As people around the world prepare to Move for Peace on Olympic Day, it is understandable that thoughts will begin to drift to the 2024 Games in Paris.
Last month, it was confirmed that the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 would act as the primary qualification pathway for Paris 2024.
That means that the road to Paris for the world’s best men’s sevens teams will kick off in less than five months’ time, when the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens returns to the calendar between 4-6 November.
When we move together, we stand together.— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) June 23, 2022
These young rugby players are having fun and getting active for #OlympicDay! Who knows, you might see them at a Games in the future! 👊#MoveForPeace | @Olympics pic.twitter.com/hwVC9uLvZd
Four weeks later, the women’s Series will get under way in Dubai when the first of seven combined events on the 2023 schedule is played at The Sevens Stadium.
Both the men’s and women’s Series have been extended for 2023, with the former consisting of 11 tournaments and the latter seven, more than ever before.
And every match at each of those events will count with precious points on offer, not only in the race to be crowned 2023 Series winners but in the hunt for a place in Paris.
At the end of what promises to be another enthralling season of sevens, the eight teams that finish in the top four places in the men’s and women’s standings will all be assured of qualification to the 2024 Olympic Games.
That scenario will add another dynamic to competition on the 2023 Series, as former England sevens star Rob Vickerman told World Rugby recently.
“For players who aspire to Olympic qualification, it makes every single moment matter more,” he said.
“When you do go to the higher echelons of sport and the top of the podium, where you want to be, you become much more accountable.
“Every single session you have a different focus and a longer-term plan. When you set those longer-term goals as a player it filters down to everything you do.
“So it is very exciting from the players’ perspective and what they are experiencing, but again to be able to talk about sevens alongside the other iconic moments of world sport, you never get bored of that.
“It’s brilliant to see how that can galvanise players and the sport itself. Having witnessed the last two Olympic Games the story from most of the games is that sevens is the perfect fit. It feels as though the Olympic Games has a long-established member of the family.”
The Olympic dream will not be over for those teams that finish outside of the top four in either the men’s or women’s standings.
Regional tournaments and a repechage will be held ahead of Paris 2024 to determine the identity of the remaining nations who will take to the Stade de France pitch in two years’ time.