Sione Masoe: Born for the Games
The USA’s men’s rugby sevens player Sione Masoe tells us about his excitement at continuing his family’s proud sporting heritage at the YOG in Nanjing.
In representing the USA in the men’s rugby sevens in Nanjing, the 18-year-old, whose family hails originally from Samoa, is following in the illustrious sporting footsteps of his father and two uncles.
“My dad competed in the boxing at the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games, his brother Maselino was a professional boxer and a middleweight world champion and their little brother Chris is a New Zealand international rugby player [who is also a full back for reigning European champions, Toulon],” explains Masoe.
“The fact that I’ve also become an Olympian has had a huge impact. When my dad heard the news he was so excited, so proud, and I was too of course! He told me all about his experiences in the Republic of Korea in 1988, about all the expectations and how it was different from any other competition you’d taken part in.”
“For him, it was an amazing experience and everything that he told me before I arrived here in Nanjing has proved to be exactly right,” he continued. “You meet new people, discover new cultures and do so many new things, it’s fantastic.”
‘The Olympics are the pinnacle’
Masoe’s participation in Nanjing ended on 19 August, when the USA secured fifth place with a 29-12 victory over Japan.
“Coming here to China was tough as the Youth Olympic Games are really the pinnacle,” he enthused. “You couldn’t wish for anything more than to become an Olympian - you’re the best of the best where you come from.
“My dad was the catalyst that brought me this far, listening to him tell stories about the Olympic games – travelling across the world with his boxing career – inspired me to keep going and to push further.”
Next up, the young Olympian will be hoping to continue the family’s Olympic tradition by progressing to the USA’s senior team and helping them qualify for Rio 2016.