What do the Olympics remind us?

By : RAI Bollozos Sanchez Mindanao Today/07:44:40pm 08/09/2021


THE Philippines has been a regular participant in the quadrennial games and this year’s Olympiad; four out of nineteen contingents gathered our first gold medal, two silvers, and a bronze.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been the most remarkable performance by our Filipino athletes since we joined the summer games in 1924.

It even surpasses the three bronze medals from the 1932 Olympics.

We achieved fourteen medals, breaking it into one gold, five silver, and eight bronze medals.

If we break it down, further narrowing it, six from boxing, two from weightlifting, two from swimming, and one from athletics.

Aside from the numbers, have we ever realized where did these medals come from? All of them came from individual events.

What do the Olympics remind us?

Three things? First, we have an excellent resource in the individual events; second, our grassroots program should also focus; third, if we invest more in building the athletic programs in the peripheries, we can produce a resilient pool of Filipino athletes.

Looking back in our history, our success in the Olympics came from individual sports.

The first bronze medal came from a breaststroke swimmer, Teofilo Yldefonso, who ranked third at the 200-meter breaststroke during the 1928 and 1932 Olympics.

Our first and only (sought after) gold medal came from SSgt Hidilyn Diaz from the Philippine Airforce.

Throughout time, our medal tally tells us the vast athletic resource in the individual events.

Unfortunately, sporting events concentrate in highly urbanized areas in many instances, and there are fewer in the provinces and municipalities.

Thus, there is less exposure to our athletes, and if there are sporting events, it is more effort invested in basketball or volleyball.

There are tons of potential athletes ranging from athletics to weightlifting waiting to be discovered. Unfortunately, these aspirants do not have enough resources nor exposure to compete.

Second, understanding that we potentially could produce world-class athletes in individual sports, investing more to capacitating them from the grassroots reminds us to capitalize more from the moment these kids immerse into sports.

Let us take Carlo Paalam, for example, setting aside politics. When he was roughly ten years old, he was a product of then Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar S. Moreno’s Amateur Boxing Program.

And the program continued when the latter became the mayor of Cagayan de Oro.

Through it, Carlo developed into the boxer we know now and, in return, favored us with a silver Olympic medal in the light flyweight division.

Thus, if we invest more in building the athletic programs in the peripheries, we can produce a resilient pool of Filipino athletes.

Our athletes showing in this year’s Olympiad reminds us of promising grassroots sports.

If we invest more into it and have our young athletes get much exposure other than the usual, having more than four medals is not far from reality.

We often demand much from our athletes without realizing that we have not invested right from the start.

Cultivating these athletes goes beyond the incentives and the pride they bring after.

It is the investment for these athletes that give the true meaning of nurturing them.

Providing a suitable facility and exposure is worth more than the accolades they will receive after their victory.

What do the Olympics teach us?

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