Why The New Zealand Women's Rugby Team Did That Teary Dance at the Olympics

When Australia, the Olympic favorites, beat New Zealand for gold in women's rugby sevens many wondered about the teary dance performed by the silver medalists following the match. Performing a version of this dance, called the Haka, has been a tradition of New Zealand national rugby teams since 1905.

Both the men's and women's national teams perform it during international play. It is a "Māori war dance traditionally used on the battlefield, as well as when groups came together in peace," according to New Zealand Tourism. The dance is used as a show of strength, which makes sense in rugby for veryobviousreasons.

The All Blacks — the name for New Zealand's national team — are one of the only places you're likely to see the dance outside of "Māori ceremonies and celebrations to honor guests and show the importance of the occasion." There are a wide variety of versions of the dance, and they're traditionally only performed by men. However, in rugby, that's not the case.

The All Blacks' Haka following their loss in the gold medal match was a particularly emotional one. Watch it above. Below, watch a seriously intimidating version of the dance before the 2015 men's Rugby Championship against Argentina. 

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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record, but has never met the fingernail lady. He’s written for Sports Illustrated, Men’s Journal, The Rumpus, and other digital wonderlands. Follow him @dlukenelson.