According to the Olympics site, the Philippines joined in 1924 and got its first medal four years after in the Amsterdam Olympic games of 1928. Swimmer Teofilo Yldefonzo ranked third overall bagging the bronze for the 200-meter breaststroke, just a little behind Japanese gold medalist Yoshiyuki Tsuruta. In 1932, Yldefonzo again took home the bronze in the same category, defeated by the same Japanese champion. In that same year, the Philippines took home its biggest Olympic haul of three bronze medals.
Sad to say, over the next couple of years, the country has not received much renown from the four-year meet. Are our athletes too lame to meet the challenges? Hardly. We have very good athletes trained in some of the best centers in the world. We have athletes who bag the gold in other international competitions. So who's to blame?
In my opinion, I think the fault lies in the corruption in the government. There is not enough funding for the athletes competing in competitions worldwide, much more the Olympics. There is not enough budget to scout for good athletes from the smallest provinces of our country who could possibly give the runners of Africa a run for their gold. Perhaps if there were only money to fund our sports program, we wouldn't be left behind in the gold medal race.
Another, is the fact that all tall Filipinos want to be basketball players. Basketball may be a favorite past time, but it is not the only game where tall players edge out the smaller ones. True, we have fast sprinters, but the winner of the race is the runner who spans further distances because of his long legs. True, we have good swimmers, but the champion of the pool is the swimmer who goes further because of her strong, long legs.
But 2008 is another year, another chance for us to prove our worth to the world. Then again, it may just be another one of those dry years for our country thirsty for that elusive Olympic gold medal.