Samoa’s Olympic heroine is home.
Ele Opeloge and her family touched down at Faleolo International Airport last night to start what should be a time to remember as she joins Samoa to celebrate her historical silver medal achievement from the Beijing Olympics.
Eight years after she was robbed of a podium finish at Beijing, China, Ele was finally presented with her medal at the airport last night.
The President of S.A.S.N.O.C., Fepulea'i Patrick Fepulea'i, congratulated Ele in front of her families, fellow athletes and supporters.
An emotional Ele told the Samoa Observer the moment was a dream come true.
But she said it was not about her. It is about Samoa.
“It’s not about me winning this medal,” she said. “This is about me honouring the people of Samoa for their support and giving this back to them for all they have done for me.
“This is the moment that I’ve been waiting for for a very long time.
“I’m just so humbled, I’m grateful, I’m excited and I’m happy to be home. I want to thank so many people who have supported me along the way.
“I want to thank my coach Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork, the Samoa Weightlifting Federation, the government, and most importantly those who have supported me in this journey.
“Fa’afetai tele lava to the Samoa Observer, la outou pule lea.”
Ele said the medal is the culmination of years of training.
“There was fear, hopelessness after the Olympics when I just lost out but knowing there’s a God in heaven and people who are always behind in prayers have made me the person I am today.”
In welcoming Ele, the President of S.A.S.N.O.C, Fepulea'i, congratulated her.
“Thank you for all the hard work,” he said. “You’ve made it!”