The South Pacific Island nation of Fiji erupted with cheers when they received word that their national men’s rugby sevens team defeated the British, 43-7, to claim the Gold Medal at the Rio Olympics. Not only was this the first time for the sport to be included in official competition, it the first-ever Olympic medal for Fiji, which has been joining the Games since 1956.
Previously, Fiji had beaten Japan 20-5 to secure their Finals berth, bringing their country to a near standstill when it came time for the Finals as the wait began to see whether their heroes would emerge in second or first place.
Following the win, Fijians flooded social media with ecstatic posts and began a nationwide celebration; work had already come to a standstill earlier in the day, as businesses closed and people flocked to wherever they could watch the game. Soon after, an official day of commemoration, August 22, has just been announced by Fiji’s government.
Each team member received their own Medal, presented to them by England’s Princess Anne. The team showing traditional respect to Princess Anne by kneeling and clapping three times as she approached them individually.
For a nation like the Philippines, whose athletes are well known for making up in heart what they lack in financial support, there is much to be learned from Fiji’s example. The island nation with a population of just 900,000 has proven that it isn’t about how much you spend or what resources you have, it all comes down to how badly you want it.