Hidilyn Diaz, Margielyn Didal, and Nesthy Petecio: The Filipinas Who Took the Spotlight in the 2020 Olympics

Hidilyn Diaz, Nesthy Petecio, and Margielyn Didal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Filipinas, how do we define them? More than just being a woman, Filipinas are known across the globe for their many talents. Whether it be singing, dancing, acting, modeling, and beauty pageants, Filipinas excel. 

Some of the familiar names that brought pride and honor to our country include Lea Salonga, the first Asian to win Best Actress at the Tony Awards when she portrayed the role of Kim in Miss Saigon.  

Another Filipina who raised our flag is Catriona Gray, who won the 4th Ms. Universe title for the Philippines. She joins other Filipina Ms. Universe titleholders, Pia Wurtzbach (2015), Margie Moran-Floirendo (1973), and the first-ever Filipina to bring home the crown, Gloria Diaz (1969).  

Filipinas have previously made their mark in the world with their beauty, gentleness, and wit. This year at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, it is again Filipinas who raised the Philippine flag with their talent and strength. 

With the ongoing competitions in the Olympics, Filipinas are creating noise as they compete for the medals and bring pride to our country. Here is our tribute to Margielyn Didal, Nesthy Petecio, and Hidilyn Diaz—the three Filipinas who put the Philippines in the Olympic spotlight. 

Photo by: Jeff Pachoud

The Audience Winner: Margielyn Didal

Margielyn Didal is the 22-year-old Filipina professional street skateboarder who caught the eyes of many when she competed in the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics 2020 under the category of Women’s Street Skateboarding.  

But before being the country’s representative in the Tokyo Olympics, she rose to fame when she competed in the X Games Minneapolis 2018. She also bagged gold medals during the Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games in 2019. According to Didal, she started skating when she was 12.  

She immediately fell in love more with the sport because, for her, it felt like she was floating. Then she tried to do tricks. In one writing, Didal shares that skateboarding was her way to escape life’s problems and difficulties. She felt a sense of freedom while doing the sport. And this passion for skateboarding flung her to greater heights. 

Despite her loss and falling short on an Olympic podium finish, Didal captured the hearts of sports viewers across the globe with her sportsmanship. Content of Didal and her infectious good vibes were immediately shared after the competition.These included fun TikTok videos with her competitors and even a photo with the skateboard legend, Tony Hawk. 

With her positive attitude towards defeat, Didal became a symbol of the Olympic spirit. She sends the message that sometimes, it is not always about the medal or trophy. It is more about the experience and the relationship you build with your fellow athletes and how you enjoy the game.  

The Silver Boxing Medal Winner: Nesthy Petecio 

Photo by: Luis Robayo

Another Filipina who took the spotlight at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 is the silver medalist Nesthy Petecio, an amateur boxer from Davao del Sur. Despite losing the first spot in the featherweight final of women’s boxing against Japan’s Sena Irie, she made a mark in history as the first Filipina to win in the Olympic boxing with her silver medal. 

Before competing in the Olympics, Petecio showed her talent and won gold in the 2019 SEA Games with a 5-0 unanimous decision. The 29-year-old boxer was grateful despite evading the first place on the match.  

The result may not be the bout that she had dreamed of, but she still gave her respect to Sena Irie and they congratulated each other in the ring. 

Photo from sports.inquirer.net

Petecio dedicated her fight to her family, our country, her best friend, and to her coach, Nolito Velasco, who is the brother of Onyok Velasco, another medalist in boxing during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.  

After finishing second at the Tokyo Olympics bout, Petecio will be coming home with 17 million pesos worth of reward from the government and private companies. She will also receive a house and lot in her hometown in Quezon Province.  

She may not have finished at the top of the podium, but her feat was a historical one that will surely become part of history. 

The Philipppines’ First Gold Medal Winner: Hidilyn Diaz 

Photo from olympics.com

The biggest winner among the Philippines’ medalists is yet another Filipina, Hidilyn Diaz. A weightlifter, Diaz finished first to bring home the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold winner. It was an emotional win for Diaz, her loved ones, and the entire country as the Philippine national anthem played first during the awarding ceremony. 

Only 30 years old, Diaz is also a staff sergeant of the Philippine Air Force. She started her weightlifting career when she represented her school in the Asian Youth Weightlifting Championship, winning two golds and one silver.  

She also won a bronze medal in the 2007 SEA Games and became the youngest contender in the 2008 Summer Olympics under the Women’s 58kg Category.  

Photo from hk.asiatatler.com

During the 2016 Summer Olympics, Diaz came second under the Women’s 53kg Category. She also won the gold medal during the 2019 SEA Games and Roma 2020 World Cup.  

Her Olympic journey was a challenging one, both mentally and financially. But despite these setbacks and with the help of partners, she managed to lift the Philippines and beat China’s Liao Qiuyun, a world record holder.  

“This gold is for all Filipino people,” said Diaz in an interview. All the hard work, sacrifices and sweat, she exerted is for the country. Looking at her achievements and hardships, all the rewards Diaz is enjoying are definitely well-deserved. 

Photo from CNN Philippines | Lars Baron / Getty Images

his year’s Olympics is one worth remembering for the years to come. These Filipina athletes showed everybody the strength of a woman. Filipinas are not just beautiful—they are also strong.  

These women are role models that tell girls there’s nothing wrong with wanting to skateboard. That girls can throw a punch and win a round or three. And lastly, that even women are strong enough to lift and carry an entire country to the top of the podium. 

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