Multiple Olympians

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star
Multiple Olympians
EJ Obiena
STAR / File

Since the Philippines joined the Olympics in 1924, the unofficial count is 419 athletes have represented the country. The roster lists only participation in the Summer Olympics and excludes the Youth Olympics, Winter Olympics and demonstration or non-medal sports.

There have been 74 multiple Olympians or athletes with at least two appearances in the Summer Games. In the coming Paris Olympics, six athletes are assured of joining the elite cast. Set to mark their second Olympic stints are pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, weightlifter Elreen Ando and boxers Carlo Paalam, Eumir Marcial and Nesthy Petecio. In the cusp of qualifying for Paris and making it to the multiple Olympians lineup are golfer Bianca Pagdanganan and sprinter Kristina Knott.

Its hard enough to book an Olympic ticket so earning at least two is quite an achievement, considering the level of competition in every sport. The Filipino record holder for most Olympic appearances is shooter Martin Gison who participated in 1936, 1948, 1952, 1956 and 1964. He was 22 when he competed in Berlin for his first Olympics and 50 in Tokyo for his last. A Bataan Death March survivor during World War II, Gison skipped the 1960 Games and wouldve extended his record to six Olympics if he had joined. His best Olympic finish was fourth in 1936 in the 50m small-bore rifle event. Gison was tied for second place with five others but after the countback of the last shots, dropped to fourth. He also competed in the 50-meter free pistol and rapid-fire pistol events in Berlin.

Next in the ladder for most Olympic appearances are shooter Cesar Jayme and weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, both four-timers. Jayme made his Olympic debut in London in 1948, competing in the 50m prone small-bore rifle event at the age of 30. He entered the same event in 1952, 1956 and 1960 with No. 15 his best finish in Helsinki. Diaz competed in the 58kg division in 2008 and 2012 then dropped to 53kg to pocket a silver in 2016 then moved up to 55kg to bag the countrys first and only Olympic gold medal in the 2020 edition.

The three-time Olympians are sailors Mario Almario (1972, 1976, 1992) and Jess Villareal (1960, 1964, 1976), steeplechaser Hector Begeo (1984, 1988, 1992), boxer Romeo Brin (1996, 2000, 2004), basketballs Ramoncito Campos (1948, 1952, 1956) and Ed Ocampo (1960, 1968, 1972), discus thrower Josephine de la Vina (1964, 1968, 1972), weightlifters Rodrigo (1948, 1952, 1956) and Salvador (1968, 1972, 1976) del Rosario, swimmers Amman Jalmaani (1964, 1968, 1972), Akiko Thomson (1988, 1992, 1996) and Teofilo Yldefonso (1928, 1932, 1936), shooters Horacio Miranda (1960, 1964, 1968) and Bernardo San Juan (1960, 1964, 1968), sprinter Rogelio Onofre (1960, 1964, 1968), long jumper Marestella Torres (2008, 2012, 2016) and high jumper Simeon Toribio (1928, 1932, 1936). Of the multiple Olympians, the only medalists were Diaz, Yldefonso (bronze, 1928, 1932) and Toribio (bronze, 1932).

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