Article by James Wilber | Originally published at usarugby.org
It has been said that where one road ends, another begins. Such is the case for Olympic Rugby in the United States.
Team USA's men's and women's squads will depart later this week from their Chula Vista, Calif., headquarters, preparing for the capstone of many years of hard work, sacrifice, and dedication to the game of Rugby Sevens. They begin a journey almost 100 years in the making. Regardless of the result, how sweet it will be for those Olympians to join in the opening ceremonies of the greatest spectacle in all of sport; to walk amongst medalists, hopefuls, and shoulder to shoulder with Olympians representing our great country, our great game, and the inspirational vision of Pierre de Coubertin.
While there is still much fanfare ahead of both Olympic teams, the journey on the Road to Tokyo is just beginning to take shape. The Emirates Airline USA Rugby Club 7s National Championships are headed to Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Denver, and in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains is where the U.S.'s future Olympians will test their mettle.
It is a fitting backdrop, really. A demanding and unforgiving landscape that matches the tenor of the Rugby Sevens event. Summer sevens is more competitive than ever, with more athletes than ever. Qualification for the National Championship has never been easy, and climbing to the top of one's region can be as difficult as summiting one of the many peaks on the Rocky Mountain horizon.
But the stakes are raised. The focus of both participants and spectators renewed. The profile of the event is elevated by a fantastic host venue. Players will be treated to gameplay in a real stadium, webcast across the country to fans, family, and future rugby stars. Participants will earn their stripes in high caliber competition. The fabric of the next Olympic generation will be woven. By all accounts, the next generation of rugby has already arrived.
The 2014 Club 7s National Championship was a springboard for Olympian Perry Baker. Last year's Championship event saw Women's Eagle Olympians Ryan Carlyle and Jessica Javelet deep into Cup contention. Purchase tickets to this year's Club 7s National Championships to see the next generation of Olympic Rugby. In addition to the Championship rugby at one of Colorado's premier sporting venues, the Tapped Brew Fest is hosting more than 20 breweries Saturday, Aug. 13, at Dick's Sporting Good Park. Attendees of Club 7s Nationals will receive $20 off entrance to the Tapped Brew Fest.