Congratulations to all the athletes in Oceania for your inspiring performances over the last 17 days.
Athletes from the 15 Pacific nations gathered at the Scoop on the banks of the River Thames in London for the Oceania Flag Raising Ceremony
This marked the beginning of their London journey and recognised the athlete that will carry the flag for each country.
The picturesque setting was the perfect backdrop for the ceremony, with the Tower Bridge in the background; the Olympic rings hanging from it clearly visible, reminding the athletes of the task they have ahead.
After an opening address, each country introduced their athletes to not only the other countries, but also the crowd that gathered as the proceedings continued.
A small walk around the amphitheater for each flag bearer with their national flag only highlighted the immense privilege that comes with being the flag bearer at the Olympics.
Although some joked about the upcoming Games and their athlete’s hopes, the immensity of these Games for these small nations was not lost.
It was the Deputy Chef de Mission from Samoa Samuelu Samuelu that summed up the importance of this event and the Olympics by saying that ‘when it comes to sport we all come together as one. One country, one team’.
The flag raising ceremony also served as a chance for everyone to meet, not only the athletes but also those behind their transformation into Olympians.
The coaches and trainers of all Olympians were invited onto the stage and greeted with the same level of enthusiasm, emphasising the appreciation held for them by their athletes, peers and the public.
In true Pacific fashion, the event concluded with Head of Games Village Operations for Oceania, Natanya Patoi, leading the crowd of spectators congregating in the amphitheater with a fun dance, uniting the mix of athletes, coaches, family, media and tourists as one.
Ricardo Blas Junior, a judo competitor from Guam said that just ‘being able to mix with the other athletes from the Pacific’ made the event enjoyable for all the athletes.
After the official proceedings were completed the athletes mingled, meeting not only their competitors but also their new friends.
The Oceania flag bearers (including Australia and New Zealand)
American Samoa - Wei Ching Maou (Swimming)
Australia – Lauren Jackson (Basketball)
Cook Islands – Helema Williams (Laser Radial)
FSM – Manuel Minginfel (Weightlifting)
Fiji – Josateki Naulu (Judo)
Guam – Maria Dunn (Weightlifting)
Kiribati – David Katoatau (Weightlifting)
Marshall Islands – Haley Nemra (Athletics)
Nauru – Itte Detenamo (Weightlifting)
New Zealand – Nick Willis (Athletics)
Solomon Islands – Jenly Wini (Weightlifting)
Palau – Rodman Teltull (Athletics)
Papua New Guinea – Toea Wisil (Athletics)
Samoa – Ele Opeloge (Weightlifting)
Tonga – Amini Fonua (Swimming)
Tuvalu – Asenate Manoa (Athletics)
Vanuatu – Anolyn Lulu (Table tennis)