In order to ensure a lasting impact beyond the return of rugby at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, all the rugby unions around the world had been encouraged to organise activities alongside and in relation to the Olympics to promote the Game and attract new players and fans. Globally, more than 200 events were organised by 85 different countries. Many rugby unions in Africa continue to organise events that not only promote the sport but also the Olympic Values. The union of Burundi cleaned the lake banks followed by a rugby beach tournament.
Before a ball has even been kicked at Rio 2016, the effect of the Olympic Games on Brazilian rugby has already been positive.
Bill Beaumont, World Rugby Chairman
The Brazilian Rugby Federation coordinated the IMPACT Beyond Rio 2016 programme in Rio de Janeiro in collaboration with World Rugby, the Brazil National Olympic Committee, the City of Rio and the Rio 2016 Organising Committee. Since its launch in March 2015, it has already engaged more than 175,000 players, coaches and match officials. For reference, the Brazilian Rugby Union counted only 5,400 registered players in Brazil (IRB website, 2014).
A Fan Zone measuring 350m2 was set-up right at the entrance of the Deodoro Olympic Park during the entire Olympic rugby competition to build-up momentum for the fans and grow the rugby awareness of the Olympics spectators.
An inflatable pitch for touch rugby as well as inflatable posts for kicking and throwing contests attracted more than 1,000 attendees per day. Furthermore, the 15 trained staff organized tackling workshops and specific games for children. The inflatable posts, balls, remaining giveaways and rugby gear have been donated, after the Games, to the Brazilian Rugby Union (CBRU) to support the further development of rugby in Brazil.
After having obtained the 7th place in Rio, Patricia Garcìa, centre of the Spanish women’s national rugby sevens team, contributed to the IMPACT Beyond Rio 2016 by leading a clinic on the Ipanema Beach.
Some of the rugby equipment and gear from Rio continued to be used for Patricia Garcia’s project to further promote rugby and its values in South and Central America.
A fabulous opportunity for me to share rugby as a way of life and empower all kinds of people, from young people living in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and prisoners from the prison in Punta Arenas, to working with passionate coaches and over 1,000 Chileans during the Rugby Libre tour; all of which was a way to improve society by educating through values such as respect, resilience and teamwork
Patricia Garcia, Spanish women’s national rugby 7s team
This reflected similar acts of solidarity whereby World Rugby and the rugby family have donated unwanted but good quality equipment to SOS Kit Aid (soskitaid.com) who redistribute the gear to national federations worldwide, equipping children and supporting rugby at the grassroots level.
The Rugby World Cup 2019 will be hosted by Japan in the year prior to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. World Rugby has already started the IMPACT Beyond RWC2019 programme, involving in particular, the 12 host cities of the Rugby World Cup. In parallel it has started the Project Asia 1 Million (A1M) programme, aiming to bring about a million new rugby players in Asia. Both programmes will support the development of the IMPACT Beyond Tokyo2020 programme.