SPORTS

image of paralympic athlete chuck aoki

Share

Rugby Sevens & Wheelchair Rugby

Rugby sevens and wheelchair rugby have gained popularity over the past several years. Read below to learn more about rugby sevens and wheelchair rugby in the Olympics and Paralympics.

Rugby Sevens in the Olympics

Also called seven-a-side rugby, Rugby Sevens is a version of rugby where the teams are made up of seven players, unlike the original game of rugby with 15 players. The game is played on a full-sized pitch, but the matches are shortened to only seven minutes per half.  

Rugby Sevens is best described as a combination of the following sports: rugby, basketball and handball.

Rugby Union, in its 15-a-side format, was introduced in the early 1880s and featured four times at the Olympics in Paris 1900, London 1908, Antwerp 1920, and Paris 1924. However, rugby sevens wasn’t conceived until the 1880s in Scotland, and it wasn’t until the 1970s that the sport became recognized internationally. Luckily, rugby was reintroduced to the Olympic program in its sevens format at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Separate competitions were held for men and women.

Fun Facts About Rugby Sevens

image of USA Olympic rugby team playing France

Wheelchair Rugby in the Paralympics

Wheelchair Rugby, also known as quad rugby, was added to the Paralympic program at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. It was first introduced in Canada in the 1970s and consists of four players on each team. Wheelchair rugby is played on a basketball court with the goal of carrying the ball across the other team’s goal line. The sport is known as one of the toughest on the Paralympic program, which is reflected in its nickname “murderball.” 

Chuck Aoki made his first Paralympic appearance at the London 2012 Games where he played a key role in helping Team USA bring home a bronze medal. Aoki led the team to bring home two more silver medals in the 2016 Paralympic Games and 2020 Paralympic Games.

Fun Facts About Wheelchair Rugby

Whether you’re a seasoned rugby fan or a newcomer looking for sport entertainment, Rugby Sevens and Wheelchair Rugby may just become your new favorite to watch during the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Sign up for a museum tour to explore sports, athletes, artifacts, and more at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum.

Notable moments