July 19, 2024

Two events of significance transpired on July 26, 2021. On this date, President Rodrigo R. Duterte delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA). On the same date, Hidilyn Diaz delivered an Olympic gold medal for the country.
Both are memorable for various yet opposite reasons. The SONA of Duterte is his last while the gold medal of Diaz is her first. The former brought tears into our eyes because of the uncertainty of what was said while the latter made us cry out of sheer pride and joy.
The speech of the President contained accomplishments that cannot be verified but that of Diaz was validated in our presence. While we do not share the enthusiasm that the SONA promises, we savor the Olympic victory of our weightlifter. It is as monumental as it is historic. People will be talking about it in the years to come. On the other hand, the SONA of the President will be forgotten a soon as he steps down from office.
Under normal conditions, the SONA of the President would have been scrutinized and/or criticized right after it was spoken. The protests would have created an array of opinions that border from praise to blasphemy to sacrilege, depending on whether one is a critic or a supporter. However, thanks to the gold medal of Diaz, the negative impact of the SONA weakened. One thing is for certain though. Had Duterte known while speaking on the podium that the country earned its very first gold medal in the Olympics, he would have mentioned it and caused a stir by claiming equal credit for it.
Who cares if the President claims credit for the victory of Diaz? Who cares if all Filipinos shall claim credit for it? I think it is only right that all of us share the glory and the highlight of the very first Olympic gold medal won in behalf of the Philippines. After all, the country and its people waited for such a long time to taste this kind of success in the Olympics.
According to the Olympics almanac, the Philippines first participated in the Olympics in 1924. Before Diaz hit the gold, the country has so far earned three silver medals and several bronze medals. The absence of any gold medal for 97 years is like a drought that had all of us yearning for it. Now that it fell, even if only a trickle, it quenched our thirst. It broadened our prospects and made us proud to be Pinoys.
That the Philippines never had any golden moments in any Olympics made our athletes and our people look like piddling compared to other nationals. It gave us some sort of inferiority complex, so to speak. Thus, when Diaz successfully lifted the barbell, all 224 kilograms of it to produce an Olympic record, she lifted, as well, the years of failures and frustrations that the country experienced in its campaign. The winning lift gave truth to what we believed that “Yes, the Filipino can.”
Whereas before, we encouraged one another to “go for the gold.” We need not say these words anymore because finally we “got the gold.” Thank God for this. May there be more to come now and in the future.