of the Australia team that won the Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2009, Kenya Sevens captain Humphrey Kayange, Anastassiya Khamova, one of Kazakhstan's top female players and New Zealand Rugby legend Jonah Lomu also proposed Sevens' case
Lomu, a former Commonwealth Games gold medallist, said: "To see my sport in the best arena would be fantastic for rugby, men's and women's. We are very passionate about it - you just have to say where we have to play and the best players will come. I can speak for all of them - they will turn up."
Rugby has proposed a seven-a-side tournament for 12 men's and 12 women's teams but would be keen to expand this number if it is logistically possible. Miller also discussed the benefits of an intertwined tournament for the Men’s and Women’s teams.
A reoccurring theme throughout Rugby's presentation was the huge success of the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in Dubai.
"Congratulations to both federations. We all look forward to great competition in 2016 and 2020," Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, said.
"Time will show your decision was very wise."