Will Filipinos be able to learn anything from Hidilyn Diaz and the Olympics?

hidilyn diaz

Give credit where it is due. No doubt weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz took whatever training conditions she could get, worked her ass off as hard as possible, and put it all on the line when it counted. The result? She got a silver medal at the Rio Olympic games.

To this we say, congratulations!

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After celebrating, Ms. Diaz already has a future goal in mind: to get the gold at the next Olympics in 2020. She is already thinking of, “What’s Next?”.

The next question to ask is: What does the Philippines plan to do to support her goal?

Thing is, people learn not only from failure, but they should be able to learn from success as well. What conditions did Diaz train under? How do we replicate, and improve them? What are the current trends in the sport which she competes in? Where are the best coaches from, and how do we convince them to train our future talent? How can we replicate her success? How can we replicate…HER?

Hidilyn’s goal of going for gold will be a lot easier for her, and the Philippines, if she has a more extensive (and well-funded) support system. It would be nice if the government could assist, but with them, money’s usually a problem. If it boils down to assistance from the private sector, that’ll be good too.

The point is, Filipinos need to show that we’re there, every step of the way, with those who represent our country, and not just show up when they win and just take part in the celebrations.

What else can Filipinos take note of whenever the Olympics come around every 4 years? As someone pointed out on Twitter, perhaps Diaz’s (and Michael Phelps’) achievement should convince us to stop funding sports where we don’t have a chance of winning. Sports where Filipinos are genetically disadvantaged in height and weight (such as basketball, for starters) ought to be de-prioritized; instead, aim for the ones where those same genetic traits are much less of factors.

Speaking of Michael Phelps, everyone’s been talking about how Singaporean Joseph Schooling beat him for the gold in the individual race. As it turns out, Schooling had met Phelps when he was much younger, and had regarded the decorated swimmer as an idol. It is just as important to note that Phelps was ever the sportsman and was gracious in defeat.


Image courtesy: NBC News

Personally, what a cool story. All’s well that ends well, right?

Well, count on someone among Filipinos to spoil what was otherwise a very touching moment in the games, however. After news of Schooling’s win came out, local news outlets ran a story on Schooling’s nanny in Singapore, who happens to be Filipina.

Someone I know pointed out that such a story was supposed to highlight how nannies are seen as 2nd mothers, and how they serve as an inspiration and role model towards their wards.

Alas, however, the bitchy thing called context kicks in.

The impression that many readers and commentators got from the articles – and I believe rightfully so – was that it was trying to fit in Filipinos as partly, if not wholly, responsible for the success of Schooling, no matter how tenuous the connection may be. It’s not the first time it’s been done too; during the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong, a report was filed by GMA on how the protesters were raised by Filipino nannies, and thus supposedly got their politeness from them.

Such blatant display of attention-seeking, epal, and kulang sa pansin have no place in the mentality of those who want to be winners. They let their accomplishments do the talking and work for them.

If the Philippines can pull off another medal in the next games, and most especially if it’s gold, then what an accomplishment would that be. But, it requires hard work, discipline, and unsurprisingly, a desire to put quiet achievement over grandstanding.

Only time will tell whether the Philippines is indeed ready to win or not.

31 Replies to “Will Filipinos be able to learn anything from Hidilyn Diaz and the Olympics?”

  1. Congratulation to Miss Diaz on her success.

    The Filipinos are simply not attuned to, making themselves the best; and achieving the best.

    Their mindsets are focused on :EASY MONEY; how to get rich, by being corrupt; Shabu politics; and plain stupidity.

    When someone achieve the best; we are all surprised ! It is a stinking thinking and a stinking mindset ! Only in the Philippines ! We are weird people !

    1. Too right hyden. I’m sick of meeting people here who have a stupid scheme for getting rich next week (it usually either involves “borrowing” money from someone else, or giving all their money away to someone else to “invest”).

      I wonder how many long years Diaz trained for to get where she is today? I’m willing to bet it was longer than a week. What do we have to do to get Filipinos to understand: riches comes from hard work and dedication. The hard work is, in fact, part of the riches.

  2. The following is copied from the Dutch National Olympic Committee:
    A gold/silver/bronze medalist winner at the Olympics will get the following prize money:

    Gold: € 25,500 (twenty five thousand and 500 Euros)
    Silver: € 19,125
    Bronze: € 12,750

    This should only serve as an indication. Many countries pay (much) higher prizes to their winners of gold, silver and bronze.

  3. after the humiliating Olympics in 1976 in Montreal where Australia did not win a single gold medal, the Australian Institute for Sport was set up in Canberra for the express purpose of training athletes, and it has worked.
    why not here? it’s not about the money or the glory, it’s about changing the mindset, that winning at the highest level in sport is achievable, if we’re determined enough to do it.

  4. I hope the Philippine Department of Education starts incorporating sports in its curriculum, instead of overloading the students with non-essential academic courses (just to keep the students’ school schedules full) that won’t benefit them in the future.

    1. I’d rather the country promote science and math because we are already filled to the brim with starstruck wannabe Jordans and Pacquiaos.

      1. Nothing wrong with incorporating organized sports and athleticism in the country’s school system.

        If anything sports will help balance the overbearing academic demands and prevent the Filipino from being too “cranial,” (too smart for their own good, or, at least they think they are), and allow some of that “mental steam” out through physical exertion; and they’ll stay healthy at the same time.

        By the way, I would add English (the correct usage, that is, and not the Tag-lish version) to your Science and Math suggestion. Regardless of how educated Filipinos are, their usage of the English language still sucks.

  5. Take it from Michael Keon whose Gintong Alay brought honor to the country in the 80’s when he said recently; “I know the worth of the Filipino athlete and I know the PRESENT SYSTEM is not worth the Filipino athlete. And despite being perennially let down by the SYSTEM, the Filipino athlete still manages to shine through.”

    So here are the corroded mindsets of termites, leeches, sharks and barnacles that continue to prevail in the sports SYSTEM:
    1. Corrupt sports officials clinging to their posts from 1986 till now.
    2. Lack of genuine comprehensive grassroots identification and development program.
    3. Thumbing down of achievers from rural grassroots because they don’t represent the elite and the famous.
    4. Continuous reliance in searching the world for Fil-Ams, Fil-Aussies, Fil-Brits, Fil-This and Fil-That who can also become instant media celebrities or movie stars and represent the myopic notion that a Filipino hybrid is the best representative of this nation in terms of excellency in everything. (pardon me for the pun)

    Ironically, the nation had somehow succeeded in producing medals and honors through the sweat, blood and tears of the OFW’s by achieving Gintong Alalay with their remittances that was exploited by the same corrupt tradpols, even drug lords and protectors.

    Perhaps the pestering question that must not remain unanswered will be; When will the bright future for the Philippine Sports comes?

    1. I’m still amazed that Peping Cojuangco is still the POC president. Seriously, our performance in the SEA games has consistently remained mediocre ever since he took over. Worst is that our Asian Games medal count in 2014 was only a single gold medal. How is he still in his position?

      1. Old Oligarchs (i.e., Peping Cojuangco) never die; they just get a transfusion by sucking the life and blood out of society.

  6. I was a lot like those people you mentioned once upon a time. But then I came to my senses and realized that my own victories, no matter how small, are far more satisfying!

    1. I facepalmed on both the nanny story and the one raised by spin. I congratulate Joseph Schooling for winning a gold for Singapore and that’s it.

  7. If many Filipinos have such a national insecurity, that they need to live through a celebrity’s achievements, they will never learn to develop the inner-drive to achieve on their own. The whole country coming to a close when Pacquiao fights is an example of this. The collective lack of work ethic and desire to strive to one’s potential is not helped by Pacquiao. This young woman worked hard, very hard, and you would think this would inspire young Filipinos to do the same. I think people there are so beaten down into serving their parents for the rest of their lives, they never learn the idea of personal goals.

    In the Philippines there seems to be a major lack of personal initiative and work ethic; many don’t have goals. People just attach themselves to one of a handful of Filipino celebrities, and cheer them on. This, in my opinion, explains the lack of progress there.

  8. Here’s an interesting trivia: Hidilyn and the weightlifting team’s budget were slashed before the start of the event.

    This really shows you the sad state of our sports programs. The truth is that there are so many sporting disciplines where we can win a gold medal. It doesn’t have to be in Basketball, Volleyball, Handball, Football, etc. These are spectator sports and require a great amount of investment–money and time. Just to name a few: Archery, shooting, weightlifting, boxing, cycling, and badminton. With the right grassroots program, money, training, and exposure to high-level competition, we increase our chances.

  9. Training and discipline can only do so much, we need more “genetically engineered” high-breeds like Jasmine Alkhaldi (half-Saudi Arabian) and Eric Cray (half-African American).

    Really tired of having scroll down to the bottom of the medal tally list every Olympic Season. Take a tip from the beauty contest field.

    Take note: even “Schooling” sounds like he’s a hybrid Singaporean himself.

        1. Just saying that “genetically engineering” superhumans is way beyond the scope of PH technology, much less being ethically sound. We’d be worse off than the Russians and their state doping business.

        2. Forte, “genetic engineering” in quotes simply means doing the 100m butterfly stroke without the water.

          Look, if Michael Phelps married Nancy Binay, then we’ll have a Pinoy superhuman Olympic-class swimmer as soon as 4 Olympic seasons later.

          Some strategic planning is needed if PH is really serious about this. No amount of inbreeding will make Pinoys any taller, or more agile, flexible and muscular. Why are the fastest runners in the world dominated by blacks ? –> genetics.

        3. Breeding the best “genes” means squat if the environment that is subjected to it is under par. Like Marius mentioned, a comprehensive and well funded athletics program is far more important and within reach than trying to create that desired human mold. There are a lot of potential Filipinos who can benefit from real coaching and good equipment all born and ready in the country.

        4. Yes, all the factors need to be present to produce Olympians. Marius mentioned the Kenyans. Both their hardware (genes) and software (mindset) are optimal for excelling at their chosen sport – running.

          Then comes the environment, equipment and coaching. All need to come together to create a venue/atmosphere conducive for proper training of body and mind. In a way Olympians are both born and made – born with the right genetic makeup and made to endure the pain and discipline of training on a world-class level.

          The same goes for international beauty pageants. You need BOTH beauty and brains to win. So choose your spouse-to-be well, and ensure they meet the items in your checklist, IF you want to produce superior offspring. When kids complain about being too short to play basketball – it’s the mother’s fault.

  10. At the 3rd UN Assembly, held in Paris in 1948, the USSR foreign minister Andrei Vishinsky sneered at the then UN secretary general Carlos P. Romulo and challenged his credentials: “You are just a litlle man from a little country.” Sec. Romulo replied, “It is the duty of the little Davids of this world to fling the pebble of truth in the eyes of the blustering Goliaths and force them to behave!”

    Paeng Nepomuceno showed that a Filipino can do it. Manny Pacquiao made it real in international boxing and got our nod.

    Will the next little Filipino David in sports please stand up?

    1. Sorry about this but was Carlos P. Romulo U.N. secretary-general? I think he was President of the UN General Assembly but that was only one of the six organs of the U.N. organization and not the whole United Nations. He was a candidate for the secretary-general position but didn’t win. Local history books tend to confuse his position in the U.N.

      Anyways, I do agree with what Romulo said before. We need more people like him today. There’s plenty of ‘Davids’ living in the Philippines right now…but not many have the balls to topple a Goliath.

  11. So, Vietnam and Singapore finally get their first medal in Olympic. They can now join Thailand and Indonesia
    When will Philippine’s turn 🙁

    1. Gonna be waiting a really long time for that..or maybe in the next games. I mean in the NBA..Cleveland had a really long drought before taking the championship right?

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