Philippines Olympic Gold: A Brief History

This is truly a historic time for Filipinos. You’ve seen the news. The amazing Hidilyn Diaz is the first Filipino to ever win gold in the almost 100 years since we joined the Olympics. And recently, Nesthy Petecio‘s Silver in her category was an extremely close match. But did you know that this is the first time since 1932 that we’ll actually finish with multiple medalists in the Olympics? Here’s a brief history of the quest of the Philippines for Olympic Gold, and the amazing Athletes who brought glory to our country.

Breaking all the Records

The last time we had these many medalists was in 1932, in the Los Angeles Games. We won three bronze medals courtesy of our amazing athletes, Simeon Toribio (Athletics), Jose Villanueva (Boxing – Bantamweight), and Teofilo Yldefonso (Swimming).

It’s interesting to note that Yldefonso is actually the first Filipino to ever win an Olympic medal, as he bagged the bronze in the 1928 Amsterdam games. This also makes him the first Filipino to ever win back to back medals, as he again won bronze in 1932.

And then, in 2021, here come our Olympic Heroes, breaking all the records. Aside from Hidilyn and Nesthy, as of this writing, boxer Eumir Marcial bagged a bronze in the middleweight category. Another Filipino boxer, Carlo Paalam, is assured of silver and gets a shot for gold in the flyweight category.

These 4 medals breaks our previous record of 3 medals in 1932. And we’re not done yet – our delegates are still in the running to win more! Golfers Bianca Pagdanganan and Yuka Saso have unfinished events.

‘Golden Girl’ – first Olympic Gold in 97 years

Tokyo 2020 is definitely a banner year for us, as the Philippines’ Olympic Gold quest spanning almost a century was finally fulfilled by Hidilyn Diaz. It was 97 years ago, in the Paris 1924 Olympics, that the Philippines joined the Olympics. That’s how impactful Hidilyn’s victory truly is.

The Philippines has only managed to win 10 medals from 1928 (Amsterdam) to 2016 (Rio):

  • Amsterdam 1928 – Teofilo Yldefonso (Swimming): bronze
  • Los Angeles 1932 – Teofilo Yldefonso (Swimming): bronze; Simeon Toribio (Athletics): bronze; Jose Villanueva (Boxing): bronze
  • Berlin 1936 – Miguel White (Athletics): bronze
  • Tokyo 1964 – Anthony Villanueva (Boxing): silver
  • Seoul 1988 – Leopoldo Serantes (Boxing): bronze
  • Barcelona 1992- Roel Velasco (Boxing): bronze
  • Atlanta 1996 – Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco (Boxing): silver
  • Rio 2016 – Hidilyn Diaz (Weightlifting): silver

And as of this writing, two more athletes join this illustrious list, bringing the total to 12:

  • Tokyo 2020 – Hidilyn Diaz (Weightlifting): gold; Nesthy Petecio (Boxing): silver

RELATED: PH Sports: A Worthy Investment

Interesting to note that Boxing seems to really be our sport, as evidenced by our multiple Olympic medalists in those events!

These are truly exciting times, based on our unprecedented performance in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Congratulations to our athletes, and thank you for showing the world the best of what Filipinos can do!

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