Rugby sevens debuted at the Olympics at Rio 2016, the first time in 92 years that a form of rugby was contested at the Olympic Games. Twelve nations qualified for the men’s and women’s tournaments, respectively.
In the men’s tournament, Fiji, South Africa and Great Britain became the inaugural group winners in pool play. All three advanced to the semifinal stage, joined by Japan, with Fiji and Great Britain advancing a step further to the final. Prior to the medal matches, the largest margin of victory of any knockout stage match was 17 points. Then, in the bronze medal match, South Africa blitzed Japan, 54-14. Minutes later, Fiji nearly equaled that margin on their way to the gold medal, dominating Great Britain, 43-7.
The women’s tournament progressed similarly, with all three group winners – Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain – advancing to the semifinals along with Canada. In the end, Oceania rivals Australia and New Zealand played out a tight and emotional final match, with Australia taking the gold medal, 24-17. Canada overcame Great Britain, 33-10, for bronze.
Rugby union, with 15 players per side, was featured on the men's Olympic program a total of four times, beginning in 1900.
Olympic gold medalists:
Paris 1924: United States
Antwerp 1920: United States
London 1908: Australia
Paris 1900: France