After 16 appearances in the Olympics, the tiny nation of Fiji has its first medal.
And it is gold.
The Fiji rugby sevens squad routed Great Britain in the gold medal game on Thursday night, winning 43-7 in a game that was never in doubt. Team GB seemed overwhelmed by Fiji's size and speed and couldn’t seem to bring down anyone with a clean tackle.
For Fiji, a small Oceanic nation that is comprised of over 300 islands in the South Pacific and boasts a population of just 800,000, it was nothing less than what was expected. The team entered the Olympics as the heavy favorites, led by Leone Nakarawa, who is listed at 6-6 and 240 pounds, and Semi Kunatani, who is 6-3, 240.
Seven different Fiji players scored tries in the match. Dan Norton scored the lone try for Great Britain.
“The team, they are our heroes,” said Vaseva Varea, a Fiji native who lives in Australia and traveled to Brazil for the Games. “They are our warriors. They are everything to us.”
In the bronze medal game, South Africa routed Japan. Japan should be proud of its performance at this Olympics, though — its upset against New Zealand in group play was considered by many to be the match of the tournament.