Chances are that Carlin Isles will soon prove to the world just why he’s been proclaimed the “fastest man in rugby” when he hits the field Tuesday during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. The professional rugby player, who plays for the United States National Sevens team, traded in the race track and hurdles for the rugby field in 2012. His decision has led him all the way to the Olympics.
Not only will Tuesday’s upcoming match be Isles’ first time playing rugby in an Olympic tournament, it will also mark the first time the U.S. has been included in a men’s rugby match at the Olympics since 1924.
Find out more about the sprinter-turned-rugby star below:
1. He has always dreamed of being an Olympian: Isles has always had gold medal dreams. However, the 26-year-old athlete always expected to make it to the Olympic Games for track and field. According to the Washington Post, Isles ran the 100-meters race in 10.15 seconds while trying out for the London 2012 Summer Olympics, which would have qualified him for a number of other countries aside from the U.S. Because of his running prowess, though, he’s been named the Fastest Man in Rugby, ever.
2. He had never actually played rugby before trying out for the Olympic rugby team: Isles was living in Texas when he decided to make the journey to Aspen, Colorado, in 2012. He had been watching clips of himself online – two weeks before the Olympic track trials – and noticed ruby listed as another Olympic sport on the side of a webpage. He clicked the link and was immediately interested. After he Googled Nigel Melville, the CEO of USA Rugby at the time, Isles sent him a text message at 5 a.m., stating: “My name is Carlin Isles. I want to play rugby. I’m fast.” Not long after getting a response from Melville, Isles found himself training and learning the game, which led to his position on the Sevens team in October 2012.
He has a twin sister: Born in Ohio, Carlin and his twin sister were adopted by Charles and Starlett Isles when they were just eight years old. Isles has been very open about his early beginnings and revealed that he and his sister were in and out of foster care and even found themselves homeless at certain times of their life before being adopted.
He played college football: Isles played football during his time at Ashland University in Ohio. His athleticism even got him the attention of the NFL, and he even signed on with the Detroit Lions’ practice squad in 2013. He incorporates a lot of workouts used in football while training for the rugby season.
He’s a parent: Isles is the father of 4-year-old daughter Harlow, who he often shares photos of on his social media.