A lot has already been said about USA Sevens speedstar Carlin Isles, but thanks to an excellent new short feature by Grantland, we get to learn a bit more about the former track athlete, including a first hand account of his humble upbringing.
Rio 2016 isn’t too far off and Olympic hopeful Isles still has his eyes firmly on the prize, despite having had to change the path some time back. After realising that to be the very best of the best in US sprinting was a mammoth challenge, Isles looked at his options.
“As I got closer to almost Olympic trials, there was a point where I felt like if I didn’t go to the Olympics, then what? I was being real with myself,” Isles said.
What happened next and how he came into rugby is quite a well known story, and since then he has enjoyed time on the IRB Sevens World Series circuit, learning and developing in the process.
He has been thrown in at the deep end however, and as USA Sevens captain Matt Hawkins explained, it’s not the ideal way to learn all the ins and outs of rugby.
“If we get guys like Carlin that can absolutely torch people on the field, we’d be stupid not to invite them into our family,” said Hawkins, who believes that some grassroots, lower grade rugby may well help to develop Isles’ overall game better.
“Carlin is trying to develop on the national team, and for a guy like him, that really doesn’t make sense. He’s not going to get the basics he really needs to learn and grow.
“I’ve seen the guys from football come and go. I’ve seen six or seven guys. They’ve got great talent, and rugby requires athletic talent. But it also requires intellectual talent. If I tell you tomorrow you’re going to speak Spanish, you can’t do that,” Hawkins added.
For now, it’s an uplifting story and an exciting one for US rugby fans, who take great pride in the plaudits Isles has garnered. Fans are realistic however, and while the emergence of a star is a wonderful thing, it’ll take time before he reaches his full potential as a well rounded player.
As can be seen in this great documentary short, he has the tenacity and raw talent to get there.