Thursday August 07, 2014
The United States Olympic Committee recently announced the 2014 U.S. Youth Olympic Team to compete at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Haley Langan of South Burlington is the only Vermont athlete chosen to be on the Youth Olympic team and is part of the women’s Rugby Sevens team. She is one of only 94 elite young athletes (46 females, 48 males) on the full roster.
Twelve men and 12 women will represent the U.S. in China in Rugby Sevens, the first time the sport will feature at an Olympic Games since its inclusion on the Games Program in 2009.
Men’s and Women’s Eagles Sevens Assistant Coach Richie Walker is the coach of the women’s Youth Olympic Games team. Walker said, “There were a lot of great girl rugby players to choose from, which is great for the sport in the U.S., but also made my job very hard as a selector. There are some girls who are High School All-Americans, some are from some of the best teams in the nation who compete at nationals.”
Langan plays a defensive position and has had the chance to play with some of the other women on various teams like the U20 National Team and at All-Americans. The newly formed team will have 3 days to train together before their first game soon after the opening ceremonies.
Langan says about this opportunity, “I never imagined that I would get a chance to play rugby in China and I never dreamed that I would be playing for the USA in the Youth Olympics. I am so honored to get to represent my country on the rugby field and I am super excited to play on the first girl’s rugby team ever to go to the Youth Olympics.”
Rugby is a contact sport that demands fitness, teamwork, communication and physicality, with rules that do not waiver between the men’s and women’s game. Worldwide, more than 100 countries compete in rugby at all levels. With the inclusion of Rugby Sevens in the 2016 Olympics, the sport will continue to gain popularity, and the talent for future US national teams is being developed in high school players today.
Both teams will arrive in China August 12 and stay throughout the entirety of the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Following the tournament, the teams will engage in a series of cultural events wrapped around Olympic ideals and support other American athletes in competition.
Langan graduated from Rice Memorial High School this spring and played locally for the South Burlington High School team. She is heading to Harvard University this fall to attend college, upon her return from China. Good luck Haley!
The Youth Olympic Games are an international multi-sport event held in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee that take place every four years consistent with the current format of the Olympic Games. The Nanjing 2014 Games will run from August 16-28, with an expected 3,800 athletes from 204 nations. The sport program will encompass all 28 sports that will be featured at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. For more information on the Games, visit Nanjing2014.com.
U.S. Youth Olympic Games
2014 Youth Olympic Games – By the Numbers
204 National Olympic Committees from all five continents
222 medal events28 sports, 30 disciplines
13 competition days
27 competition venues
2014 U.S. Youth Olympic Team – Notes
94 athletes (48 males, 46 females)
22 disciplines across 20 sports
34 athletes speak a foreign language, including two who speak Chinese
30 states represented (by hometown); California leads with 26 athletes, followed by Florida (8) and New Jersey (7)
28 high school graduates