If the International Rugby Board has their way, the sport will debut in the Olympic Stadium during the first week of the Rio Games.
IRB CEO Brett Gosper is set to go down to the Rio venues for a site visit after Christmas to convince the 2016 organizers that his sport can fill the short six-day window between the Opening Ceremony and when track and field hits the main stage.
“At the moment it is more than a hope, the Olympic Stadium has been ‘allocated’ to us and we are very excited and flattered by that,” Gosper said to reporters. “It would be fabulous if it happened. Such a wonderful venue at the Olympics says ‘major sport, mainstream’ straight away for rugby on its return and it feels like a huge vote of confidence.
“It’s a really good opportunity to set out our stall out in a meaningful way.”
Rugby is only locked in as an Olympic sport for two cycles – 2016 and 2020 – so it will need to convince the IOC that it’s a great spectator sport with international appeal before it’s up for another vote in roughly 2021. Debuting in the stadium, with the flame burning nearby, could definitely boost the sport’s profile.
Actually, why hasn’t anyone thought of this sooner?
Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen is pregnant and will not compete this year.
“Just kind of take this year a little bit easier,” Jorgensen said in a video posted on Facebook on Thursday.
The baby is due Aug. 3, according to Jorgensen’s social media.
Jorgensen, 30, became the first U.S. Olympic triathlon champion in Rio after going in as the heavy favorite. She has said for months that she planned to take time off to have a baby before returning to defend her Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.
Swiss Nicola Spirig, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2016 silver medalist, is reportedly expecting a child in May.
In Jorgensen and Spirig’s absences, the top triathletes going into the season are defending world champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda, U.S. Olympians Katie Zaferes and Sarah True and Britons Vicky Holland and Helen Jenkins.
Jorgensen’s last competition was the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, when she finished 14th in her first running race longer than 10 miles.
The World Triathlon Series kicks off in Abu Dhabi the first weekend of March.
MORE: Triathlon federation boss wants Olympic races shortened
The PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the first Winter Games in South Korea, are a little more than one year away.
A number of U.S. stars are establishing themselves in this winter sports season as medal contenders.
NBC Sports takes a look at some of those names to watch, as the U.S. looks to return to the top of the medal standings.
Russia earned the most medals at home in Sochi in 2014 with 33 medals, with the U.S. coming in second with 28. Those standings could change if Russian results are stripped due to its ongoing doping scandal.
The U.S. has never topped the total medal standings at a Winter Olympics outside of North America. It led the way at Lake Placid 1932 and Vancouver 2010.
VIDEO: PyeongChang 2018 Olympic venue tour