In 2007, Zack Test arrived at Oregon as a preferred walk-on wide receiver. Max Unger and Jonathan Stewart were among the future NFL stars on the roster, and so was the versatile Dennis Dixon. But Test never took a snap, at least, on a football field. Part of his deal with then-head coach Mike Belotti was that he could play rugby on the side.
Test rose through the USA Rugby rugby ranks, and by March 2009, at age 19, he debuted with the national team.
"For those five seconds I had the ball, I literally forgot how to play rugby," Test says of his debut in Hong Kong seven years ago. "I just passed the ball back thinking I don’t want it, I don't want it."
Test has come a long way from his first-game jitters. He has 62 caps for the USA Eagles, the most all-time, and he's in Rio rugby sevens inaugural Olympics.
"I'm stoked to be an Olympian," Test says. "It's going be a dream come true. I've been working the last five years to make his dream possible."
Rugby sevens was approved for the 2016 Olympics, ending a 92-year drought. "I think they added sevens because there are so many little nations that have the potential to be medalists," Test says.
He is on to something. Fiji has never medaled at the Summer or Winter Olympics. Kenya has only medaled in track and boxing. For New Zealand and South Africa, arguably those nations' best sport will now be on display to a widespread international audience.
The last time rugby was in the Olympics was 1924, and the U.S. took home gold. Although people may laugh at the idea of the U.S. defending their title, Test takes pride in it.
"The fact that we are reigning champs is just another fuel for the fire that is going to push us that much further to try and make this a reality," he says.
Both Test and teammate Carlin Isles have battled injuries in the lead-up to the Games. Test sustained a concussion in the London Sevens tournament in May, but said he was "back to 100 percent" in mid-June.
Going into Rio, Test is confident the team will be healthy and peaking at the right time.
"Having the combination of Perry [Baker] and Carlin [Isles] is like having the dynamic duo of Batman and Superman," he says. "Carlin's pace is world-class, and if you give him the ball in space, no one is going to catch him."
Isles, a former Detroit Lions practice squad player, trained but failed to make the 2012 U.S. Olympic track team. He considered trying to make the 2016 track team, but opted out of the trials to focus on rugby.
After all, the physical beatdown of rugby is something that every player must embrace. Athletes like Test stick to highly regulated diets that consists of protein-packed foods like almonds. But Test isn't afraid to put whipped cream on pizza as his "cheat day" snack.
Test and the men's team opens group play Aug. 9 with matches against Argentina and Brazil. The USA Eagles take on Fiji on Aug. 10.
The women's team opens Aug. 6 with matches against Fiji and Colombia, and it finishes group play Aug. 7 versus Australia.
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Follow Mac Benson on Twitter @MacMBenson.