SHARE THE GAMES. SHARE OUR DREAMS.
The “Olympic Dream” is now closer than ever for high school aged athletes. In 2010 the inaugural Youth Summer Olympic Games connected 3,600 athletes from over 200 countries through the Olympic values of excellence, friendship, and respect. This youth version of the Olympic games is designed to bring together the world’s best young athletes, offer an introduction to Olympic conduct, educate the participants on what it means to be an Olympian, and foster participation in the Olympic Games.
In April of this year, USA Rugby officially accepted the International Olympic Committee’s invitation to send one boys’ and one girls’ rugby 7s team to the YOG though logistics and personnel availability delayed the acceptance, there was no doubt USA rugby would make it work. With such a short preparation period, USA Rugby knew they had to appoint coaches with extended youth coaching and international rugby experience.
Serevi Rugby is proud that our coaches, Ben Gollings (boys) and Richie Walker (girls), were be appointed head coaches. They were already deep in preparations, having made selections in late June.
Ben Gollings has played over 100 games in the English Premiership and is best known for his career with England RFU and his 2,652 points making him IRB’s top scorer. Ben joined the Serevi Rugby team as a partner and continued his rugby career as a coach. He started coaching in schools and clubs at the youth level and grew into head coach positions on the international stage. Here at Serevi he emphasizes the importance of basic skills with our youngest athletes knowing that it’s those skills that they will remember and carry with them throughout their careers.
Richie Walker has had rugby in his veins since birth. Growing up in New Zealand, Richie religiously watched and played rugby giving him the wealth of knowledge he loves sharing with the teams he coaches. Richie coaches several club teams in Southern California, is the driving force behind youth development at Serevi California, and now assists the men’s and women’s Eagle 7s programs at the Olympic Training Center is Chula Vista.
In between their busy coaching schedules, we caught up with Ben and Richie at the Serevi Seattle offices about their experiences leading up to Youth Olympic Games and what they expect when they get there.