Olympiad is veritable factory of all-time greats
By Al S. Mendoza
THE London Olympiad is on and the most common question I’ve been asked before the Games – and continue to be asked – is this: Are we going to finally win a medal?
It’s really hard to say whether we would win again or not in the Olympics.
By now, we must be fully convinced that it is hardest for not only us but for almost everyone to win an Olympic medal, especially the gold.
Only the best of the bests, the strongest of the strongest, and the greatest of the greatest, will scoop up the medals – especially the most coveted, which is none other than the gold.
And so, to state the obvious, the surefire bets to win will come from the US, China, Australia (swimming especially) and powerful European countries like Russia, Germany and host Great Britain.
After they have successfully stashed away the bulk of gold medals staked during the two-week Games, the also-rans like us will have to satisfy ourselves with crumbs, e.g., the bronze medals.
And mind you, if we win even just one bronze, that’d glisten more than gold already.
We have a total of 11 Olympians – 2 each in athletics, swimming and archery, and 1 each in boxing, shooting, judo, weightlifting and BMX cycling.
Our chances of winning are as nil as the chances of a Filipino to ever get to the NBA. The competition is so tough an Olympian must have Superman, if not Spider-man, powers to grab a medal of any make.
It is sad that the last time we won a medal was in 1996 yet, during the Atlanta Olympics, through Onyok Velasco.
We ended up empty-handed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, 2004 Beijing Olympics and 2008 Athens Olympics.
That’s how difficult it is to compete in the Olympics. It is the summit of everything in sports.
Velasco settled for the boxing silver after a courageous stand against a Bulgarian in the finals.
That was only the second silver medal for the country after the boxing silver in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics by Anthony Villanueva.
Actually, we’ve won two more Olympic medals in boxing prior to 1996.
Leopoldo Serrantes won a bronze in the 1988 Seoul Games and another bronze from Roel Velasco in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Our other Olympic medals – all bronze – came from Misters Toribio and Yldefonso in athletics in the pre-war Olympic editions.
The truth is, it is in boxing where we traditionally win medals. Filipinos are born boxers – seemingly. Thus, we pin so much of our hopes in London on boxer Mark Anthony Barriga. Only 19, Barriga has the maturity to win it.
The one good thing going for Barriga is, he convincing won the gold in China in the recent qualifying for the Olympiad.
However, that is no assurance he’d breeze through in London.
As I said, the Olympiad is where the best converge. It is the veritable factory of all-time greats.