The Philippines have been sending athletes to the Olympic Games since 1924. On the 3rd day of the Tokyo Olympics, on a last gasp lift that held everything in the balance, 30-year-old weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz clean and jerked 127 kg to give her a 224 kg total and the gold in the women’s 55 kg division.
Diaz went for a Hollywood ending, overcoming China’s Liao Qiuyun with her final lift, having missed her final snatch, being little bloody and battered, and carrying the weight of history on top of everything else on the bar above her head.
The 97-year wait is over and Diaz is set to take $660,000 is prize money from her government and a house and a lifetime of adulation from her fellow countrymen.
Diaz had won the silver at the 2016t Rio Games in Brazil so, on top of everything else, she is also only the second Filipino athlete to win multiple Olympic Games’ medals. The last Filipino to do that was Teofilo Yidefonso in 1928 and 1932 with two bronzes in swimming.