Philippines Olympics Update – Aug. 15

As the Beijing Olympics surges on, it’s hard to be a Filipino Canadian. Neither our country of origin nor our country of residence has been able to yield any precious metal at this Olympiad thus far, leaving us feeling two times as disappointed.

Get him a body bag!!!! - Tshomlee Go still has a chance at the gold and 15 million pesos.

"Get 'him a body bag!!!!" - Tshomlee Go still has a chance at the Gold -- and 15 million pesos.

The medal drought in both countries has begged the question, “Are we supporting our athletes enough?”, which has led to another question: “Does athletic sport deserve our even deserve our taxpayer money in the first place when there are surely other problems that need financial attention?”

The argument is that athletic triumph on the world stage would galvanize the people and build national pride. While the overlying attitude in Canada seems to be one of apathy, the reaction in the Philippines seems to be one of plain ignorance that there are even Filipinos competing in the Games at all. After all, many of the competing Filipino athletes have virtually no chance at a medal, being there simply to fill a quota, their best-ever times not even close to the worst times of the other competing countries.

The Philippines boasts the worst performance among SEA countries. But what makes us so bad? And furthermore, what would make us perform better?

President Arroyo may just be on to something with her latest plan to jumpstart Filipino Olympic performance. She’s taking the “Wowowee” approach and waving free money to anyone who can bring home the gold. The Philippines wants to strike gold so bad that GMA has set the prize money for the first gold medal to a whopping 15 million pesos.

Too bad for the Filipino swim team, who despite medal hopes, flunked out in the pool. When asked about their poor perfomance, they blamed it on ripped swimsuits. Maybe they shouldn’t have bought their swimsuits for cheap at Greenhills (ma’am… sir… pili na!). If you look closely, the suits probably say “SPEEDOE” or “SPEEDA” something like that. Then again, if they had more funding, they could afford the actual, not-fake version of the super-swimsuit that Michael Phelps was wearing.

Perhaps the point is that even athletes can’t get around the fact that money makes the world go ’round.

What do you think?

~ by Leonard on August 15, 2008.

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