David Flatman: Sevens heaven will provide our game with a legacy in Rio

From the Front Row: Usain Bolt does not have the promotion of rugby at the top of his to-do list

What I expected from the Olympic Games and what I got were two different things. I thought I would use the clever little computers inside my television to casually watch the bits that interested me while I sipped tea and amused myself with car magazines and biscuits. Instead, I found myself changing as a person.

I would arrive home from work, my head frazzled, but where normally I would flop into the house, graze a while and natter about all things trivial with my wife, I tore into the lounge, clamped myself into my now repositioned chair and hit the "on" button.

My eyes would glaze over, my mouth would hang open and I'd cease to communicate. The first few days were met with nothing more than loving tutts at home, but week two saw my marriage begin to dissolve. In fact, when I mentioned the Paralympics last night, she mentioned counselling. You see, the Games were not an event; they turned out to be a movement. It was a magnificent experience and I miss it. But we must move on with our lives. It's what they would have wanted.

The question is, what is left? The Olympic legacy was discussed ad nauseam before the Games; now we must wait to see what becomes of us as a sporting nation. I am sure that a few more tall, wide-shouldered men will wander into rowing clubs to see what all the fuss is about, and I am sure that beach volleyball will become the most Googled sport in history. But what about everyone else?

Football will take care of itself, naturally, and cricket will likely continue to be both hugely popular and hugely divisive in terms of support. But let's be selfish for a moment. I wonder if rugby might see any benefit from what has just happened.

Sure, the odd failing sprinter might try rugby for size and see how he likes life on the wing, but how many sprinters do you imagine would enjoy having their legs and back stamped on come Saturday afternoon? And we might even lose a few. Second rows are often a great natural shape to row or to throw and, guess what? It is very rare for a rower to get chinned while competing.

But the Sevens, now that might work. Having been born with unusually heavy bones, I was never terribly interested in playing Sevens. But I also spent some time wondering why we rarely see top Sevens players become top players in the 15-a-side game.

Among other reasons, Sevens promotes habits that are less useful in the full game. Those arguments are for another day, but I do think it is the perfect game for the Olympic stage.

Football – the men's version at least – seemed almost irrelevant at the Games just passed. It seemed too slow and undynamic and not at all at home. But rugby Sevens will offer the viewer so much more; there will be the traditionally well-muscled, tight-jerseyed blokes steaming into each other, and this will display to the world the courage and fierceness that we see every weekend. Those areas of the game regarded as iconic, like the scrum and the maul, will not form part of the package as there will not be time. The games are short and explosive, with tries being scored at a totally alien rate.

The Olympic Stadium, magnificent as it is, won't see much rugby, and Usain Bolt, wondrous as he is, does not have the promotion of rugby union at the top of his to-do list.

I think we rugby types will feel and see the benefits brought about by an Olympic legacy. I just think those benefits will be generated in Rio in four years' time.

And I think the game would really benefit if we got out there as soon as possible to soak up the atmosphere. I'm keen if you are.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones