Story by Joape Pela
Captain of America’s Rugby Team
SALT LAKE CITY- University of Utah student Thretton Palamo will play and captain USA’s rugby team in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
Thretton Palamo was raised to play rugby. The Palamo family has produced great rugby players. All the way up to Thretton’s father, his two brothers and now it’s Threttons’ turn.
Palamo was influenced heavily by his father and two brothers to play rugby.
At the age of 16 Palamo began to play with a local club team San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club.
After six months of playing Palamo was invited to play for his native country of Samoa.
A year later Palamo then went on to play for the USA rugby team when he was 18 and played in the rugby world cup in 2007.
In 2008 is when Palamo’s rugby career went mainstream in France playing professionally for Top 14 club Biarritts.
After playing one year professionally Palamo decided to hang up his rugby boots and pursue his education at the University of Utah.
“I wanted to go back to school to further my education. I knew it would be tough to play professionally and get an education at the same time. I did it because I didn’t want to be an old man walking around a college campus haha!,” said Palamo.
Palamo also says, “I know that I can still play rugby for Utah. Their head coach Blake Burdette was my teammate when I played for the US rugby team. So ill be able to keep my rugby skills sharp while I am going to school.”
According to head coach Blake Burdette Palamo is one who is perfect for the captain spot for the USA rugby team in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I think its great to have Palamo with us here at Utah. He is a great player with a great work ethic on and off the field. This is what makes him a great leader because he demands respect with his play on the field and he is an awesome person to get to know off the field,” said Burdette.
Mote Houma a current teammate of Palamo at Utah said, “I love playing with Thretton because it’s like having a coach on the field with us and he really helps the team play well together.”
In October of 2009 the sport of rugby was voted back into the Olympics.
This sparked the popularity of rugby in the US because the last time USA competed in the Olympics for rugby was in 1924.
The US rugby team played heavily favored France in the Championship Gold medal game and came out victorious over France with a score of 17-3.
Now with rugby reintroduced into the 2016 Rio games Palamo and the USA rugby team will be defending a gold medal.
“I am really excited to be able to play in the Olympics as well as defend Americas gold medal. This is a once in a life time experience for me and I will lead my team as best as I can.” said Palamo.
Palamo will continue his studies as well as play rugby and football for the Utah Utes until it is time to play in the 2016 Rio games.