Fiji

Fiji Brings Home the Gold

Story and Photos by Lee Daley.    In a classic “David and Goliath” epic event, the Fiji rugby team trounced Britain, its one-time colonial ruler. The stunning 43-7 rout gives Fiji the Gold Medal in the inaugural men’s rugby sevens Olympic competition. The victory is even more stunning when you consider the limited budget constraints under which this tiny island nation comported itself. If you compare the millions of dollars spent by rugby powerhouse nations like New Zealand, England, France and South Africa to Fiji’s shoestring budget and its small population of just 900,000, the victory is surely the stuff of legends.  Taking the Olympic Gold Medal home seems even sweeter when one realizes that Ben Ryan- the coach who led the Fijian team to victory-moved to Fiji from his British homeland about three years ago where, under his training, the team flourished. If Fiji has its way though, he will soon become an honorary Fijian citizen. Coach Ryan and the team returned home on August 22nd. The day has been declared a national public holiday.