Olympic gold worth P30 million

By Al S. Mendoza 


SIX days from today on July 23, the pandemic-postponed Olympics will blast off in Tokyo.

We have 19 entries in the Summer Games originally set in 2020 until COVID-19 interrupted its staging.

They will join some 11,000 athletes from more than 205 countries seeking fame and glory in the two-week competition featuring only the fastest, strongest and most skillful from mankind’s current crop.

Each of our 19 Olympians is bound to win a cool P30 million by capturing a gold medal.

The breakdown is P10 million from the government, P10 million from Manny V. Pangilinan and P10 million from Ramon S. Ang.

Other medalist can become instant millionaires as a silver medal is worth P5 million and bronze medal P2 million.

The bonus bonanza could be more.

Many businessmen may toss in more incentives, with gold winners also poised to own house-and-lot prizes—one possibly coming from billionaire-housing tycoon Manny Villar?

Who knows, a gold-medal winner might also end up driving home his own brand-new car.

David Nepomuceno was our first Olympian in the 1924 Paris Olympics, competing in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, missing the quarterfinals both times.

He redeemed himself somewhat when he won the gold medal in the 200-meter dash and the silver medal in the 100-meter dash the following year in the 1925 Far Eastern Games.

Nepomuceno again shone in the next Far Eastern Games in 1927, winning the century dash and settling for the bronze in the 200-meter dash.

He made quite a stir that year as he won the 100-meter dash only two tenths of a second short of Charley Paddock’s world record.

Wikipedia said that after he retired from sports, Nepomuceno, who was from Albay, “served with the Philippine Scouts in the U.S. Navy and died on duty on Sept. 27, 1939” at the age of 39.

Nepomuceno’s Olympic successors would win a total of 9 medals from the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics to the 2016 Rio Olympics, but none of those was gold.

But hopes are now high that our 97-year gold drought would finally end, considering the abundance of lucrative perks awaiting the Filipino gold medalists this year.

The brightest golden prospects are gymnast Carlos Yulo, the reigning world champion in the artistic category; the four boxers led by Eumir Marcial; and, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, the silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Aside from Diaz, the other two silver medalists were boxers Anthony Villanueva in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and Onyok Velasco in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

For the first time, this year’s Olympics will be played minus foreign spectators due to COVID-19 issues.

Locals will be allowed entry but on a limited capacity and subject to strict health measures.

Only television crews and cameramen are given some leeway in movement around the Olympic Village and competition venues.

So tight are crowd control protocols that even cheering is banned, practically reducing the Games—if plans don’t go awry—as the “Silent Olympics.”

Let the games begin!

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