Whitefish’s Heavirland, Team USA finish sixth in Tokyo
Whitefish native Nicole Heavirland, right, competes with the Team USA rugby during their match on July 30 against Australia during the second day of the Tokyo Olympic Games at Tokyo Stadium. (Photo courtesy Mike Lee/KLC Fotos)
Staff Report | August 4, 2021 1:00 AM
In the second Olympic Games since rugby sevens was added, the women’s United States team recently finished sixth in Tokyo.
Whitefish native Nicole Heavirland was co-captain of the U.S. team and helped them to go 4-2 throughout the games. Pool play for rugby sevens began on Wednesday, July 28 and the finals wrapped up on Saturday morning with the U.S. playing in the fifth-place game.
The U.S. defeated China on Friday night 33-14 which set up a match to compete for fifth place with Australia. The U.S. women’s team ended up losing to Australia 17-7 to take sixth place overall.
Earlier in the Olympic Games rugby sevens play, Team USA won its pool with wins over China, Japan and defending-champion Australia. The team then lost to Great Britain in the quarterfinals.
Heavirland went 4-for-5 on conversion attempts for eight points against China on Friday and scored two points against Australia in the final game for the U.S. women’s team in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She appeared in all six matches for the U.S., started in five matches, finishing the tournament with 22 points converting on 11 of 13 tries.
Many locals came out to the Bulldog Saloon on various nights throughout the tournament to watch Team USA and show their support for Heavirland. USA Rugby tweeted a photo of Heavirland supporters gathering at the Bulldog on Wednesday, July 28.
In the 2016 Rio Olympics, the U.S. women’s team finished fifth and Heavirland traveled to the Olympic Games as an alternate. She has worked over the last five years to be able to return to the Olympics and compete as an Olympian once again.