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USA Men and women both medal contenders
Narrow margins

The inaugural Olympic sevens draw was not kind to either USA’s men or women.

The country’s women opened their Rio 2016 campaign with a narrow defeat to Fiji, before a confidence-boosting win over Colombia and a draw with Australia.

New Zealand ended the team’s hopes of winning gold with a slender 5-0 quarter-final victory.

But the USA’s women rebounded well to beat Fiji and France to claim fifth.

Pushing for the podium

USA’s men also suffered a narrow defeat, to Argentina, in their first match at Rio 2016.

A five-point loss against Fiji then put paid to American hopes of gold.

In the intervening five years, however, the team has improved to such an extent that they head to Tokyo with a medal in their sights.

USA are one of the most exciting women’s teams on the World Rugby Sevens Series, and finished the 2019 season second behind New Zealand.

The team won a Rugby World Cup Sevens bronze medal in 2013 and were semi-finalists in 2009 too.

Like their female counterparts, the USA’s men excelled in 2019, finishing second on the World Series having reached five tournament finals.

The USA have appeared at seven RWC Sevens but have never finished higher than sixth.

Alev and kicking

Alev Kelter is one of only two members of the USA women’s squad for Tokyo who appeared at Rio 2016.

The former ice hockey and soccer player has scored more World Series points than any other American woman.

Since making her debut against Canada in China in 2014, Kelter has racked up 93 tries and 802 points in 177 World Series matches.

Wing wizards

The USA’s emergence on the men’s World Series has been powered by the tries of Perry Baker and Carlin Isles.

Baker has scored 205 World Series tries in only 243 matches, while Isles has contributed 207 in 262.

Two-time World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year Baker broke his leg in February but is in contention to play in Tokyo.

That Friday feeling

The fortunes of USA’s men’s squad have been transformed since Mike Friday was appointed coach in 2014.

Prior to Friday’s arrival, the USA had reached one men’s Cup final in 15 seasons of the World Series.

In the six campaigns since, the team has reached eight finals and won three of them.