Filipino Olympic Medalists
Filipino Olympic medalists refer to Filipinos who have won Olympic medals since the Philippines first participated in the Olympic Games in 1924 in Paris, France. Although it is the dream of any athlete to win an Olympic gold, Filipino athletes have so far, been unable to win that elusive first gold medal in the games. The country, however, has come close to achieving that historic feat, twice – both in boxing. But each time, the ultimate goal would slip out of the hands of the Filipino athletes.
As of the end of the 2004 Athens Olympics, the Philippines has won a total of nine medals – two silvers and seven bronzes – in the history of its participation in regular Olympic sports. Regular Olympic sports are sporting events included as regular or official events in the quadrennial games and the medals are counted in the official medal tally. Of the Philippines' total medal output, boxing would account for 2 silvers and 3 bronzes, track and field with two bronzes, and swimming also with two bronzes.
However, three Filipinos have also won medals in two sporting events in two separate Olympics. Their medals, though, were not counted for the Philippines and in the official medal tally of the games because the sports were, during that time, either exhibition or demonstration events. Exhibition and demonstration sports are sporting events that are in the process of being introduced or tried out in the Olympics. At the 1988 Seoul Olympics in South Korea, Arianne Cerdeña won a gold medal in the exhibition sport of bowling. Four years later, at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in Spain, Stephen Fernandez and Beatriz Lucero-Lhuillier won a bronze medal each in the demonstration sport of taekwondo. But exhibition / demonstration sports or not, these medals are still cherished by Filipinos as genuine proof that Filipinos can compete in sports at the highest possible level.
Leading to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing,China, Filipinos are still nurturing the hope that the quest for the elusive Olympic gold would now come to an end. As it is, the total number of medals of the Philippines in the Olympics would pale in comparisson with, at the very least, other Asian countries. But however paltry that medal haul is, they have become part of the Philippines' national treasure. And the Filipinos who persevered to bring home those medals are recognized and remembered as a source of pride, inspiration, and hope of a grateful people and nation.
In chronological order, the following Filipinos stand above others as the only Olympic medalists – so far – of the Philippines. The country is still nurturing the hope that at the end of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, several Filipinos would have been added to this elite list.
(to access the knowledge database on Filipino Olympic Medalists, click Filipino Olympic Medalists link)
Regular Olympic sports
- Teofilo Yldefonso
- Simeon Toribio
- Jose Villanueva
- Miguel White
- Anthony Villanueva
- Leopoldo Serrantes
- Roel Velasco
- Mansueto Velasco