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5 Inspiring Quotes From The Philippines' First Olympic Gold Medalist, Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz

Let her be your inspiration to do and be better!

She's the new gold standard!


Hidilyn Diaz
Image by Edgard Garrido, Reuters via @abscbnnews


Weightlifter and four-time Olympian Hidilyn Diaz has become the first Filipino to give the Philippines an Olympic gold medal. The Philippines has been deprived of the feat despite participating in every Sumer Olympics edition since its launch in 1924, save for the global sporting event's 1980 run.


Hidilyn Diaz competed in the women's 55kg class weightlifting event, winning over Kazakhstan's Zulfiya Chinshanlo and China's Liao Qiuyun by demonstrating perfect form and goddess-like strength as she lifted 127kg above her head. Her complete display of physical strength lasted for less than a minute, but the shockwaves felt throughout the world as her barbell hit the floor and the venue erupted in applause and cheering will last for lifetimes and beyond. 



Tears streamed down the 30-year-old athlete's face as she stood on the highest level of the winner's podium. Standing in salute as she turned to the Philippine flag, national anthem "Lupang Hinirang" was played at the Olympics for the first time in history. 



Making this special time in Filipino sporting history is that Hidilyn Diaz's legendary performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was not just a personal victory, but a record-setting win for the entirety of the Olympics. She lifted a cumulative weight of 224kg during the event, the heaviest ever seen at the games. She effectively dethroned China as the event's reigning champ and world record-holder, with their bet bowing out of the race for gold with a total of 223kg.


Hidilyn Diaz won her first Olympic medal, a silver, at the 2016 games in Brazil. 



Those who closely followed Hidilyn Diaz's journey to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will point out the cherry on top of this very, very sweet cake.


In 2019, Hidilyn Diaz vocally criticized the Duterte administration for its lack of support for Philippine athletes (and how those hoping to make it to the Olympics were collateral damage of the corruption scandal involving the Philippine Sports Commission that was unearthed). Her public declaration of frustration seemingly landed her a spot in one of the president's many red-tagging lists called the "Oust Duterte Matrix," a move that was swiftly followed by withholding government financial support necessary for a shot at competing in the Olympics. 



Also included in the list was ABS-CBN journalist Gretchen Ho, a former volleyball player.


Come the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Hidilyn Diaz won gold, and Gretchen Ho was present at the event for media coverage. Supporters of the Olympian have not shied away from calling it poetic justice. 


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So many aspects of Hidilyn Diaz's historic performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be remembered forever. This makes it especially important to get to know the athlete behind an achievement that will be immortalized, if it hasn't been already.


The winner from Zamboanga previously wanted to work in finance but quickly found her college education to be unfulfilling. A cousin introduced her to weightlifting some years back, and despite standing at a petite 5'2", this athlete returned to the hobby and eventually found weightlifting to be a worthy activity to invest her time and energy in. 


She made her Olympic debut in 2008 as a teenager, which means the Hidilyn Diaz million of Filipinos now consider to be a hero was 13 years and longer in the making. She talks about her transformation from a casual lifter to a pro athlete often; her Instagram account is full of glimpses into her days of training and encouraging messages about dedication and rewards reaped. 




So much of Hidilyn Diaz's career has not only been about amassing personal wins, but also about breaking boundaries and destroying stereotypes about strong women.


She's a role model through and through, and to celebrate her big win at the Olympics, plus who she is as an athlete, Filipino, woman, and overall awesome human being, we collected five of the most inspiring things she's said over the years. 


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On being grateful for the opportunity to represent her country, training despite the pandemic, and for mistakes that taught her to be better



On why she does what she does even when it can be the most difficult thing in the world 



On the positive role of negative experiences in her career as a pro athlete



On how the biggest dreams can take the longest to achieve 



On how she handled her career's first big wins



As a bonus, here are some looks into Hidilyn Diaz's other passion—introducing the youth in different parts of the Philippines to weightlifting and training those who show an interest in the sport. 


She's always had soft spot for going back to her roots and seeing them reflected back at her. As an 11-year-old who turned to weightlifting as a productive way to spend her time and learn important life values, she hopes to give other Filipino children and young adults the same opportunity. 







Congratulations, Hidilyn!


Lead photos from @tokyo2020 @abscbnnews