Go For Gold

September 16th, 2008 · No Comments

Despite the controversies surrounding the Beijing Olympics, it was difficult not to be in awe at the discipline and the focus of the organizers.  It was impossible not to marvel at the exuberance, the precision to the nano-second, and the exhilaration of perfection.  And it was inevitable not to be swept in the whirlwind of emotions of the winners, as well as those of the losers.

Aside from being visible during the Parade of Nations at the Opening ceremony, the Filipino contingent of 14 athletes, in their blue barongs, were hardly seen (if at all) and were presumably eliminated early on.  The Presidential entourage would have been more than the competitors.

President Arroyo enticed the athletes with a reward of P5m for every gold medal won.  Sponsors joined in to raise the prize money to P10.5m.  Dangling a carrot is of no use at this late stage when they didn’t have the required preparation for the stint.  One would have hoped that the athletes were provided this financial assistance for their training years ago in order to reach world class standards.   Why do we always have this magical thinking that things can happen overnight? We can’t produce the quality of athletes if we do not invest the time, effort and money to do so prior to the event.

If the 2000 Sydney Games were any indication then we would have had a “fat chance” of winning.  Then, the athletes could not even leave the Olympic village and had to wait for Jinggoy Estrada to arrive in Sydney for them to receive their much-needed allowances. 

In a country, where a public holiday is declared for beauty queens, and celebrities are treated like gold winners, our athletes would have been in the bottom of everyone’s priorities…oh, well..yep…unless they were basketball players.  So perhaps, for courage and for competing against all odds, our athletes do deserve a gold medal.

But hush, hush!!  Quietly, behind the scenes in China, the Filipinos made their mark.  Three Filipino expats, Michelle FlorCruz, Marco Torres and Rodolfo Enriquez were included in the torch relay.  Joe Damilio’s sculpture “Dancing Rings” won the China’s Olympic Sports & Art Contest, beating 36 countries. 


 However, as I watched the games, I could not help but wonder what if the Filipino community, as we know it here and now, would conduct the Olympics?  A little mental gymnastics and here’s what I came up with.

1.  The parade will be led by television and movie celebrities dressed as athletes.

2.  There will be an emcee to announce the speaker who then introduces the guest speakers.

3.  All heavyweight title holders (diplomats, government officials etc.) will be asked to make a speech followed by a roll call of all lightweight title holders (presidents, community leaders etc.).

4.  Dolphy will be asked to light the cauldron. 

5.  Fireworks will be replaced with “watusi”! 

6.  Seating arrangement will depend on “whom you know.”

7.  Crowd would be allowed to bring their own “baons” (packed lunch) inside the stadium.

8.  After every medal presentation, someone will burst into a song – for the bigger events, someone will dance.

9.  They’ll come up with “tubog sa ginto” medals donated by people who want to present them.

10. The contestants will be asked to sell raffle tickets.

11.  Volunteers will be asked to buy their own tickets and sell raffle tickets.

12. Nobody is allowed to question authority – so volunteers can just follow the crowd or point with their lips.

13.  When the going gets tough, the “puwede na” (that will do) attitude shall prevail.

14. Anyone can join – if they dreamt about it the night before – or they know somebody – they’re in.

15. Better still – no criteria – no judges – and everyone will be given a trophy.

16. They will ask Philippine Air Lines to give a free trip for the raffle.

17.  And if Aussies yell “Oi, oi, oi”, we would no doubt hear “Hoy, hoy, hoy!”

18.  The athletes will be offered balikbayan boxes to put their things.

And as for the events –

1. Basketball will be the top sport.

2. Ballroom dancing will definitely make its debut as an event.

3. No event which requires team effort as that would cause too much squabbling.

4. Rowing is definitely out – too many oars – too many directions.

5. The 100-metre dash will be dropped to the 10-metre dash. (The hundred mark will be too difficult).

As the memory of another beso-beso event fades, they will still be congratulating themselves on the email loop for  being so wonderful.  And better still, we could be having two games!


Tags: Grey Matter