the road to rio

Posted on August 03 2016

we thought you might be as obessed with the olympics as we are, so we went ahead and got you some insider info (you’re welcome).

lauren doyle team usa umano

we got to chat with lauren doyle, member of the (first ever!) usa women’s rugby team. she gave us all the deets on what it feels like to rep that red, white, and blue, let us in on how the team comes together on and off the field and gave us the rundown on which umano tees she likes best.
lauren seriously knows what’s up, but don’t just take our word for it- read our exclusive road to rio q + a for yourself below.
how long have you been playing rugby, and when did you know it was something you would pursue?
ld: I have been playing rugby since my freshman year of college in 2009, so around 7 years. after my freshman year at eastern illinois university, my coach, frank graziano, sat me down and told me that rugby 7s was going to be in the olympics in 2016, and it was going to be my goal to get into the residency program by the time I graduated in 2013. I excelled in rugby quite quickly mainly because I had speed, and after the first season I was finally getting the rules down and understanding the game. I’d say 15s was a good starter into rugby, but I really fell in love with 7’s because it’s such a fast game and allows for so much creativity.
how does it feel to be part of the first usa women’s olympic rugby team?
ld: it’s an amazing feeling to be a part of the first us women’s olympic rugby team. it is really hard to grasp the concept of how powerful that position is. we, the team, are really pioneering rugby in the united states, and I hope we inspire a whole generation of kids to go out and try rugby.
has it always been a dream of yours to go to the olympics?
 ld: I really wasn’t that little kid that was glued to the tv screen watching the olympics every time they were on. I was more the kid that was always outside doing something crazy; climbing trees, jumping on the trampoline, playing basketball, kicking the soccer ball, doing gymnastics, really anything. I have always enjoyed and excelled in sports, so it was more a dream of mine to go pro in a sport. the dream of the olympics didn’t come along until later, until I found and fell in love with rugby.
what does “togetherness” mean to your team?
ld: I think to any team “togetherness” is key. obviously, for a team performing at a high level everyone needs to be on the same page, have the same goals and focus points. in order to work as a unit and beat the opponent, we must be together. another word that comes to my mind when I think of “togetherness” is fun. when you are with people and you are not alone, you will always have fun and that is just one quality of our team: we love to have fun.
what is going to be the biggest challenge in rio?
ld: the biggest challenge in any tournament, not just rio, is the quarter final game. it is the deciding game on if you are in the medal rounds or not. we have never been to the olympics, so we are just going into it like any other one of our world series tournaments- focused and ready to play.
umano team usa women's rugby
when you’re not on the field, what are you guys doing as a team off the field? 
ld: we have many team bonding trips that are super fun! just last week we all went paddle boarding in the bay together. we have gone rock climbing, kayaking, and hiking, just to name a few. we play rugby full time so it is nice to get away and really clear your mind with 20 of your best friends.
what is like being at the olympic training center surrounded by so many talented athletes?
ld: being at the training center everyday is a cool experience. men’s and women’s rugby, archery, BMX, and paralympic track athletes are there full time, and other sports such as rowing, volleyball, field hockey, and soccer come through there as well. it is fun to meet people that have the same lifestyle as you and really understand your schedule and training loads.
do you have any other hidden talents or other ways that you express your creativity?
ld: most recently I have gotten into pokemon go even though I have never watched the tv show. I am also a huge foodie. I love going to new restaurants and trying interesting things. I went and had my first sushi burrito last weekend, and it was awesome!! I am also very obsessed with the number 23.

top three favorite umano tees, ready go!

don't forget to score one of our limited-edition, olympic inspired Artwork while you can! 

lauren doyle team usa umano