This summer, nearly 11,000 athletes will compete at the Rio Olympics. There will be many new faces with the reintroduction of two sports.
There are 306 events and 28 events. Two of the 28 were Olympic sports once upon a time, and now they’re back: Golf and rugby.
Rugby was last part of the games in 1924, and golf has been on an even longer hiatus since 1904.
Six years ago, the International Olympic Committee voted to reinstate both rugby and golf as Olympic sports in 2016. This will end a 92-year absence for rugby and a 112-year absence for golf. These games will be the first sports added to the Olympics in 16 years.
“Being able to say that you’re an Olympian, is a huge honor,” golfer Lexi Thompson said. “But to be able to win a gold medal would be better than any win.”
One of the top golfers in the world thinks it will be huge for their sport.
“This Olympics for golf is a big deal. It’s gonna go beyond what we could ever do with the LPGA tour,” Stacy Lewis said.
Olympic golfers will be announced July 11. It’s based on the world rankings.
In rugby, the U.S. has already qualified for Rio.
“We feel like as the first group of Olympians our team has the potential to be among that first group to break into the public mainstream,” team captain Madison Hughes said.
It’s been a long time, but the U.S. has won the last two Olympic gold medals in rugby.
“Right now I’d say there are three favorites: New Zealand, Fiji and South Africa and those are kind of the top tier. But we are solidly on the next group of teams that are right on their heels,” Hughes said.
In 1924, the last time rugby was in the Olympics, they played rugby union, which is 15 players per side. In Rio they’ll play rugby sevens or seven per side.
Golf will have 60 players compete in a 72-hole stroke-play tournament. The winner gets an invite into next year’s Masters in Augusta.