Rose among Samoan athletes still headed to Tokyo Olympics

Nation/World

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — One more hurdle cleared: Though Samoa is preventing some of its athletes from going to the Tokyo Olympics, discus thrower Alex Rose is among those who still get to go.

Samoa decided that its Olympic qualifiers who live and train within the island nation will not go to Tokyo due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus, Reuters reported. Samoa had 11 athletes bound for the games; three of them, all weightlifters, live on the island.

Because Rose lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he’s clear to compete.

“I was terrified when I got the email that Samoa was pulling out of the Olympic Games,” Rose, who is an American but can compete for Samoa because his father was born there, told News 8 in a Thursday Zoom call. “It wasn’t until the bottom of the email that I read that they’re still going to send their athletes who are currently living and training outside of Samoa. So I’m very fortunate in that I wasn’t doing a pretraining camp in Samoa when they did this. My heart goes out to the weightlifters and the other athletes who are on the island who won’t be able to compete.”

Rose, who has been on sabbatical from his day job for well over a year to prepare for the games, says it would have been “unimaginable” to not be allow to go after so much training and the postponement of the games from last year to this summer.

Rose is in Sweden for a Diamond League meet; he’s the first Samoan to ever be invited to one.

“This will be my last competition before I basically am setting up a big block of training leading up to July 30 and 31 when I compete in the Tokyo Olympics,” he explained.

He’ll head back to Grand Rapids for about 10 days of training, then head to Pennsylvania, where his coach is, for a weeklong training camp before flying to Japan.

This will be his second games. He also competed in Rio in 2016.

“I definitely think I’m more prepared now,” he said. “I’ve been in the ring against a lot of these big guys who are at that level where they’re competing medals — and now I’m one of them. I truly think I have the opportunity to make history here in that I have an honest-to-God chance of competing for a medal.”

He would be the first Samoan ever to win a medal in the summer Olympics.

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