Published: Sep 27, 1:01p ET
Updated: Sep 27, 1:05p ET

USA Rugby named Olympic Sport member of USOC

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Rugby announced that it has been named an Olympic Sport member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

The USOC Board made the decision Saturday after a thorough review of USA Rugby's operations and the organization overall. USA Rugby also presented and fielded questions at two public hearings.

USA Rugby had been an Affiliated Sport member of the USOC since 1998, but the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) vote last October to include rugby sevens in the 2016 Olympics made possible USA Rugby's new membership status in the USOC. The USOC Board's action confirms USA Rugby as the official National Governing Body (NGB) of rugby in the United States.

Chief Executive Nigel Melville and USA Rugby Vice Chairman Bob Latham were in Colorado Springs to ensure USA Rugby's approval.

"This is great news for USA Rugby. Since the announcement that rugby would return to the Olympic Games, we have developed a strong partnership with the USOC and look forward to making a positive contribution to the Olympic family in the future," said Melville.

"The game of rugby is growing at an incredible rate as thousands of young Americans are picking up the ball and running with it for the first time and dreaming of Olympic glory in 2016 and 2020."

The United States men's sevens rugby team will participate in the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in October 2011. Both the men's and women's teams will compete to qualify for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.

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