Friday, August 8, 2008

Philippines at the 2008 Summer Olympics

The 2008 Beijing Olympics officially opens today, with an opening ceremony that promises to be the incredibly magificent spectacle that only the might of a billion-people-strong communist giant can give. Just look at that beautiful monstrosity that is their Olympic Stadium... Look at it!

It's screaming "OMG China is awesome".

The Philippines has 15 competitors this time around, which seemed a shockingly small number until I realized it's only one less than the delegation to Athens in 2004. They'll be competing in 17 events across 8 sports.
  • Mark Javier (Archery - Men's individual)
  • Henry Dagmil (Athletics - Men's long jump)
  • Marestella Torres (Athletics - Women's long jump)
  • Harry Tañamor (Boxing - Light flyweight)
  • Rexel Ryan Fabriga (Diving - Men's 10m platform)
  • Sheila Mae Perez (Diving - Women's 3m springboard)
  • Eric Ang (Shooting - Trap)
  • Miguel Molina (Swimming - Men's 200m individual; 200m breaststroke)
  • James Walsh (Swimming - Men's 200m butterfly)
  • Ryan Arabejo (Swimming - Men's 1500m freestyle)
  • Daniel Coakley (Swimming - Men's 50m freestyle)
  • Christel Simms (Swimming - Women's 50m freestyle; 100m freestyle)
  • Tshomlee Go (Taekwondo - Men's 58 kg class)
  • Mary Antoinette Rivero (Taekwondo - Women's 67kg class)
  • Hidilyn Diaz (Weightlifting - Women's 58kg class)
Only one boxer? I thought that was our forte. Anyway, we've got one boney-faced guy competing in the light flyweight class, and Sports Illustrated apparently predicted him to actually win a silver, so he must really be something.

Our Manny Pacquiao will be carrying the flag in the opening ceremonies, though not competing in any event.

The Inquirer had a nice article briefly profiling the athletes individually, summing up their past performances and achievements. They also give a quick forecast on each one's medal chances, saying that 11 of them have "almost zero chance" of winning a medal in Beijing. Pretty demoralizing, though brutally honest. They gave Eric Ang (Shooting) and Tshomlee Go (Taekwondo) some hopes of winning a medal, and Harry Tañamor (Boxing) and Mary Antoinette Rivero (Taekwondo) good chances of winning a medal.

There are a total of around 10,500 athletes competing in 302 events in Beijing. That adds up to about 1 medal for every 12 competitors. The Philippines has never won a gold medal. If Team Philippines could get just one person to win a medal-- any medal, anything to get this country on the medal scoreboard for the first time in 12 years-- that certainly would be an achievement to be proud of.