Alex Rose from Northern Michigan says the first part of his journey began with a small crest he designed that includes a Celtic eternity knot that represents his mother.
The moon tattoo he has symbolizes his sister, Masina, which means moon in Samoan.
Rose also says he has a tattoo of a tree that represents his father who is a tree trimmer.
“My story goes through a young man, who really doesn’t understand himself, and doesn’t exactly know what he wants to do with himself and goes through his journey and right of passage”, said Rose.
His latest additions have been a Samoan shield and Olympic Rings. Rose says the shield represents his wife, Sam, whom he married after the Rio Games, and the rings represent his second chance at the Olympics.
“I wanted to do this a long time ago, but I really wasn’t proud of my performance, but I have learned throughout time, that it’s something to be proud of just getting there,” said Rose.
Rose says his tattoos serve as reminders of who he represents, and why he trains so hard to compete for a country he’s never lived in.
When Rose staps into the circle in Tokyo, he will once again wear the Samoan colors, determined to ink a triumphant chapter.