If there were a gold medal in singing, Fiji's rugby players would have a good chance of winning another Olympic gold medal.
On Wednesday, after they had just won the final against New Zealand, the colossi from the small Pacific island stood arm in arm in the deserted Tokyo Stadium.
For many of them, their eyes still damp from the overwhelming feeling of triumph, they started a gospel.
And how they sang!
Polyphonic, harmonious, soulful, downright artistically valuable.
An Olympic moment that touched.
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Now you have to know that the unusual singing band of the powerhouse has a long tradition. Just a few months ago, a video made a career on the Internet showing a Fijian rugby selection singing. Standing on the tiny balconies of a hotel, the players gave the staff an active serenade. As a thank you for the care during the mandatory two-week quarantine for travelers to Australia. Also in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, the Fijians gave the artistic choir.
They had also previously won gold at the Olympic premiere of rugby 7. At that time it was the first ever Olympic medal for their country. In their homeland, the players were received as heroes. Their triumphant journey led them through all regions of the island and lasted almost a week. The small Pacific state has 900,000 inhabitants. Almost everyone wanted to cheer the medals and their winners up close. Meanwhile, the team photo of the heroes of Rio even adorns a banknote.
Otherwise only Queen Elizabeth II is shown, officially still the highest representative dignitary in the former British colony. The rugby ticket is worth around five euros. On paper. Because the emotional value is many times higher for most Fijians. Before the final in Tokyo, the special notes were used as good luck charms in many places.
In 7er rugby, the smaller, faster and reduced to a three-day tournament format version of this fighting and physical sport, Fiji is what New Zealand is with its legendary "All Blacks" in the more well-known 15er variant: the measure of all things. For years. The Fijians won the world championship, lead the world rankings and triumphed several times in the "World Series", the most important tournament series. They were also considered a favorite in Tokyo. But the competition, especially from the classic rugby nations such as New Zealand, South Africa and Great Britain, was tough.
At the beginning of the tournament it still looked as if the Fijians were vulnerable this time. They had not always played their way through their preliminary group with the British, Japanese and Canadians confidently. They had won their games anyway. Likewise the quarter-finals against Australia and the semi-finals against the eventual bronze winner Argentina. In the final against New Zealand, the "Flying Fijis", the flying Fijians, then took off. In the end, thanks to a never endangered 27:12, there was the Olympic gold medal - and an acoustic highlight of these otherwise quiet games.