Astonishing Many Firsts for Team Philippines in Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Last Updated on August 18, 2021 by OJ Maño

What a performance by the Filipino athletes in this Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This is undoubtedly the best finish of Team Philippines in all of the Olympics since 1924. We hope to build on this success as we look forward to the 2024 Olympics in Paris. We are definitely not yet done, and we are just getting started. The Philippines will definitely be faster, higher, and stronger!

Maraming salamat atletang Pinoy! Go Team Philippines!

Many Firsts for Team Philippines in Tokyo 2020 Olympics

1st Official Gold Medal

Hidilyn Diaz
Hidilyn Diaz Podium Finish

After 97 years, the Philippines won its first gold medal courtesy of Hidilyn Diaz in women’s weightlifting. The nation shed its dubious distinction of being the most bemedalled nation without a gold medal with Diaz’s Olympic record-setting exploits.

Before Hidilyn Diaz, the Philippines already gained its first-ever Olympic gold medal won by Arianne Cerdeña at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. Although bowling is a demonstration sport and her gold medal is not counted in the official medal tally, she deserves to be recognized for her achievement.

1st Female Boxer Silver Medalist and the most Olympic Medals produced by Philippine Boxing Team

Nesthy Petecio
Nesthy Petecio

Our boxing team produced three medals more than making up for coming up empty-handed in the last five Olympics. Our boxers won two silvers, courtesy of Nesthy Petecio (women’s featherweight) and Carlo Paalam (men’s flyweight), and one bronze, courtesy of Eumir Marcial (men’s middleweight), highlighting the nation’s most bountiful harvest surpassing the three bronze medals we won in the Los Angeles 1932 Olympics.

The first time was in 1964, also in Tokyo, when Anthony Villanueva won the silver medal in the Men’s Featherweight division of Boxing. He’s the only medalist in the region at that time.

1st Time to lead the medal tally in the Southeast Asian Region since 1952

Since 1952, this is the 2nd time the Philippines lead the medal tally in the Southeast Asian Region. The Philippines first competed in the Olympic Games in 1924 in Paris, making it the first country from Southeast Asia to compete and, later in 1928, win a medal.

At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Philippine team is the strongest delegation the Southeast Asian nation ever sent to the Olympic Games. They are composed of 19 athletes competing in gymnastics, boxing, athletics, weightlifting, taekwondo, shooting, golf, skateboarding, and swimming. In fact, it is the first time for most athletes to compete in the Olympics. Nevertheless, they have made their marks on world championships and Olympics qualifiers.

Best Performance by Team Philippines so far

While our other athletes failed to medal, they nevertheless made us proud.

Despite The Philippines only sending a small group of 19 athlete participants, all are highly competitive and the best so far in the history of The Philippines. The US has won 113 medals out of 613 athletes it sent to Tokyo for an 18% conversion rate. For Team Philippines, we sent 19 athletes and won 4 medals. This means we have a 21% conversion rate which is pretty good.

Team Philippines

Read 19 Fearless Filipino Athletes to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Carlos Yulo finished a strong fourth in the vault finals. Our kababayan, Yuka Saso, tied for ninth in women’s golf with a ten under par score (the reigning US Open’s champion finished 13 under in the last three rounds). EJ Obiena is the lone Asian in the pole vault finals and should continue to improve. Margielyn Didal ranked seventh in women’s skateboarding. Elreen Ando finished seventh in women’s weightlifting.

Read Bulakenya Yuka Saso wins 2021 U.S. Women’s Open

List of Filipino Athletes who are Olympic Medallists

12 Filipino athletes (so far) have won an Olympic medal for the country ever since we first joined the quadrennial international multi-sport event in 1924. We have won a combined 1 gold, 5 silver, and 8 bronze medals for the Philippines.

OlympicsSports EventMedalName
Tokyo 2020 Olympics Weightlifting – Women’s 55 kg Gold Hidilyn Diaz
Tokyo 2020 Olympics Boxing – Women’s featherweight SilverNesthy Petecio
Tokyo 2020 Olympics Boxing – Men’s flyweightSilverCarlo Paalam
Tokyo 2020 Olympics Boxing – Men’s middleweightBronzeEumir Marcial
Rio 2016 Summer OlympicsWeightlifting – Women’s 53 kgSilverHidilyn Diaz
Atlanta 1996 Summer OlympicsBoxing – Men’s light-flyweightSilverMansueto “Onyok” Velasco Jr.
Barcelona 1992 Summer OlympicsBoxing – Men’s light-flyweightBronzeRoel Velasco
1988 Seoul Summer OlympicsBoxing – Men’s light-flyweightBronzeLeopoldo Serantes
1964 Tokyo Summer OlympicsBoxing – Men’s featherweightSilverAnthony Villanueva
1936 Berlin Summer OlympicsAthletics – Men’s 400-meter hurdlesBronzeMiguel S. White
Los Angeles 1932 Summer OlympicsBoxing – Men’s bantamweightBronzeJosé Luis Villanueva
Los Angeles 1932 Summer OlympicsAthletics – Men’s high jumpBronzeSimeon Galvez Toribio 
Los Angeles 1932 Summer OlympicsSwimming – 200-meter breaststrokeBronzeTeófilo E. Yldefonso
Amsterdam 1928 Summer OlympicsSwimming – 200-meter breaststrokeBronzeTeófilo E. Yldefonso
List of Filipino Olympic Medalists

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