<span style="color:#666666"><em><strong>USA Sevens coach Al Caravelli underlines what the Olympic decision means to rugby in the States.</strong></em></span>
<div class="image_block"><img src="http://www.rugbybahamas.com/images/boydusa_7473_SQ_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="" title="" width="225" height="225" /></div>
<span style="color:#009900"><em><strong>Justin Boyd helped the USA to its most successful ever season last year</strong></em></span>

The sport of Sevens, and all of Rugby, has just been handed an incredible opportunity, and I share the excitement that my fellow coaches and players have in the aftermath of the Olympic vote.

As my colleague and friend Paul Treu, the South Africa Sevens coach, says: <em>"Life will change as we know it today with the inclusion of rugby Sevens in the Olympics".</em>

On the evening of 8 October I felt like a child waiting to open his presents on Christmas day.

I set my alarm for 05:15 for the Friday but didn't even need the alarm. I woke up five minutes before it went off, turned on my computer and started to watch the proceedings live online from Copenhagen.

I could not take my eyes off it and was glued to the monitor until the vote came through.

During the presentations, I knew for a fact that Rugby's was very impressive, professional and gave all the passion that our sport brings. I very much enjoyed the comments and questions from the IOC membership and my favourite came from two members who asked why our Olympic event was only planned for 12 teams!

I also liked IRB Chief Executive Mike Millar's answer: <em>"We followed the guidance of the Executive members of the IOC, but if the IOC feels we should have more teams, we will add more."</em>

I can see that for the benefit of the Olympics, we should have a minimum of 16 teams, and the fact that it's happening in Rio is an even bigger bonus. Only time will tell.

<span style="color:#0000CC"><em><strong>"Even after my car was towed, I was still smiling"</strong></em></span>

Later that day I went into New York City to celebrate with several rugby people, since this is a historic moment for everyone in the global rugby family.

Even after getting my car towed I was still smiling. Nothing could have got me down on that day, and very little has since.

Now that we are an official Olympic sport it will create several opportunities for rugby all across the world.

Last week I was in Argentina, the country my father and I played for, at a Sevens coaching course organized jointly by the IRB and the Pan American Sports Organization, sponsored by the Argentine Olympic Committee and the Argentina Rugby Union.

This was fully funded by PASO and the National Olympic Committees, there was only one representative per country and I was amazed when I saw 30 people in attendance.

The countries represented were Canada (Morgan Williams, new men's coach), USA (Sue Parker, current Women's Coach), Mexico, Bermuda, Bahamas, Trinidad &amp; Tobago, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Dutch Antilles, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Paraguay, Colombia, Saint Vincent, Argentina (new coach, Nicolas Fernandez Lobbe) and Paraguay.
To have 30 participants to something organized in such a short timeframe was hugely impressive and the goal was to make sure that the countries' national coaches are certified to coach Sevens for the Pan Am games in 2011 and, of course, the Olympics in Rio.

<span style="color:#0000CC"><em><strong>Coaches turn to Sevens</strong></em></span>

Four of the coaches had no rugby coaching experience at all but, having been top class coaches for over 20 years in other sports like soccer and swimming, were sent along.

So, as we all imagined, things will move quickly for people who take advantage of these opportunities.

Back in the USA, everyone seems to be asking us how much money will USA Rugby will get, but we don't view it that way. What we see now is that resources will become more available to us via the US Olympic Committee (USOC).

Having availability to the Olympic Training Centres (OTC), living on site, taking advantage of the world class facilities that have been set up for current medallists and Olympic hopefuls are all huge benefits, plus there's nutrition, mental skills, sports physiology (for example lactate test), sports medical facilities, top of the line playing surfaces, recovery aids, to name just a few things.

What is required from us is still a lot of hard work to continue to grow our relationship with the USOC and the OTCs, but the good thing is that we in rugby are used to hard work, especially in the USA where nothing has ever come easy. We don't expect anything easy so whatever is given to us we are grateful for, but it will change our lives. These are very exciting times.

<span style="color:#0000CC"><em><strong>A world of opportunity</strong></em></span>

Shortly, we will be on site at the OTC in Chula Vista, just south of San Diego, in preparation for the first two IRB Sevens World Series events in Dubai and George, South Africa.

Twenty athletes will be competing for the 12 spots on the squad, and the honour of representing the USA against England, Kenya and Russia first up. We will have 15 or more new players so this is the best possible environment that these athletes can be in to prepare for the start of the series.

Neither have we given up on the idea of giving our players the ability to train full time. We are still working on that as we all know that South Africa, New Zealand, Kenya, Scotland and now Wales have raised the stakes by centrally contracting their players for Sevens. We want to do the same.

In the meantime, we will continue to work hard and keep smiling. The future is very bright.

Source: <a href="http://www.irb.com/irbsevens/news/newsid=2034111.html">Al Caravelli, iRB.com</a>

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