Going Home With Gold: 2021 Tokyo Olympics
After a year of postponement, the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo was finally allowed to commence. While it was initially meant to be held July 29 to August 4, 2020, the recent pandemic had it postponed until this year’s July 28 until August 8. And like many other countries, the Philippines was very excited to send their team of athletes to compete in hopes of bringing home medals.
For this year, the country sent 19 athletes (10 women and 9 men) to compete in 11 different sports. This year in particular is also the country’s best performance since the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, with a new record of four Olympic medals. Among these four, the country now has its first gold and silver medals.
But instead of just celebrating those who only brought home medals, this article will look at all the amazing Philippine Olympians who competed this last month.
Luke Gebbie and Remedy Rule
In this competition, the swimmers must finish in the fastest time while covering the specified distance using the chosen stroke (freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, or butterfly). Gebbie competed for the Men’s 50 and 100-meter freestyle while Rule competed for the Women’s 100 and 200 meter butterfly.
For this event, there are three main disciplines which include rifle, pistol, and shotgun. Rifle and pistol is shot from a stationary position while the shotgun is done with moving targets. For rifle and pistol, the shooter’s goal would be to hit the center of the target. The closer you are to it, the more points you earn. There are four gun types used and three distances to be fired from. This includes the 50 meter rifle, 10 meter air rifle, 25 meter rapid pistol, and 10 meter air pistol. Valdez competed for the Men’s 10 meter air rifle competition.
Judo is the sport of taking down one’s opponent in either one of three ways: throw the opponent to the ground, subdue them using a pinning hold, or force them to submit with a joint lock. Matches are won based on a point system with “Ippon” earning the highest amount of points. Watanabe competed for the Women’s 63 kg in Judo against Cristina Cabaña of Spain.
For rowing, it is the action of propelling a boat using oars across a 2000 meter distance in a straight line. In this sport, the rowers are meant to sit with their back facing the direction the boat is going. There are two main types of rowing: sculling which involves holding an oar in each hand and sweeping which involves holding the oar with two hands. Sculling events can include single, double, or quadruple sculls while sweeps can be by pairs, fours, or eights. Nievarez competed for the Men’s single sculls in rowing. He placed 23rd overall.
Kristina Marie Knott and EJ Obiena
Knott competed in the Women’s 200 meters in track and field. Obiena competed in the Men’s Pole Vault and finished 11th overall in the finals.
Artistic gymnastics is one of the three disciplines of Gymnastics. For men, there are 6 main events, namely, floor, vault, pommel horse, horizontal bar, parallel bars, and rings. While for women there are four events which are vault, floor, uneven bar, and beam.
Yulo participated in the Men’s All-Around and Vault portion of Gymnastics. He finished by ranking fourth overall in the Vault finals.
Skateboarding is where the participant is meant to perform types of tricks using the apparatus: jumps (ollies), flips, and mid-air spins. In this sport, there are two types of events: park and street for both men and women.
A relatively new addition to the roster of Olympic sports, Didal became the first Filipino to compete in this event. Participating in the Women’s Street for Skateboarding, she finished 7th place out of 20.
Juvic Pagunsan, Bianca Pagdanganan, and Yuka Saso
For golf, the athletes are supposed to hit a ball into a hole using a variety of clubs while also counting the number of strokes it would take to get it into the hole. While there are two types of matches in golf, stroke play is used in the games. Stroke play is where the competitors are playing four rounds of 18 holes over four days. And at the end, the total number of shots taken are counted. Pagunsan competed for Men’s and Pagdanganan and Saso competed for the Women’s Division.
Irish Magno, Eumir Marcial, Carlo Paalam, and Nesthy Petecio
Boxing is the sport of two athletes facing each other in the ring with the goal to be the first to land a blow on the head and torso on their opponent. Boxers are also divided by weight class with men having eight (from flyweight up until super heavy) and women having five categories (from flyweight to middle).
Magno competed for Women’s flyweight and made it until the Round of 16. Marcial competed in Men’s middleweight and finished with a bronze medal. Paalam and Petecio competed in Men’s flyweight and Women’s featherweight respectively, and both ended up taking home the Philippines’ first silver medals for boxing.
Erleen Ando and Hidilyn Diaz
Weightlifting is where the lifter is meant to raise a bar with weights above their head for a set amount of time. In the Olympics, there are two kinds of lifts: snatch (where it is lifted from floor to above head in one motion) and clean and jerk (where the bar is raised to the chest and then jerked upwards above the head). Each athlete is to perform each lift three times and their score is determined by the sum of the highest weights lifted for each.
Ando participated in the Women’s 64 kg and placed 9th for snatch, 8th for clean and jerk and placed 7th overall. Then Diaz placed 2nd for snatch, 1st for clean and jerk, and then placed 1st overall – securing the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal.
Overall, the nineteen Olympians, while not all medal wearing victors, are still very much winners in the hearts of the Filipinos who cheered them on as they competed. To become an athlete is a lifelong commitment not only in the grueling hours of training but in the mentality accepting that the journey will come with many wins and losses.
While this will not be the last Olympics where the Philippines will compete, we should all still congratulate and give praise to the athletes who not only broke records this year but to those who continually inspire and pave the way for the future of Filipino Olympians.