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‘It’s unbelievable’: Why Tim Mikkelson is the sevens GOAT

By Finn Morton
(MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)

Ask any sport fan around the world who the ‘GOAT’ is, and they’ll give you answer. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, it’s the highest praise that can be bestowed upon an athlete.


To be viewed as a legend is a simply unreal achievement for any athlete, but to be considered the greatest of all time is as exclusive as it gets.

The likes of Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Pele, Tiger Woods, Richie McCaw and Muhammad Ali are certainly worthy of the GOAT moniker in their respective sports – and so is All Blacks Sevens veteran Tim Mikkelson.

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Mikkelson has won World Series titles, World Cups, Commonwealth Games gold medals and is an Olympic medallist as well – just to name some of his achievements.

But Mikkelson has been on the cusp of an incredible individual record for quite some time. To use a cricket term, Mikkelson has been stuck in the nervous nineties.

Injuries have kept the sevens ace on the sidelines, but the 36-year-old is set to etch his name into the record books once again in Toulouse on Friday.

Mikkelson will add another “unbelievable” milestone to his decorated list of achievements when he becomes the first Kiwi to play 100 international sevens tournaments in the coveted black jersey,


Having played a lot of rugby alongside “the most successful sevens player” of all time, New Zealand captain Sam Dickson is hoping to celebrate his teammates’ momentous achievement in style.

Calling in from his hotel room in Toulouse, while wearing a ‘Tim Mikkelson 100’ t-shirt as well, Dickson spoke about how the sevens legend has been an “inspiration for this team.”

“I think I’ve played 70-odd tournaments and he’s about to play 100, it’s unbelievable how he’s got to 100 and not only played 100 but most of those tournaments he’s been in the semis and finals,” Dickson told RugbyPass.

“When you look back at what he’s achieved, he’s probably the most successful sevens player ever.


“He’s got a couple of gold medals (from the) Comm Games, silver, two World Cups, Olympics silver, seven-odd World Series titles so it’s unbelievable what he’s achieved.

“But what amazes me with him is how humble he is, he’ll never talk about it. He’s scored 250-odd tries on the World Series but he’s just so humble about it and he works so hard back home behind closed doors.

“He’s been an inspiration for this team and he’s been a leader for this team for so long now.


“I’m just so stoked that he’s finally been able to sort his body out and get back for hie 100th because it’s been a while, I think the Tokyo Olympics was his last tournament for this team.

“Looking forward to this weekend because he deserves it. Hopefully we’ll be able to win it for him.”

Looking to celebrate arguably the greatest player in the history of the sport, the All Blacks Sevens can clinch another World Series crown in Toulouse.

The New Zealand Men’s team haven’t won the sports ultimate prize since the 2019/20 season, they’re well and truly on the cusp of greatness heading into the second-last leg of the season.

Currently 24-points ahead of second-place Argentina, the All Blacks Sevens can clinch the world title by topping their pool in Toulouse.

“That’s been our goal to first qualify for the Olympics and the boys ticked that off in Singapore, and then the next goal was to win the World Series,” he added.

“We’ve got a few points out in front so we do have the chance to win it in this tournament which, if we perform every game, then that will take care of itself.


“To add on to Timmy’s 100th, that would just be awesome to hopefully get both of those locked away at the end of this weekend.”

The All Blacks Sevens have won four of the last five World Series events, including the esteemed tournament in Hong Kong earlier this year.

But, incredibly, the World Series leaders won both the Hong Kong and Singapore without some of their veteran players – including captain Sam Dickson.

“To be honest it was just so awesome to see how deep our squad can go.

“Even if a few of the regular boys are inured, there’s lads who have been training at home for a year or two now that just stepped up and performed on the world stage.

“That was just so pleasing to see because there’s been a lot of time and effort and a lot of hard training that’s been put in over the last year or so for those boys to be ready.

“I was just stoked for the coaching staff and the rest of the squad to be able to contribute and show how good our whole squad is.”

New Zealand kick-off their quest for World Series glory against Canada on Friday night (NZST). The All Blacks will also play Kenya and Uruguay in Pool A.


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