Finally, in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Philippine Air Force A1C Hidilyn Diaz broke the Philippines’ 20-year Olympic medal drought.
In her third Olympic competition, the 25-year old Zamboangeña conclusively clasped the much-coveted sterling silver as she emerged in women’s 53-kg weightlifting division and turned out to be the first Philippine Olympic medalist and pride in 20 years. However, she has a career-best of 224 kg.
Moreover, she became the first Filipina athlete to win an Olympic medal and the first Filipino to earn a medal in weightlifting. Through this feat, Diaz became the first Filipino to medal since the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Likewise, Diaz’s unprecedented win is the first Olympic silver medal for the Philippines after Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco nabbed the silver in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
The sterling silver medal weighs 0.5 kg—one of the 812 minted sterling silvers in the Rio Olympics with a podium value of $305.
The medals in the 2016 Rio Olympics, be it gold, silver, or bronze has the same size, weight, and diameter are considered the most massive medals minted in the history of Summer Olympic games—and I am fortunate to hold it with bare hands.
Previously, Hidilyn Diaz also competed in the 58-kg category in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics, wherein she was the Philippines’ flag bearer.