The pressure of winning the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal is taking a toll on Filipino athletes competing in the world’s biggest sports spectacle in Tokyo, Japan.
Philippine Sports Commission chair William “Butch” Ramirez talked to gymnast Carlos Yulo before he competed in the vault event. Yulo, reigning world champion in floor exercise, had just been eliminated in that event where he was favorite to win the gold.
“I told him not to worry because things like this happens,” said Ramirez, citing Japanese “King Kohei” Uchimura’s accident in the horizontal bar. Uchimura is a two-time Olympic champion.
Ramirez said losing happens even to the best of them.
Two other athletes — taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa and Filipino-American swimmer Remedy Rule — have also been eliminated.
But nothing was more heartbreaking than Yulo’s exit in his pet event.
“It’s a little frustrating because we are expecting the elusive gold since 1924,” said Ramirez.
“He was pressured. I would imagine his frustration, but Caloy should not worry because he has Paris Olympics to look forward to,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez cites weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz who won the silver on her third consecutive Olympic appearance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.
“You’re very lucky to win on your first attempt. Hidilyn made her debut in 2008, but she won in 2016. That’s what I told Caloy,” he said.
Ramirez said they have passed a resolution to provide athletes with a team of coaches, a nutritionist, a psychologist and physiologist.