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Saturday, September 25, 2021
CEBU

Mendoza: Quality Olympics finish for PHL

All Write

Always, it’s quality over quantity. That especially holds true in the Olympics.

For the record, we had three bronze medals in Los Angeles in 1932 — the most for the country.

To be sure, each of those is as valuable as the last penny in one’s pocket.

That is why those three medalists remain etched in the pantheon of our country’s sports heroes.

Listen class: Teofilo Yldefonso, Simeon Toribio and Jose Villanueva are the nation’s “Terrific Trio” in the 1932 LA Olympics.

That year, Yldefonso won the bronze in men’s breaststroke, Toribio in high jump and Villanueva in boxing’s bantamweight division.

With Yldefonso actually duplicating his 1928 bronze finish (the country’s first Olympics medal) with his 1932 victory, he earned the “Ilocano Shark” tag that became famous worldwide.

A native of Piddig, Ilocos Norte, where he learned how to swim in the town’s Guisit River, Yldefonso went on to become a World War II hero, surviving the Bataan Death March as a second lieutenant. Unfortunately, he died at the Capas interment camp in Tarlac in 1942. He was only 39.

Before his bronze finish in the 1932 LA Games, Toribio was feted as “Asia’s Greatest Athlete” in 1930.

Villanueva achieved an uncanny feat when his son Anthony won the boxing silver in the quadrennial Games in 1964 in Tokyo, Japan.

That set an Olympics record for both for being the first father-and-son tandem to win Olympics medals, with Anthony recording the first ever silver medal won by a Filipino Olympian.

And with Nesthy Petecio assured of a boxing silver in Tokyo 2020 after eking out a split decision win over her much taller Italian opponent yesterday (Saturday, July 31, 2021), she ensured a gold-silver finish thus far for the country after weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the country’s first Olympic gold medal on July 25.

The harvest is bounty, yes, but there could be more as two more boxers — Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial — are not done yet. Paalam is now in the quarters and Marcial will gun for a quarters slot, too, today (Sunday, Aug. 1).

Shinier hardware are still to be hunted down in gymnastics vault (Carlos Yulo), pole vault (EJ Obiena) and golf (Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan) in the Games ending Aug. 8.

So, don’t blink.

As the famous line goes, keep punchin’, fellas!


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