YEHEY!!! This is Philippines’ best-ever finish at the Olympics: one very elusive gold medal, two silvers and a bronze. YIPEE!!!

Everybody loves a winner. That is clear in the accolades being heaped on our Olympic medalists, along with the astronomical cash, real estate and other prizes being bestowed on them. The cash prizes alone run into the millions, and if actually delivered, would make some of our Olympic medalists instant millionaires. That makes these Games the richest for Filipino athletes.

And they deserve it, and more.

Our performance in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, delayed a year by the Coronavirus pandemic, is noteworthy for several reasons, foremost of which is that it gave us our first Olympic gold medal, courtesy of Hidilyn Diaz.

Then there is the fact that this is our richest Olympic medal harvest – 1 gold, 2 silvers, 1 bronze. While boxer Carlo Paalam’s loss to a bigger Briton with longer reach in the men’s flyweight final was heartbreaking as he was so near a gold, his silver medal was still a great accomplishment.

Filipina golf bets Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan simply did not get the breaks in women’s gold, but that does not detract from their previous great accomplishment in international women’s golf.

Prior to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, our biggest Olympic medal haul was in 1932 when we won three bronzes. In the years 1936, 1964, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2016, we won one medal each for a total of three bronzes and three silvers, including Diaz’s silver in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Also noteworthy is that two of our top performers – Diaz and boxer/silver medalist Nesthy Petecio – are women. “Hidilyn, Nesthy and Margielyn broke barriers not just in sport but for all women who were told they can’t,” wrote Anna Cristina Tuazon in her column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Wednesday, August 4. The third name she mentioned was that of Margielyn Didal, a skateboarder who failed to win a medal but made waves in Tokyo because of her spunk. She made it to the finals despite an injured ankle.

Adding to our exhilaration is the fact that the three medals won by our boxers – two silvers and a bronze – make this Philippine boxing’s best Olympic season.

Furthermore, Diaz not only gave us our first Olympic gold medal but she also broke two Olympic records in the process.

Also significant is that Petecio is the first Filipina to win an Olympic medal in boxing

Diaz and Paalam dethroned reigning olympic champions, making their victories so much sweeter.

Also worth mentioning is that all of our four medalists are from Mindanao. The Land of Promise is living up to its name!

Most noteworthy of all is the prize money our medalists stand to pocket.

Take Hidillyn Diaz, who gave our country its first-ever gold medal in the nearly 100 years we have been competing in the Summer Olympics. She stands to take home P43.5 million in cash, and much, much more in real estate and other prizes – all tax free by virtue of RA10699.

Nesthy Petecio, the first Filipina to win an Olympic medal in boxing, stands to receive at least P17 million in cash and other prizes for her silver. Also promised her are a house and lot and a P10-million condominium unit in Davao City. She too will get 60,000 air miles of free travel per year for life from Philippine Airlines. Paalam’s prizes can’t be far off.

Bronze medalist Eumir Marcial stands to get a little less than that.

On top of all that, the Philippine Olympic Committee announced just recently that each of the 15 Filipino athletes who did not win any medals will receive P500,000 from the MVP Foundation. Moreover, athletes who have broken Philippine national records during the Tokyo Games, such as gymnast Caloy Yulo, weightlifter Elreen Ando and swimmer Luke Gebbie, will get P250,000 from the Philippine Sports Commission.

This is not bad at all, and there is no doubt in my mind that we do love winners. But what is it in our culture that makes us value winners so much more than ensuring we develop a lot more of them? If we were as generous – and I am referring to government sports agencies – in providing for the training needs of our athletes, we would surely reap more victories in international sporting competitions.

It is heartwarming that the Philippine Sports Commission has spent substantial sums of money to prepare our athletes for the Olympics. For instance, it is clear it hired and paid for the services of Diaz’s Chinese coach, Gao Kaiwen, and underwrote some of her training expenses.

But the help it extended did not cover everything. At some point, Diaz complained she was going through a lot of difficulty especially as she was stranded in Malaysia for nearly two years because of the Coronavirus pandemic. She acknowledged the commission helped out in paying for some of her board and lodging while in Malaysia but she felt embarrassed each time she had to ask for assistance.

It is safe to assume that the Philippine Sports Commission and some big corporations shouldered the training expenses of the other athletes.

I just hope our medalists get to receive all the prizes they were promised. Boxer Onyok Velasco says he has not received some of the prizes promised him, including P2.5 million pledged by the Philippine Congress.

Be that as it may, our athletes’ most performances, the greater support given them by the government and big business indicate that Phjilippine sports may indeed be entering a renaissance.


Miguel Suarez


Miguel C. Suarez’s professional career spans more than 50 years in journalism and public relations. In his last semester in college, he sought and found work at Agence France-Presse. He was eventually invited to join The Associated Press where he rose to become news editor at its Manila bureau. He was also a desk editor at the Philippine Daily Inquirer for nearly 10 years until 2015. He pioneered the practice of Investor Relations in the Philippines while working for San Miguel Corp. He also taught journalism, communication and public relations at Lyceum of the Philippine University.

What is your reaction?

In Love
Not Sure

You may also like

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *