The Philippines first sent athletes to compete at the Olympic Games in 1924, making it the first country to compete and win a medal in Southeast Asia. The nation has competed at every Summer Olympic Games since then, except when they participated in the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics. Filipino athletes have also competed at the Winter Olympic Games on three different occasions since 1972, but not since 1994. The Philippines is the first nation in the tropics to ever participate in the Winter Olympic Games. (Source: Wikipedia) The country has yet to win a gold medal 88 years after its Olympic debut.
The current total is 2 Silvers and 7 bronze medals. Our most successful participation was in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics were we got three medals: all bronze, courtesy of Simeon Toribio (high jump), Teofilo Yldefonso (swimming, men’s 200m breastroke) and Jose Villanueva (boxing, bantamweight).
- Jose Villanueva’s son Anthony got the country’s first silver medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics when he lost in the final match to the then Soviet Union’s Stanislav Stephaskin. (The only father and son medalist)
- Teofilo Yldefonso is the only Filipino athlete to win medals in back-to-back Olympics. He was inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2010 (Pioneer Swimmer). He is considered by many as “The Father of the Modern Breastroke”
- We actually won a gold in the 1988 Seoul Olympics but it was for a demonstration sport, bowling, courtesy of Arianne Cerdena. Other demo sport medalist are Bea Lucero and Stephen Fernandez who both got a bronze for taekwondo in the 1992 Barcelona Games. Willy Wang also won a gold in the 2008 Beijing Games for Wushu.
Will the 2012 London Games be the end of our search for the elusive gold medal? We can only hope for the best.
Read more about our Olympians here