Mortlock backs rugby union's Olympic bid - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mortlock backs rugby union's Olympic bid

By Samantha Broun 16/10/2008 07:17:50 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock has joined the push to have rugby reinstated to the Olympic Games in 2016.

Australia's only Olympic rugby gold - won 100 years ago in London - was on show at Wallabies training on Thursday, along with the 100m butterfly gold medal won by Libby Trickett in Beijing.

Trickett was at training to wish the Australian squad well ahead of their upcoming six-Test tour of the northern hemisphere.

The tour, which kicks off on November 1 against the All Blacks in Hong Kong, commemorates the 100-year anniversary since the first Wallabies headed to the northern hemisphere and won gold at the 1908 London Games.

The International Rugby Board (IRB) is pushing to have the code returned to the Olympics in a Rugby Sevens format but Mortlock thought the 15-man game had just as much merit.

"I don't know which form it would be, but certainly it would be a fantastic thing for us (to have rugby at the Olympics) because rugby is a unique game that has a lot of body shapes and it's played all over the world," he said.

"It would be great to be part of an Olympic that's for sure.

"It's a great honour for the boys to have a medal from 1908."

Coach Robbie Deans was full of praise for Trickett and hoped her visit to the camp would inspire success in his charges.

"Everyone aspires to peak performance, she's just performed and picked up a gold medal and these blokes aspire to do the best in the world as well, they're clearly not that currently, but that's what they aspire to," Deans said.

"Having the opportunity to rub shoulders with someone like that is always valuable."

Trickett, who was presented with a Wallabies jersey signed by the team, said rugby would be a welcome addition to Australia's Olympic sporting stable.

"It would be great (to have rugby at the Olympics), swimming obviously has a very proud history at the Olympics and rugby has such a great history in Australia," the five-time Olympic medallist said.

"I think it would be a great fit and as Stirling said it would be wonderful for them to represent their country at the Olympics."

Rugby will compete against baseball, golf, karate, roller sports, squash, and softball when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) votes in October next year on whether to add up to two sports to the Olympic schedule.

There have been no new sports included in the Olympics since the 2000 Games in Sydney.

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