From Silver Lining to Golden Moment: How I Witnessed Hidilyn Diaz Winning First PH Olympic Gold on TV

Photo taken using my phone.

For Filipinos, July 26, 2021 is an important and unforgettable date. It was the date, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz clinched the first ever Olympic gold medal of the Philippines. It was the date of many firsts for the country. It was the first time Lupang Hinirang, our national anthem, played in a victory ceremony of the quadrennial multisports event. Aside from achieving the feat the nation waited for 97 years, Diaz also set two Olympic records in Women's 55 kilogram category. I am very lucky as I was able to watch the historical moment Hidilyn achieved live on TV. This is worthy to share and I can say that this is one of my favorite and most sentimental blog entries I ever wrote in my life. Narrating the things I witnessed and felt while seeing the sport hero carrying heavy weights is a YOLO thing. Here is my story of how I watched the golden moment. 

I am fond of sports even though I am not athletic. I really follow the SEA Games, Asian Games, and Olympics. I check updates about when the said events are slated. I even check medal tallies of the past games and compare the performances of our national team with the recent games. My love for journalism made me an avid fan. I did write sports articles for school papers when I was a student. Thus, there is a need for me to keep myself abreast about these events. The postponement of the Tokyo Games due to COVID-19 made me sad. After a year of waiting, the Olympics edition commenced last  July 23 and it gives hope in the time of grief and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. The Philippines has 19 athletes whose mission is to claim the elusive gold medal. My eyes are on Hidilyn Diaz who appeared in the Olympics many times. Her fellows just have their debuts. Many are rooting for Hidilyn to bring home the gold. But the task is daunting as she needed to beat a world record holder. 

After the opening ceremony, I went immediately to the games website and looked for the weightlifting schedule. She was scheduled to play on July 26 at 6:50 PM. I made screenshots of schedules relayed in various local news and sports organizations. To make sure that my family is able to watch live, we subscribed to a prepaid load for premium viewing. 

The evening came and we ate lunch earlier in order to watch Hidilyn fighting from the start to finish. While the contenders are called, we prayed that she would bring home the gold. Our house was filled with silence then broken by our chats about the possibilities of winning the highest medal or any medal color. We were excited yet nervous about the fate of our silver medalist in the Rio Games in her stint that could be her swan song. 

The event began and my heart beat faster. It was like I was the one competing. As an Olympic follower, I want to see history and the story that I want to see is ending the gold medal drought of our country. Watching Hidilyn in her quest in Japan is like having a Hidilyn which is more confident. In her aura I saw glittering gold. I just removed the doubts and cheered aloud for her. 

I was happy watching her lifting weights in the snatch round. Every attempt she took, I stood, motivating her as she could hear me, and put my hands in the air every time the referees said good lift. I am amazed by the way she can carry heavy weights. After lifting 99 kilograms, I was worried when she flashed that her palm had wounds. We thought that it could affect her chance in garnering the top spot. 

The clean and jerk round came and it put me in a roller coaster ride of emotions. The showdown made us more nervous especially when Hidilyn and the Chinese Liao Qiuyun were left. Their exchanges were really thrilling. When Liao carried 126 kilograms in her final lift, we were quiet. We prayed hard again. We were happy that Diaz was sure with a silver medal, but we rooted for her to get the gold. 

When she was about to lift 127 kilograms all of us stood and we cheered. That moment, it was like we were in a movie in slow motion. Good thing that I was able to grab my phone and capture the winning form of Diaz. After the judges declared that it was a good lift, we screamed as if we won the grand prize of the lottery. Honestly, I cried after I heard the commentator relayed that Diaz was able to give the country's first Olympic gold. My hands were shaking as I shared the good news on my Facebook account. I was trembling. I was carried away. Finally, the Philippines has its gold. She lifted the spirits of the nation. I am very blessed to witness the monumental moment in the country's sports history. I was growling and I had minutes establishing my composure. I was emotional. I needed to control myself at that time as the victory ceremony came after next. 

The awarding was surreal. It was the time I felt proudest being a Filipino. Finally, we can see a Filipino standing the highest in the podium. Seeing Mikee Cojuanco during the ceremony added to the vibes of the celebration. After Hidilyn wore the gold, we prepared ourselves in the house for the Lupang Hinirang. The moment seeing your flag on the top spot is goosebumps. After the ceremony, we continued talking about the biggest achievement of Diaz and the incentives waiting for her when she returns to the country. 

The celebration still continues today as the social media and TV news programs are talking about Hidilyn's golden moment in the Olympics history. In fact, we bought three broadsheets with Diaz on the banner headlines. 

Again, I am very blessed that I was able to see a Filipino making history in the Olympic Games. Hidilyn proves that Filipnos can excel worldwide and dreams do come true by working hard and not quitting. Her journey is a great reminder that success is not achieved overnight. It could take years before claiming the fruits of our hard work and sacrifices. 

Mabuhay, Hidilyn! Mabuhay, Pilipinas!

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