GR man hopes to make Olympic finals for Samoa

Road to the Olympics

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids man has punched his ticket to the Tokyo Olympics, but he’s not competing for Team USA — he’ll be representing Samoa.

“My father Ross was born and raised in Samoa in a small village in the middle of the island. As a result, I have dual citizenship,” Alex Rose explained.

Rose throws discus. He recorded a personal best of 66.31 meters (more than 217 feet) at the Last Chance Meet in Pennsylvania. It qualified him for his second Olympics.

“It’s a pretty indescribable feeling. Four years of training and sacrifice and it’s all for a few seconds in the ring, so it’s kind of hard to not think about that the whole time,” Rose said.

Rose himself was born and raised in West Branch, Michigan, and now lives in Grand Rapids with his wife Sam. He holds down a full-time job with a technology company, working both out of an office and traveling for sales.

He uses his lunch breaks to throw or get in a workout at Grand Rapids City Gym, which along with Earth Fed Muscle is his biggest supporter and allows him to train and compete at an elite level.

It’s a breakneck schedule, so Rose has to juggle work, workouts and his family. Last year, his throwing distance was down and he found himself at a crossroads.

“My sales territory extends down to Fort Wayne (Indiana), so I’m staying in hotels, I’m away from my wife already. So the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time on the track than necessary, so it was definitely a conversation we had,” Rose said.

Whatever plan they came up with worked. He owns the Samoan national record and he’s set an even higher goal for Tokyo.

“I want to be the first Samoan to make an Olympic final. No one has ever done that in track and field and I think I can become the first,” Rose said. “To make the final, I would really only need to do what I have done, but on the right day, so that’s always the hard part.”

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