For the first time in the nation’s long and varied history, the Divine Republic will be sending a delegation to the NationStates Olympic Games. Remarkable too is the size of the delegation with an impressive 136 entries in almost 70 different events – a significant fielding for a first time participant.

Secretary Oscar Grayson, responsible for sport under his portfolio of Culture, the Arts, and Tourism, said that Sanctaria has “world-class athletes who deserve to show off in a world-class arena”. Pointing to increased funding to sports and sport-based initiatives over the past ten years, Grayson continued that “such a significant level of investment in our athletes has produced wonderful dividends which can be seen in Sanctaria’s success in regional and international competitions. Sending these wonderful role-models to the Olympics is the logical next step.”

While expectations will be running high for popular athletes like distance walker David Jones, and swimmer George Newell, Secretary Grayson stressed that the goal was not to be taking home medals, though it would be a great benefit. “We’re being very realistic here. Obviously these guys are training really hard and want to go for gold, but we’re looking at this as a great learning opportunity first and foremost. The only way to improve our athletes is to pit them against the best, and that’s what we’re doing. Look, some medals would be nice and we want the guys to go for them, but they know there’s no unrealistic expectations”.

There’s been no word on who will be asked to bear the blue and white deer during the Opening Ceremony, but it’s likely that Newell will be so honoured, as the most experienced, and recognisable Olympian being fielded. Handlers refused to allow athletes present at the press conference to answer questions, but the joy of being able to participate in the most prestigious sporting competition in their respective fields was obvious on their faces.

Kevin Martins
Sport Editor