Recently engaged and with a baby on the way in September, Dan Bibby’s summer would be capped off by a gold medal for Team GB in the rugby sevens at Rio 2016.
The Lancastrian and former Kirkham Grammar School pupil is part of the 12-strong squad in Rio to compete in what will be rugby sevens’ Olympic debut.
Bibby played fly half in the 15-a-side game but signed as a full-time England Sevens player in 2012 and has not looked back.
After representing his country in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Bibby said it will not be until competition is underway in Rio that the enormity of his achievement will sink in.
“When I got told I just couldn’t believe it, it took a while to sink in,” said the 25-year-old.
“I rang my fiancée as soon as I found out, she had already backed me getting selected because when I got home there were congratulations banners outside.
“I asked her what would’ve happened if I didn’t make it? All my family are really proud and can’t wait to watch me. Having all the kit makes it a little bit more real.”
Team GB have been drawn alongside New Zealand, Japan and Kenya in their pool as the world’s top 12 sides battle it out for the sport’s first ever gold medal.
And with six different winners from the HSBC Sevens World Series’ ten tournaments this season, Bibby said the competition is likely to throw up a few surprises.
“It is the Olympics, there will be a few more emotions flying about and a bit more adrenaline, but you try to take it as another game and take each game the same, no matter who you are playing,” he added.
“You give each team the same respect. It is going to be exciting.
“Sevens is a funny game, you can lose a game on the bounce of a ball or a referee decision. We would not say we are definitely going to win gold, but that is the ultimate aim.”
Bibby represented Cardiff Metropolitan University as a student and was part of the 2012 England students team that won the World University Championship Rugby Sevens.
Over 60 per cent of British gold medallists since 1992 have participated in BUCS sport, with 56 members of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics competing for Great Britain at the World University Games.
Team GB captain Tom Mitchell, as well as fellow teammate Sam Cross, was also part of that 2012 team and Bibby said university competition provided a solid grounding for a move into the game’s professional ranks.
“It is a bit of a bigger stage now but I loved playing for the university side and the friendships I got from that have carried on into adult life,” added Bibby.
“It might be looked on as a bit more social, but people do make it. For anyone who is at uni and wants that end goal, then it is definitely achievable.”
British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, representing more than 150 institutions. Covering 52 sports, BUCS aids grass roots participation through to supporting aspiring elite athletes en route to Commonwealth or Olympic Games www.bucs.org.uk