Final Olympics Report: AmSam given a fond farewell
In the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the world saw a new flag added to the Olympic Family, America Samoa competed at their first ever Games, sending six athletes to Asia to compete, America Samoa hoped that being part of the Olympics would continue for decades after.
Fast forward 24 years and we arrive at London 2012 for the team's 7th Olympic Games. The team consists of 5 athletes over 4 disciplines, they came to London with determination to do well, now post London 2012 we reflect on their performances as well as the farewell received from London 2012.
On the night of August 12, London bid farewell to over 10,000 athletes, and it was time for the Olympic Baton to be passed onto Rio de Janeiro. The evening was a celebration of all that is great about iconic London and British music, we saw some of the biggest names in British music performing to the world, starting with Emile Sande, Madness and One Direction.
The Closing Ceremony reinforced the message delivered by Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG), at the start of the Opening Ceremony ‘these are the Games for everyone.’ The 204 nations were welcomed into the 80,000 seated Stadium, with rapturous applause, led out by the flags of the competing nations. American Samoa Swimmer Ching Maou Wei carried the Flag for America Samoa, the athletes were then incorporated into the ceremony, becoming the 'mosh pits' to enjoy and support the acts.
Musical acts such as George Michael, Annie Lennox and the Spice Girls helped keep the audience in good spirits at the biggest party Great Britain has ever seen. The time had come to officially end the Games. President of the International Olympic Committee Dr Jacque Rogge stood in front of the blossoming flame, Mayors from the two cities joined him on stage to pass the Olympic Flag from London to Rio, and then welcomed Rio to show the us what is expected from their 2016 Olympic games. Vibrant dancers took to the stage living the Samba spirit, with Brazil’s traditional yellow and green colowith rs shining throughout the stadium, Brazil’s performance left the world excited for the future, the sport and Rio's culture.
Looking back at the 30th Olympiad in London, American Samoa has done themselves and their country proud. Megan Fonteno was the first athlete in action for team American Samoa. Day 5 saw Megan make a splash in the pool, clocking a time of 57.48, just shy of a Personal Best (PB). The following day saw two of the Team in action, Judoka Anthony Liu took to the mat at the Excel centre where he took on world number 15, Anthony unfortunately did not advance through to the next round. Back to the Aquatics centre, and Flag bearer Ching Maou Wei took to the pool in the 50m Freestyle and set a new PB with a time of 27.30. On Day two of the athletics Elama Fa’atonu shot out of the block to record a PB time of 11.48 seconds. The final day of competition came around and it was time for 96kg Freestyle Wrestler Nathaniel Tuamoheloa to take to the floor, unfortunately Nathaniel sustained an injury during training and was unable to compete, however Nathaniel still gained valuable experience during his maiden Olympics.
Chef de Mission Kent Yamada had this to say on Team America Samoa's performance “We are really pleased with the results of our athletes, we know they all tried their best. For the team this is great progression and we look ahead to future games.”
As the world looks ahead to Rio, there was one last thing for London to do, extinguish the Olympic flame. The cauldron burned brightly for the two weeks of the London 2012 games, now was the time to say farewell, the copper petals that were lit to represent each country were slowly extinguished, and a phoenix rose from the ashes to the sky. As for Team American Samoa, they plan to use the athletes as role models back on the Islands to inspire more people to follow their dreams.