Sprinter Aiming for Olympics as a Rugby Player – NY Times
Carlin Isles once competed against Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin while trying to become an Olympic track athlete. Now 23, Isles has abandoned that goal. Sort of. He might make it to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, but not on the track.
Thanks largely to a YouTube video that has been viewed millions of times, Isles is something of a phenomenon in world rugby, the seven-a-side version that will make its Olympic debut in Rio.
His personal best of 10.13 seconds for the 100 meters would have put him well inside the qualification mark for the semifinals at the London Olympics last summer. Isles believes he would have trimmed his time to 10.00 had he continued his track career.
But while studying sprinting techniques on the Internet one night last year, he stumbled upon footage of sevens rugby and was intrigued. After sending an e-mail message to Nigel Melville, the former England captain who now serves as chief executive for USA Rugby, Isles had a rugby ball in his hands for the first time only four days later.
“I thought to myself, ‘I could go to the Olympic trials, or I could play rugby,’ ” Isles said. “So I put all my eggs in one basket, because I didn’t want to waste any time. I fully believed that if I worked hard at this, things would pan out how they were meant to.
“My best shot of making the Olympic team as a sprinter probably would have been in 2016 — but I’m really not a patient person. I was establishing my name a little bit, and I thought I could really establish myself — but I didn’t want to wait until I was 26 for my talent to shine.”