None of these is a gold, however. The country is still looking for its first gold medalist and will be relying on the 15 athletes it is sending to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As an incentive, an athlete who wins a gold medal will receive a cash prize of Php15 million (or about $342,309, based on a Php43.82 to $1 exchange rate), which President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced recently.
Here are a few facts: The Philippines has captured silver medals twice, both in boxing. Only once has the country had multiple medalists in an edition of the Olympics. Up to now, only one athlete – Teofilo Yldefonso – holds the distinction of being a multiple medal winner. Boxing continues to be the sport that gives the Philippines a good chance for medals (five in all – two silvers, three bronzes).
In two instances, members from the same family have won medals in the same sport in the Olympics. This would be Jose Villanueva and his son Anthony Villanueva, and the Velasco brothers (Roel and Mansueto).
The country has actually won a gold medal, although it did not count in the official tally. That was in the 1988 Seoul Olympics when bowler Arianne Cerdena captured the gold in Women’s Bowling which was a demonstration sport. Bowling, unfortunately, was dropped in subsequent editions of the Olympics.
Additionally, two athletes copped bronzes in Taekwondo (Stephen Fernandez and Bea Lucero) in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics when Taekwondo was also still a demonstration sport.
As far as highest finishes in other disciplines in the Summer Olympics, here are a few notables: a) The Philippines finished in 5th place in Men’s Basketball in the 1936 Berlin Olympics; b) Anthony Naranjilla finished in 37th place in the Men’s Individual Competition in Archery in the 1972 Munich Olympics; c) Hector Begeo made the Semifinals of the 3,000m Steeplechase in the 1988 Seoul Olympics; and d) Herman Suizo finished in 52nd place in the Men’s Marathon event in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Here is the list of Filipino medalists in the Summer Olympics:
1928 Amsterdam Olympics: Teofilo Yldefonso, Bronze, Men’s 200m Breaststroke
1932 Los Angeles Olympics: Teofilo Yldefonso, Bronze, Men’s 200m Breaststroke; Simeon Toribio, Bronze, Men’s High Jump; Jose Villanueva, Bronze, Men’s Bantamweight (Boxing)
1936 Berlin Olympics: Miguel White, Bronze, Men’s 400m Hurdles
1964 Tokyo Olympics: Anthony Villanueva, Silver, Men’s Featherweight (Boxing)
1988 Seoul Olympics: Leopoldo Serrantes, Bronze, Men’s Light Flyweight (Boxing)
1992 Barcelona Olympics: Roel Velasco, Bronze, Men’s Light Flyweight (Boxing)
1996 Atlanta Olympics: Mansueto Velasco, Silver, Men’s Light Flyweight (Boxing).