Golf and Rugby to Make Their Grand Olympic Returns in Rio

Elsa/Getty Images(RIO DE JANEIRO) — Rugby and golf will make their grand return to the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games — the first time these sports have been a part of the Olympics since the early 1900s.

The International Olympic Committee was deciding among seven sports, but only two spots were available for the games. The move was decided in 2009.


Rugby was featured in the Summer Olympic Games from 1900 to 1924. The French team won the gold medal in rugby in Paris in 1900, making it the first team to win an Olympic tournament on home soil.

Australasia, a team consisting of players from Australia and New Zealand, won in 1908 in London. The U.S. rugby team won the last two tournaments, in Antwerp in 1920 and Paris in 1924, according to the IOC.

Twelve men’s and women’s rugby teams will compete in Rio.


Golf was included in the Summer Olympics in 1900 and 1904, according to the IOC. In Paris in 1900, two events were held: one each for men and women, and they were won by Americans Margaret Ives Abbott and Charles Edward Sands. In 1904 in St. Louis, the women’s event was replaced by a team event.

The format to be played in Rio for men and women will be stroke play, which counts the total shots that a player takes to reach the end of the course. The player who has the fewest strokes at the end of four rounds wins the tournament.

Pro golfer Annika Sorenstam traveled to Copenhagen in 2009 to pitch the IOC on including the sport, and Tiger Woods sent a video testimonial. Sorenstam will travel to Rio to serve as an analyst for NBC.

It is unclear whether Woods will travel to Rio in support of the sport. Seven of the world’s top golfers — Jason Day, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Vijay Singh — will not be participating, People reported.

What Didn’t Make the Cut

Softball and baseball, which were cut from the Olympic program for the 2012 games in London, were among the other sports considered for reinstatement.

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