When the USA women play their first sevens match of the Rio Olympics against Fiji on Aug. Ray-Ray McCloud Womens Jersey . 6, Bob Latham will be watching proudly in the Deodoro Stadium. The USA Rugby chairman, who has been on the board for 22 years, was instrumental in getting sevens into the Games and knows better than most how quickly the game is growing.Latham, an United States Olympic Committee member from 2000 to 2004, reveals his hopes for the sport, how he helped get sevens into the Olympics and rugbys future in the U.S..Sevens inclusion into the Olympics has been a long time coming, talk us through your involvement in getting the sport into the Games. Bob Latham: I am incredibly excited. Its been the culmination of a lot of work from a lot of people. Im especially happy for the athletes who will become Olympians -- what a fabulous experience for them and Im happy that Ill be there to see it.It wasnt until 1995 that the governance structure of international rugby was conducive to joining the Olympics and once that was in place, my involvement started in 1996 when I was trying to get USA Rugby to be an affiliated member of the U.S Olympics Committee (USOC), the status we got in 1998.In 2000 I went on the USOC, which is the same time as the then International Rugby Board really ramped up its efforts with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to get into the Olympics. The first goal was to get into the Games by Beijing 2008.Since I was in rugby the USOC the IRB got me involved me with the international effort with the IOC. So I was pretty heavily involved from 2001 to when we got recognised as an Olympic sport in 2009. It was an interesting, sometimes frustrating path to travel but, ultimately, rewarding.Was sevens more accessible format one of the reasons behind it getting into the Olympics?BL: There were discussions back in the early stages over whether it should be rugby 15s or sevens and whether we should just leave it up to the IOC to decide. But theres no question that the sport of sevens helped sell itself as its more understandable and the ball spends more time in play. It fits into the Olympic format a lot better as you can play the tournament across three days, as we are doing in Rio.Its also much more globally competitive and its easier to become competitive in sevens faster than it is in 15s for developing countries. Youve got more global competitiveness, which the IOC like, and the medallists can come from just about any continent. It will be a thrilling competition.For those who arent familiar with sevens, I think theyll look at it and think, Wow, this is the breakout event of the Rio Games.What obstacles did you face in getting sevens into the Olympics?BL: There are some places that had no rugby history or a great familiarity with the sport. In this country, where there is a strong Olympic presence, there wasnt a great rugby history so thats where we had to do quite a bit of education and getting people on board to why rugby would be a great addition to the Olympics.There havent been any sports added to the Olympics since Sydney 2000 until this Games. The IOC got more systematic over how sports could become part of the Games. We had to deal with several iterations of the conditions but again we had the luxury of the sport which could meet any criteria as they developed it. In the end it ended up selling itself but we had to address whatever new plan the IOC had for getting a sport into the Olympics.Have you set the mens and womens sevens teams medal goals?BL: When I started this process, the focus was on the exposure this will give rugby in the U.S. if we qualified. But now we are there, it would be great if we medalled. A medal of any kind for either team will be a terrific achievement and thats our goal but if things break right, theres a chance we could take the top step. It would do wonders for the sport in this country if we get a medal of any kind.Do you feel Olympic sevens will help push rugby into the NCAA consciousness and help the sport grow in the country?BL: I certainly hope so. It has always been a major, major priority for us to get the sport into the Games as this is an Olympics-mad country. The exposure that any sport gets at the Olympics from spectators, sponsors, avid sports fans, and casual sports fans is just immense. Its partly the spectacle of sport; its partly the patriotism that plays to the American consciousness as well.I really feel we will see a spike in interest. Hopefully the fans will get to know both the mens and womens teams as they are an exceptional group of people who have terrific back stories. Once fans see that, theyll gravitate to that. And if we have success then people will gravitate to that. One of the greatest outcomes of this Olympics will be a whole bunch of boys and girls picking up a ball and choosing rugby as their first choice of sport.Do you hope that 15s and sevens can evolve alongside each other or do you feel one will grow quicker than the other?BL: Were very lucky that they can grow collectively. We havent had a legacy in 15s or sevens where its strong enough that one trumps the other. We have players playing in both codes -- 15s and sevens. As long as people are enjoying rugby then it doesnt matter whether they go through one pathway or another. There is a lot more harmony in the two codes here than there is in other countries.The exposure sevens gets with the sporting marketplace, school administrators and community administrators will help both codes.How would you like to see a player like Eagles back-row and sevens World Series player Danny Barrett balance the two?BL: Hes a good example. The balance weve struck since hes come into prominence and has been picked up by 15s is about right. We have to look at player welfare; we cant over tax the players.Dannys balance has been pretty good over the last year and a half. One of the things youd have to factor into that, if youre Danny, is that there is more money in 15s than sevens right now and whether that is part of the dynamic going into the future, I dont know, but there is a draw to making a living out of the sport in 15s.I know Danny, as well as other sevens players who have played both codes, love sevens and love the team so I hope they continue to satisfy their ambitions in both codes.What sort of growth has rugby in the USA had over the last few years?BL: The biggest sign of potential was the All Blacks match back in Nov. 2014 in Chicago. One of the things which was rewarding about that was it was New Zealand playing the U.S. team rather than someone else. That proved to us that the market we thought was brewing was in fact already here.There are a lot more American rugby fans. We are now in the second and third generation of rugby fans who have played the sport here in the country and their kids have grown up with rugby and have taken an interest in it.I also feel American sports are taking a more global perspective -- look at soccer and the interest people have here in the Premier League and the increased TV coverage. There is a fan base here for not just U.S.-based teams, but leading rugby teams in the world.Americans always want to see the best of whats out there so there are opportunities for other matches like New Zealand vs. Ireland in November and maybe Six Nations games held here to get some traction. The choice of time, location and venue is very important, though. We need to be smart about when we play such a match.And back to the Olympics -- back in 1996 when this idea first started bubbling, did you ever think wed be in a situation where it is just 10 days until rugby sevens makes its bow in the Games?BL: I was always optimistic that wed get here but its exceeded my expectations. To have both of our teams qualify, from a USA perspective, a heightened interest in the sevens team, a World Series thats terrifically competitive, a womens World Series -- it will be such a great spectacle in Rio.Look at the excitement it has created and to have players like Sonny Bill Williams in the Olympics; its just a great thing. In terms of how its set up for Rio, I hope my expectations go even further when we start playing. Harrison Phillips Womens Jersey .J. -- Pitcher Carl Pavano is retiring after 14 major league seasons. Taron Johnson Womens Jersey .Y. -- Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo had little trouble picking up his first shutout of the season against a Buffalo Sabres team thats having trouble scoring goals. http://www.cheapbillsjerseys.net/ . One game after a miserable showing in Oklahoma City, Gay tied a career high with 41 points and the Sacramento Kings cruised to a 114-97 victory at the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night. BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil -- The U.S. womens soccer team had a difficult time getting the ball to Carli Lloyd for much of Saturdays high-stakes Group G showdown against France.But ever the creative player, Tobin Heath found another way to get Lloyd involved (intentionally or not).The goal was enough for a 1-0 win of major significance for the Americans.Heaths second-half shot off French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddis hand and off the post rebounded to the feet of Lloyd. The American captain didnt waste the chance, driving the ball into the empty net in the 63rd minute for her second goal of the tournament.More to come, but here are three observations from the pivotal Group G clash.1. Two teams play to typeFrance had more chances. France had better chances. It controlled the game early. It threw everything at the Americans late. It didnt make any of it count. The United States absorbed pressure early, regrouped at halftime, then found a way to scrape together a late goal and a win in the end.It would be easy to pass off the idea of American mettle and French faltering as writing to the result -- any of a number of bounces could have flipped the score line. Except that it seems to keep happening the same way for these two teams in major tournaments.And give Lloyd credit. On a night when she (and Alex Morgan) were starved for service for such long stretches, she held her poise and was right there pushing forward when Heaths shot rebounded to her.2. Whitney Engen holds her nerveEngen was the only field player for the United States who made last years World Cup roster but didnt see time on the field in Canada. Saturday she found herself in the starting lineup foor the first time since March, a replacement for Julie Johnston at center back. Siran Neal Womens Jersey. One of the lower-profile battles throughout the year was that between Engen and NWSL No. 1 overall pick Emily Sonnett to be the third center back behind Johnston and Becky Sauerbrunn. Engen held off her challenger and held on to the important roster spot.U.S. Soccer said Johnston was available for the game (NBC reported she had a sore groin), but while the rest of her teammates -- including Mallory Pugh, who injured her ankle in the opening game and didnt start this one -- warmed up on the field before the game, the defender stood on the sideline with a long-sleeved shirt tied around her waist. Could Johnston have played in a pinch? Its unclear, but it didnt matter because her understudy had a quiet enough night to leave the headlines to others.3. Americans now control their fateThe game between the United States and Colombia was always going to be the undercard in Manaus on Tuesday. And not just because it will take place before host Brazil takes the field in the nightcap. But the U.S women now make the trip into the Amazon in considerably better shape than they would have been with even a draw against France.As long as the United States beats Colombia, it wins Group G and earns a place in the quarterfinals opposite a third-place team from one of the other groups. The math would have been more complicated with a draw. France is likely left to stare down the prospect of another quarterfinal against Germany, just as in the World Cup. Cheap Jerseys Online Wholesale NFL Hoodies Cheap Jerseys 2019 NFL T-shirts From China Cheap NFL Jerseys China Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Throwback ' ' '