Back then, the men's and women's teams in the famous black shirts exerted a dominance over the shorter format of the game even more pronounced than that of the 15-a-side team in test rugby.
While the women's team fell just short of their target with defeat to trans-Tasman neighbours Australia in the Rio final, however, Thursday's medals round of the men's tournament will be played out without a contribution from the All Blacks.
New Zealand's men have won the famous Hong Kong sevens 10 times, the Commonwealth Games four out of five times and their 12 titles in the world sevens series are nine more than the next most successful nation has achieved.
Fiji fans celebrate rugby sevens gold and first Olympic medal
That nation is Fiji, however, and it was the reigning world sevens series champions who knocked the All Blacks out of the Rio tournament 12-7 in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Ravaged by injuries and beaten by Japan for the first time, New Zealand were only a missed conversion attempt by United States captain Madison Hughes away from making an ignominious pool stage exit earlier on Wednesday.
"It's been an up and down tournament for us in terms of consistency," admitted New Zealand's veteran coach Gordon Tietjens.
"It's obviously disappointing but it went right down to the wire. We're not looking for any excuses. Fiji deservedly beat us.
"We lost key players in Joe Webber and Sonny Bill Williams and then captain Scott Curry. We had nine players for that game."
Fiji skipper Osea Kolinisau finished a brilliant length-of-the-field try to open the game many thought would be the final and Jerry Tuwai skipped through the All Blacks defence to add a second for the Pacific islanders.
Gillies Kaka had replied for New Zealand off a chip-and-chase while his team mate Rieko Ioane was in the sin-bin, though, and the All Blacks forced Fiji to cling on desperately at the end to book a semi-final against Japan.
Tietjens is by far the most successful coach in international sevens history and is well aware of the unpredictability of a sport in which any top tier team can beat another on a given day.
"It's a pretty tough game decided on defining moment," he added. "It can be ruthless when it comes to that."
While denying that other teams had "caught up" with New Zealand, he did recognise that the top tier of the sport had become a lot more crowded.
"We dominated sevens for a number of years along with Fiji," he said.
"A lot of other teams have put a lot of emphasis on sevens, they've centralised, they actually gone in and built their depth in a lot of areas and in some of smaller countries the national players play 15s and sevens so they're pretty good players.
"All teams are conditioned now. Six teams won on the world series this year and that says it all."
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