England’s victory over Australia to win the Rugby World Cup has been hailed by UK Olympic chiefs as a huge boost for bringing the Olympic games to London in 2012.
London Olympic 2012 marketing director David Magliano says the world champions label will help Olympic officials recognise the dedication to sport from both athletes and fans in the UK. Rugby authorities are trying to get the game recognised as an Olympic sport in time for the 2012 games.
Magliano says: “England winning the World Cup will have a very positive effect on the bid. It reminds people the UK produces world-class sports people. The bid team recognises how important this cup has been in raising the profile of UK sports across the world.”
With high-profile crowd troubles hampering sports such as football, Magliano says the scenes of good-natured rivalry between the British and Australian rugby fans will also help cast the UK as a safe and friendly environment to hold a sporting competition.
“Partly, it is that the UK fans were all so good-humoured, but it also shows they are loyal enough to travel the world to watch their teams play sport.”
However, British rugby union insiders say the Olympic bid team has missed out by not having official representation at the World Cup, particularly as Jacques Rogge, an ex-Belgium rugby player and president of the International Olympic Committee, attended.