2020 TOKYO OLYMPICS: THE QUEST FOR GOLD AND HOPE
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the biggest show on Earth in these troubled times, officially kicked off as we put the paper to bed.
Despite the hustle and bustle of presswork, the management and staff found the time to join the millions of Filipinos in cheering and praying for the 19 Filipino athletes who all carry in their hearts the dream of bringing home the first ever Olympics gold medal for the country, despite the serious threats of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We could not agree more when respected sports analysts in the country claimed that some of the Filipino athletes to see action in the Tokyo Olympics have legitimate potentials for the gold medal in their respective sport disciplines. These athletes, after all, beat world-class athletes in past international events.
The Olympic gold has been a dream for generations now, as the country has been seeing a drought on medals for nearly a hundred years. And the hunger for that coveted gold has made that even more intense. Since the Philippines started sending its athletes to the Summer Olympics in 1924, the country has only won three silver and seven bronze medals.
It is disheartening to note that the first Southeast Asian nation to join and win a medal in the Summer Olympics in 1928 has been left behind by its neighbors in the Olympics medal tally, while Thailand haved won nine golds, eight silvers, and 16 bronze medals since it joined the Olympics in 1952.
To claim that our Filipino athletes are determined to win in the Olympics at all costs is a no-brainer, especially when past and present Filipino Olympians have set aside other priorities to focus on their training because of one goal – to bring home the elusive Olympics gold medal.
Despite the mammoth of issues and concerns every time our athletes are bound for international competitions, the government, through the Philippine Sports Commission-Philippine Olympic Committee, has, over the decades, been earnestly exerting an effort to motivate our athletes by offering a reward for every medal won.
Aside from the prestige that comes with the medal, a whopping P30 million cash will be rewarded this time to any of the 19 athletes who wins a gold, and P15M and P6M for silver and bronze medalists, respectively. These cash incentives will most likely be a game changer for any of the Filipino Olympians.
This year’s Summer Olympics is sentimental to most Cordillerans as our very own athlete, Kurt Barbosa of Bangued, Abra, will see action in the taekwondo event while Baguio students, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio, and Carlo Paalam, will compete in boxing. These athletes are following the footsteps of Cordilleran Olympians – the late judoka Jerry Dino of Baguio and long-distance runner Hector Begeo of Mountain Province, who is now residing in Australia.
It is our hope that the Filipino athletes can overcome the fear and anxiety brought about by the deadly Covid-19 variants and to take confidence that host country Japan and the International Olympic Committee are working hand-in-hand to keep every athlete and other participants safe from the virus.
The Tokyo Olympics is a much-needed moment of joy to break the period of dread that has dragged on too long. And with no certainty to its end, a joyful event may help the human spirit endure the challenge longer and move all nations forward towards winning the uphill battle against the pandemic, in a “Faster, Higher, Stronger” manner, as the Olympics motto goes.