Scenes of wild celebration on the streets after team from the small Pacific nation beats Britain in the final to land gold.
For the first time in the history of Olympics, Fiji wins the medal and it is ‘gold’.
The Fijians defeat Great Britain 43-7 in the gold-medal game to make history. The team Fiji completes every match unbeatable and becomes successful in controlling every opponent team including some of the most historic rugby powers. They took out New Zealand in the quarterfinals, 12-7, before beating Japan by 20-5 in the semifinals to qualify for in the game against Team Britain.
With a population of around 900,000, Fiji has long punched above its weight in international rugby, particularly in the sevens game which rewards the pace, power and skill of its distinctive brand of play.
Frank Bainimarama, the prime minister, attended every day of the three-day competition, shunning the VIP area to sit with Fijian fans in the stands.
“They’re all celebrating. They’ve been celebrating for the last three days,” he said.
“We’ve got celebrations programmed for when [the team] returns … We are all proud to be Fijians right now.”
“Rugby is like a religion in Fiji,” Elenoa Baselaia of the Fiji Times told CNN. “Whether it’s with paper scrunched together to make a ball, it’s with bottles or a real rugby ball, somebody in the neighborhoods is playing rugby.”
The medal is fitting, as Fiji has been dominating rugby on the world stage for a long time despite many obstacles.
The island nation has a smaller budget than other rugby teams and limited training facilities. It also experiences cyclones, which are dangerous tropical weather systems similar to hurricanes that can cause incredible amounts of damage.