In the lead up to the Rio 2016 Games, the Brazilian Rugby Union made an open call for Brazilian rugby players living outside of the country to try out for their program. “I crowdfunded and asked people to dream an Olympic dream with me,” Izzy said. “I explained that I had never done anything like this before and it might sound a little crazy to jump into the unknown, but I have a dream and I want to go to the Olympics, please help me.”
Within a week she had raised enough money to fund her trip to Brazil to meet the other players, train, tryout and go on tour to compete. After three weeks of matches in Europe, Izzy was offered a one-year contract but was still not guaranteed a spot on the 2016 Olympic team.
For many team sports, the Olympic qualification process is long and somewhat uncertain right up until the final matches. As the host country, Brazil automatically qualified their women’s rugby team for the 2016 Games so they were focused mainly on preparation. With one month to go, the coach brought the team together and named the roster of women who would represent Brazil. “I was so nervous, and I was one of the last ones to be named," Izzy said. “But hearing my name called among the starting lineup of women who had helped pioneer the growth of rugby in Brazil was incredible.”