- The ongoing 2016 Rio Olympics is an avenue for athletes all over the world to showcase what they’ve got in their respective sports
- Hidilyn Diaz, a Filipina, recently won a silver medal- ending the 20-year drought for the Philippines in the Olympics
- Nine Filipino athletes have already brought glory and pride to the Philippines in the Olympics as they showed true their true Filipino spirit in the field of boxing, weightlifting, athletics, and swimming
Athletes all over the world are all aiming to bring home the glory as they compete in the Olympic Games held every four years. Just like every country, the Philippines also prepares its best athletes in hopes of bagging awards that bring pride to the country. The Philippines began participating in the games in the 1924 Summer Olympics held at Paris, France.
With the recent winning of Pinay athlete Hidilyn Diaz at the women’s weightlifting category, many of us, Filipinos, are truly proud that she ended the long drought in the history of the country’s participation in the Olympics. Meanwhile, many of us are wondering: who are the other Filipino athletes who bagged awards in the Olympic games?
Here are the nine Filipino athletes who won in the Olympic Games:
1. Teófilo E. Yldefonso is the first Filipino and first Southeast Asian to win an Olympic medal. He won a bronze medal in the men’s 200 meter breastroke in the 1928 Summer Olympic games held in Netherlands. Yldefonso got another bronze medal in the same category in the 1932 Summer Olympic games held in the United States. The international Swimming Federation named him as part of the Hall of Fame in 2009.
2. Simeon Toribio represented the Philippines in the men’s high jump event and won a bronze medal in the 1932 Summer Olympics held in the United States. Toribio could have won the gold medal if not for the “call of nature” he felt during the competition. He made the first jump but failed to overcome the second because of the certain agony. Still, Toribio brought glory to the country with his victory.
3. José Luis Villanueva, also known as “Cely” from Binondo, won another bronze medal for the Philippines in the men’s bantamweight event in the 1932 Olympic games. Villanueva continued his career as a boxing trainer and one of his trainees was Gabriel “Flash” Elorde.
4. Miguel White, a Filipino track and field athlete with an American blood, represented the Philippines in the men’s 400 meter hurdles and eventually bagged the third place- winning a bronze medal for the Philippines in the 1936 Summer Olympic games held in Germany. Aside from being a great athlete, White was a patriot who died for the country while fighting against Japanese occupation.
5. Anthony Villanueva followed the steps of his father José Luis Villanueva and won the first silver medal for the Philippines in the men’s featherweight event in the 1964 Olympic games in Japan. He was defeated by Soviet boxer in the gold medal match in which the 3-2 controversial decision was booed by the crowd.
6. Leopoldo Serantes competed at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and won the bronze medal in the men’s light flyweight division. Serantes’ victory ended the drought for the Philippines who last bagged a medal at the 1964 Olympics.
7. Roel Velasco won a bronze medal for the country in the men’s light flyweight event in the 1992 Olympic games held in Barcelona, Spain. After competing in the Olympics, he won a silver medal at the 1997 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Hungary and the first Filipino to win a medal in the Goodwill Games in the 1998 New York edition. Velasco now serves as Petty Officer First Class in the Philippine Navy.
8. Mansueto Velasco won the silver medal in the men’s light flyweight boxing category in the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Georgia. Also known as Onyok, Velasco is the younger brother of Roel Velasco, a Filipino medalist in the Olympics. After his career as a boxer, Velasco entered the showbiz industry as a comedian appearing in several sitcoms.
9. Hidilyn Diaz is the first Filipina athlete to ear an Olympic medal by winning the silver medal for the country and the first Filipino to win an award in the weightlifting category. After 20 years, Diaz finally brought the name of the Philippine on the stage once again.
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