Fiji didn’t just win gold today, it showed us how sport can unite a country and inspire people much further afield:
Fijians live and breathe rugby sevens and the historic nature of this Olympic game literally stopped the nation.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific sent this note around, suspending classes. The Pacific foreign ministers, including New Zealand’s Murray McCully, meeting in Suva, stopped to watch the game.
Victoria Parade near the markets in the capital, Suva, was temporarily closed. So were banks, with signs asking them to come back later.
Crowds had gathered at the National Stadium in Suva to watch and cheer on their boys, with bells ringing and tears flowing after the game.
This is how much it means to the small Pacific nation. School children in elation, partying in the streets.
People were literally standing in the middle of traffic, as they knew they could get away with it today.
They were literally dancing on the rooftops. . .
It seems a lot of people don’t know about Fiji – Google tweeted that Fiji was the number one trending search in the world after the win.
What they will find out in their searches is that the nation honours its players and the players in turn honour their maker. There’s a growing trend of Christian rugby players turning to prayer on the pitch. We saw it recently with the Lions following their defeat in the Super Rugby final to the Hurricanes. But it started with these Pacific nations.
And it’s not a show for the cameras. . .
The players received their gold medals from Princess Anne getting on their knees – some saying it was because they were too tall for her, others saying it was an act of respect.
If there’s another thing Fiji can teach us about sport, it’s how to win with honour and humility. . . .
Passion, faith, fun, respect, honour and humility – I’m grateful for all of that.