The cauldron fire has been extinguished, the Olympic Village packed up, the medals brought home. Tokyo 2020 Olympics for sure will always have a special place in Filipinos’ hearts, as it was the most successful performance of the Philippine delegation of the Olympics since the country first joined the competition in 1924.
But who knows what 2024 has in store for our athletes? Seasoned athletes like Hidilyn Diaz and Nesthy Petecio (who will be in their early 30s by then) might still be able to perform at the Paris Summer Games. But younger sportsmen like Carlos Yulo and Carlo Paalam (who will be 24 and 26 years old, respectively, by then) are just about to hit their peak.
We don’t know exactly what the future has in store, but we do know that our athletes will continue to be the Philippines’ source of pride. And we do actually know a thing or two about the upcoming Summer Games. Here’s what to expect at the Paris 2024 Olympics:
The embodiment of everything French, from traditional to modern
The last time Paris hosted the Olympic Games was literally a century ago in 1924, so the anticipation is high. Paris 2024 will take on a completely new approach and put the competitions next to famous Parisian landmarks: The Eiffel Tower, Place de la Concorde, the Château de Versailles, and more.
“With Paris 2024, our ambition is to open a new model to open the Games to more people,” said Tony Estanguet, the president of Paris 2024’s organizing committee. “Our plan is based on taking sport out of its traditional spaces and putting competitions at the heart of the city in front of the most famous Parisian landmarks.”
Some Tokyo Games sports retained
Enthusiasts of the three sports added in the Tokyo Games — surfing, sport climbing, skateboarding — will still have something to look forward to in 2024 as the Paris Games officials decided to retain it. These sports attract a younger crowd and give the Olympics more street cred, so retaining them is a smart move. This also means that we’ll probably see more of Margielyn Didal, who placed 7th in the women’s street skateboarding in Tokyo 2020.
A new sport added
Tokyo 2020 made the Olympics younger and more urban, and it looks like Paris 2024 will be continuing that trend. Breakdancing — yes, breakdancing — will make its Olympic debut in Paris. Breakdancing, or breaking, will include men’s and women’s competitions with head-to-head matchups. Noting how the country has bagged 10 gold medals in dancesport in the 2019 Manila SEA Games, this is really good news for the Philippines. We’ve got what it takes to dominate the world stage of dancing — just take a look at the Pinoy crews like Project P-Noise, SAS Crew, and Manila Soul Crew, who are just waiting for their next platform.
Three sports dropped
One of the perks of being the host country is being able to add sports that they’re strong in. This is why karate made its debut at the Tokyo Games and softball/baseball were reinstated. However, these three sports will not be coming back in the Paris Games. While this idea does not sit well with some countries that have a strong delegation in softball like the US, India, Slovenia, and Czech Republic, the Philippines isn’t too affected because we don’t have a delegation for those sports.
Marathon for all
Pour la première fois de l’histoire de l’Olympisme, #Paris2024 vous permettra de courir le #Marathon le même jour, dans les mêmes conditions que vos athlètes Olympiques. Une expérience unique dans une vie qui vous marquera ! 🏃♀️🏃♂️🏃♀️🏃♂️🏃♀️🏃♂️🏃♀️🏃♂️🏃♀️🏃♂️ pic.twitter.com/WNtNtsn8O2
— Paris 2024 (@Paris2024) February 21, 2019
The Paris 2024 Olympics will not just be reserved for the athletes. In the attempt to become inclusive for all, including spectators, a public marathon will take place on the same day as the elite sporting event where people can run side by side with athletes on the same course, separated only by borders. This invites everyone to have an athletic mindset and to teach the importance of having an active lifestyle to all people, whether beginner or bro, able-bodied or disabled, young or old.
23-year-old silver medalist Carlo Paalam, 25-year-old bronze medalist Eumir Marcial, men’s vault 4th placer and gymnast Carlos Yulo, and 22-year-old street skateboarder Margielyn Didal have all pledged to come back stronger in the 2024 Games. In fact, Caloy even stayed in Japan to train for his his next world championship event. Our young athletes have so much potential. And with support and continued momentum, there’s no other way but up.
Hidilyn still unsure about Paris 2024
WATCH: Emotional reunion of Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz and parents in Metro Manila. Hidilyn’s mom Emelita proudly shows off gold medal. Hidilyn was away from family for almost 2 years due to training and getting stranded abroad.
📷 Resorts World Manila pic.twitter.com/cPqK9DYaih
— Jacque Manabat (@jacquemanabat) August 5, 2021
Our golden girl is not retiring yet, but she’s unsure about the next Olympics because the weight categories were reduced to five instead of the usual seven. This means that only 120 weightlifters will qualify for Paris 2024. But of course, she’s going to give it her best shot.
“Hindi puwedeng after winning susuko na ako. I need to still continue to inspire the younger generations to still dream,” said Hidilyn in a press conference. Hidilyn still plans on competing at the SEA Games, Asian Games, and the World Cup. By the time the next Summer Games roll around, she will be 33 years old.
More support from the government?
LOOK: Olympic medalists Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, and Eumir Marcial together with Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino now bound for Manila (photo courtesy of Sen. Francis Tolentino) @PhilippineStar pic.twitter.com/kbRloL15jH
— Paolo S. Romero (@PaoloSRomero) August 9, 2021
In the Philippines, particularly in sports, you have to show a significant result first before getting the support you deserve. After this record-breaking Olympic performance from the Philippine delegation, Filipino athletes are now in the best position to demand more support from the government. They’ve done the work and they’ve brought home medals to prove it. The only thing we need is stronger support from the national government, not just from the private sector. Even Philippine Olympic Committee chief Bambol Tolentino expect Filipino athletes to perform better in 2024. If we have this expectation, there should be a mutual cooperation.
How optimistic are you about the Philippines’ performance in the Paris 2024 Games? Tell us your thoughts!