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The Greatest Rugby Player at the Olympic Games

Who is the greatest Olympic rugby player of all time? The sport of rugby (the code rugby union) made four appearances at the Olympics between 1900 and 1924. In 2016, it reappeared in the shortened form of Rugby 7s.

We have used a weighted total medal count of each male Rugby Union player from all modern Olympic Games to rank their overall performance, using data from all Olympics including the Tokyo 2020 Games.

The best all-time performing rugby player at the Olympic Games is Fijian Jerry Tuwai who was part of the gold medal winning Fiji rugby 7s team in 2016 and 2021.

Quite a few other rugby players have won two golds when rugby union was played a the Olympics early last century. The greatest of these may be Australian Daniel Carroll, who played in the Australian winning team in 1908, then played for the US winning gold in 1920, then coached the US to another gold in 1924. Many others played in the two gold medal winning USA teams in 1920 and 1924. See the table below to see the list of all players who have won two golds.

See also the best athlete from each sport, and the best overall.

Top Olympic Rugby Players

Here are the top ranked athletes from the sport of rugby for performances at all Olympiads that it was held, including the Rugby 7s.

Table: The Top Ranked Rugby Players at the Olympic Games (including 2021)

rank name country Gold Silver Bronze total
=1 Jerry Tuwai Fiji 2 0 0 2 12
=1 Daniel Carroll Australia / USA 2 0 0 2 12
=1 Rudolph Scholz USA 2 0 0 2 12
=1 John Muldoon USA 2 0 0 2 12
=1 John O'Neil USA 2 0 0 2 12
=1 John Patrick USA 2 0 0 2 12
=1 Joseph Hunter USA 2 0 0 2 12
=1 Charles Doe USA 2 0 0 2 12
=1 Charles Lee Tilden, Jr. USA 2 0 0 2 12
=1 Charles Mehan USA 2 0 0 2 12
=1 Colby Slater USA 2 0 0 2 12

notes: initial data from wikipedia of multiple Olympic medalists (with at least 2 gold medals, including results up to 2021 and including Rugby 7s). For the ranking order, we have used the Topend Sports Weighted Ranking System.

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Olympics Extra

The next Olympics will be in Paris 2024, followed by the Winter edition in Milan-Cortina 2026. Check out the list of Olympic Games sports, as well as discontinued and demonstration sports.

Major Events Extra

The largest sporting event in the world is the Olympic Games, but there are many other multi-sport games. In terms of single sport events, nothing beats the FIFA World Cup. To see what's coming up, check out the calendar of major sporting events.

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