Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Greatest Game


In 1924 in Paris, a rugby team of American college players represented the USA in rugby at the Olympic Games, and against all odds were successful in winning the Gold Medal.

It was a battle initially to convince the U.S. Olympic Committee to compete in rugby, but Australian Danny Carroll who was living in San Francisco after winning double Olympic Gold Medals in Rugby in 1908 as a member of the Australasian team and also in 1920 as a member of the USA team, convinced the USOC to send a team to defend the Rugby Gold Medal. Then French immigration and other officials tried to deny them entrance to France when they arrived at the port, cancelled their hotel reservations and locked them out of the training grounds. As a major rugby playing country and host of the games, France had included rugby as one of the events because they felt they were certain to win the Rugby Gold Medal.

In the event, the American college students overcame all the obstacles put in their way, including openly hostile fans who threatened the safety of American fans, and also the team at the end of the game until they were surrounded and protected by French players and gendarmes and escorted off the field, after the Americans had convincingly defeated France to win the Rugby Gold Medal.

This was a USA international sporting team victory akin to that of the “Miracle on Ice” U.S. college ice hockey players at the 1980 Olympics who defeated the seemingly invincible professional Russian Red Army team and then went on to Olympic Gold and the hearts of all American sports fans.

Rugby has not been included in the Olympic Games since 1924 and after a 92 year absence will reappear this year in Brazil. USA has already qualified in both men’s and women’s rugby, to be one of the 12 top rugby countries competing for Gold, where USA is the defending Rugby Gold Medal holder. Based on their current international performances, each of the Men’s and Women’s teams has a genuine chance of winning a medal.

Rugby is the fastest growing team sport in the U.S. and in November 2014 a sellout crowd of 61,500 watched the USA Eagles play the World Champion New Zealand All Blacks in Chicago at Soldier’s Field.

In 2016 the USA Eagles were runners-up in the first Annual Americas Rugby Championship after playing Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, and the first fully professional league for rugby in the U.S. will be launched. A 24/7 U.S. rugby cable channel will be up and running in 2016, and in 2018 the Rugby Sevens World Cup is being hosted in San Francisco.

The rugby movie Invictus (Morgan Freeman – Matt Damon), featuring the South African and New Zealand teams at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa, was a major box office success in the USA and globally, and a movie is now being made to show the challenges the American college rugby players had to face in 1924 in order to just take the field and then win the epic Gold Medal event.

One of Hollywood’s most successful Writer/Directors, Oscar-nominated Ron Shelton, is writing and directing this project and he has a Who’s Who credit list for sports related films including Bull Durham (Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins), Tin Cup (Kevin Costner, Renee Russo, Don Johnson), White Men Can’t Jump (Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Rosie Perez), Cobb (Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Wuhl, Lolita Davidovich), Play it to the Bone (Antonio Banderas, Woody Harrelson, Tom Sizemore, Lucy Liu), Blue Chips (Nick Nolte, Shaquille O’Neal), The Best of Times (Robin Willians, Kurt Russell) and Jordan Rides the Bus.

The producer is now raising $25 million to cover the production costs for this movie and a full information package is available for review. The first tranche of $350K has been funded to cover the writing of the shooting script and initial location scouting, casting and development expenses.

If you’re interested give my good friend Bill Middleton a yell.

Bill Middleton, President, Corporate Capital Group, Inc.
954 Lexington Ave, Suite 242, New York, NY, 10021
Tel: 212 988 0394,
Fax: 212 658 9300,
Cell: 917 771 8005,
Email: billmidd@gmail.com

Image attribute/source: 1924 USA Rugby Team / wikimedia.org

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