It is heartwarming to hear our sports officials like Bambol Tolentino and Ramon S. Ang (RSA) speak consistently of positive things about our participation in the Paris Olympic Games from July 26 to Aug. 11 this year.
Applause to the dignified duo.
Tolentino, of course, is the enduring president of the Philippine Olympic Committee, mayor of Tagaytay City and chief of PhilCycling. Wonder of wonders how he could juggle his multiple tasks with so much success, culminating, under his watch, in pocketing the country’s first ever Olympic gold through weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz in nearly a century during the 2020 Tokyo Olympiad.
And Bambol is not resting on his laurels.
“By the looks of it, we can have as many as 20 qualifiers in Paris, more than what we had in Tokyo,” he said.
Should that happen — and it isn’t far-fetched — it would match the country’s biggest batch of 20 Filipino athletes sent to the 2000 Sydney Olympics. And, if I could wax nostalgic a bit, I covered the Sydney Games while I was sports editor of the Inquirer. While in Sydney, I was asked by TV reporter Patricia Bermudez if she should honor a dinner-invite from Evander Holyfield, the former world heavyweight boxing champion.
“Why not?” I said. “He is single. And I will chaperone you.”
But Patricia balked, saying: “I am scared.”
Patricia is now the wife of Vince Hizon, the former basketball star.
Now to RSA, the owner of PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) teams Magnolia, Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beer. All are under San Miguel Corp., the country’s biggest conglomerate where RSA is both president and CEO (chief executive officer).
Like Bambol, RSA, a recent recipient of the PSA Executive of the Year award together with MIPC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, feels confident we could score more victories in the Paris Games.
“Everything is possible when all the country’s stakeholders work together,” RSA said, giving special mention to our Asian Games basketball gold feat last year. “I pray that that amazing performance in Hangzhou, China, will inspire our athletes to go for more gold medals in Paris. I believe in the Filipino.”
Such words warm the heart.