Fiji at the 2002 Winter Olympics
Fiji sent a delegation to compete at the 2002 Winter Olympics, in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States from February 8–24, 2002. This was the nation's third appearance at a Winter Olympic Games. The delegation consisted of a single athlete, alpine skier Laurence Thoms. He competed in both the slalom, where he failed to complete his first run, and in the giant slalom, in which he finished 55th out of the 57 skiers who successfully completed both of their runs. Thoms gained media attention for representing a tropical nation at the Winter Olympics.
|Fiji at the|
2002 Winter Olympics
|NOC||Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee|
|in Salt Lake City|
|Competitors||1 in 1 sport|
|Flag bearer||Laurence Thoms|
|Winter Olympics appearances (overview)|
Fiji first entered the Olympic competition at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. The nation did not enter a Winter Olympic Games until Calgary in 1988. Fiji also participated in the 1994 Winter Olympics, making the Salt Lake City Games the nation's third Winter Olympics appearance. The 2002 Fijian delegation consisted of a single alpine skier, Laurence Thoms. He was also the Fijian flagbearer for both the opening and closing ceremonies. As of June 2018[update], this was the most recent time Fiji has participated in a Winter Games.
At a New Year's Eve party in 1998, a group of Fijians had discussed how it would be nice to have a Fijian skier in the Olympics. After the party, they placed a newspaper advertisement asking young Fijians to apply to a ski team to which Thoms responded. Thoms successfully qualified under the FIS's small-country rules, and he attracted media attention for being a competitor from a tropical nation at the Winter Olympics. Toni Hauswirth, a Swiss businessman who retired to Fiji, fully funded the project to get a skier to Salt Lake City.
Fiji qualified one athlete for alpine skiing. Laurence Thoms was 21 at the time of the Salt Lake City Olympics. Thoms's first ever race was in January 2000, two years before the Salt Lake City games. He competed in both the slalom and giant slalom. The giant slalom was held on February 21 at Deer Valley while the slalom was held on February 23 at the Park City Mountain Resort.
Thoms failed to complete the slalom, but completed the giant slalom and finished in 55th place overall with a combined time of 2:41.98. He placed at 68th and 55th in the 1st and 2nd runs, respectively. Thoms's performance in the giant slalom still stands as the best Fijian performance at any Winter Olympics.
|Athlete||Event||Run 1||Run 2||Final/total|
|Laurence Thoms||Giant slalom||1:22.01||68||1:19.97||55||2:41.98||+18.70||55|
|Slalom||Did not finish||Did not finish|
- "The XIX Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City" (PDF). International Olympic Committee. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
- "Flag Bearers for the Closing Ceremony". International Olympic Committee. February 22, 2002. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
- "Fiji". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on April 17, 2020. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- "Beach boy takes to the slopes". BBC. February 15, 2002. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
- "Fiji at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on April 17, 2020. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
- Grass, Ray (February 7, 2002). "Fiji's lone 2002 Olympian lured by a newspaper ad". Deseret News. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
- Aron, Jaime (February 7, 2002). "Eleven on their own in Games". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
- "Laurence Thoms Bio, Stats, and Results". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on April 18, 2020. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- "Alpine Skiing at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games: Men's Giant Slalom". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on April 17, 2020. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
- "Alpine Skiing at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games: Men's Slalom". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on April 17, 2020. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
- "Salt Lake City 2002 Official Report - Volume 1" (PDF). Salt Lake Organizing Committee. LA84 Foundation. 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 6, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
- Mallon, Bill; Heijmans, Jeroen; Grasso, John (May 14, 2015). Historical Dictionary of the Olympic Movement. Scarecrow Press. p. 195. ISBN 978-1442248601.