Owing to his lightning speed on the field, Carlin Isles has been dubbed the “fastest man in rugby.”
Isles has faced his share of troubles growing up. But the journey from childhood struggles and foster care, to achievements including U.S. track and field trials, NFL tryout, and now, the Olympics, has made him a true inspiration.
“Everything that has happened has been like a dream,” Isles said. “But if something can go perfectly right, if you’re not careful it can go perfectly wrong too. That’s what I’m guarding against, every day.” Rugby will feature in the Olympics after a gap of 92 years. United States won the gold in 1924 in Paris.
Isles made his first appearance on the U.S. national rugby sevens team on October 2012, as reported by the Team USA website. Although he played as substitute, he scored a try in his first minute on the field and was thereby titled as “the speedster.”
Sevens uses, as the name suggests, seven players per side as opposed to 15. Wide open spaces and more opportunities will give players like Isles, a former athlete and football player at Ashland University, an edge above others.
Equipped with four years of experience, Isles was included in the 12 man U.S. Olympic Men’s Rugby Sevens Team. As the quickest player in the world of rugby, his lightning speed and swiftness will be a boon to the U.S. team.
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“When I first heard about rugby and what it involved, it seemed made for me,” Isles said. “I started having these thoughts like, what if I could become the Usain Bolt of rugby? What if I could become known around the rugby world? What if I got to represent my country? What if I got a Nike contract? And somehow it all happened.”
Isles also took part in the U.S. indoors championships this year. “It is great to dream big, but it is very, very difficult to do one of these sports at a high level, let alone both,” U.S. coach Mike Friday said, as reported by KSDK.
“There are parts of Carlin’s rugby game that can still improve, and this is the time to do that work and take those steps.”
The United States achieved the sixth position in the HSBC Sevens World Series.
“A medal is a good and appropriate goal for us,” Isles said. “That why I came into rugby, to play in the Olympics and try to win a medal. That’s what we are capable of.”