Press Release
August 8, 2021

Statement of Senator Joel Villanueva on the Closing Ceremonies of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games

Hindi lang po medalya ang nakamit ng ating Philippine Olympic team sa Tokyo 2020 Summer Games. Nagbigay din po sila ng saya at pag-asa, at habambuhay nakaukit na sila sa kasaysayan bilang winningest Olympic contingent ng ating bayan. Ang inyong pinagsamang lakas at aksyon sa mga nilahukang kompetisyon ay paalala po sa ating lahat kung gaano kasarap maging Pilipino. Maraming salamat po sa natatanging karangalan na ito.

Our Fighting 19 gave us joy and hope - at a time when our locked-down nation needed them most. The medal board was a welcome distraction from our COVID-19 tally.

There are lessons from their triumphs, which are as true in sports as in any endeavor: There is no substitute for dedication and discipline; that failures are stepping stones to victories.

And that while innate talent leads to podium finish, it cannot however be done without institutional support. Athletes are born, but the great ones are those who have been supported.

If we want to reap more medals in the future, our government must invest in sports. Such cannot be left to individual exceptionalism or private generosity alone.

The Philippine team will sadly arrive in a homeland where streets are deserted and businesses shut down by a virus that is getting harder and harder to vanquish.

Against this backdrop, may their Olympic medals lead to Olympian efforts by the government to defeat COVID-19, or at least keep our people safe from harm.

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