There had been times when it seemed that the Tokyo Summer Olympics of 2020, which could not happen that year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, would simply be scrubbed altogether. But with a spirit of determination from the organizers despite significant opposition from the formerly-enthusiastic population, the Olympic Games were held as planned over two weeks from late July to early August. And despite the risk of pandemic spreader events, the events went off without drastic issues. The Philippine delegation can definitely be grateful for these Olympics, allowing national athletes to achieve or break some records before the closing ceremony.

As told by CNN Philippines, the Tokyo Summer Olympics came to a close this past Sunday, August 8. Overall it was a struggle for medal supremacy between the US and China, ending with the former beating the latter out in medal quantities (especially a one-gold lead) in a sobering reminder of tensions between the two countries. But Filipino Olympians could care less about that, especially after winning the country’s first gold medal. While said medalist, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, has already returned home, another female athlete carried the Philippine flag in the closing parade: first female boxer silver medalist Nesthy Petecio.

Between Hidilyn’s gold and Nesthy’s silver, Team PH for Tokyo 2020 would have already done much better than previous Olympic appearances. But the record for total medals won was pegged by the delegation to the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, with three bronze medals. Luckily, two other boxers would step up to break that milestone, with Eumir Marcial being the first Filipino boxer to win Olympic bronze since Roel Velasco in Barcelona 1992, while Carlo Paalam was the first to bring back a silver since Roel’s younger brother Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco in Atlanta of 1996.

In both quantity and quality with a gold medal, two silvers and a bronze, Team PH for Tokyo 2020 has definitely cemented itself as the new standard to beat in Philippine Olympic participation history. And even with the other hopefuls, who competed their best but could not advance to a podium finish, many are still young and looking forward to trying again at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, closer due to the one-year delay for Tokyo. The challenge now is not only to fulfill all incentive pledges given to the medalist by government and private sector, but to intensify training for them and other Olympic hopefuls, so as not to waste this great achievement.

Image courtesy of Yahoo News