Hidilyn Diaz Makes History as Philippines’ First Olympic Gold Medalist
Hidilyn Diaz shows her Olympic gold medal and a “Miraculous Medal of Our Lady”. PHOTO FROM HIDILYN DIAZ’S INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT
Giving credit to God for her Gold, Hidilyn Diaz made history on Monday after becoming the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist, breaking the country’s 97-year drought reported CBCP News.
Diaz credited her historic win in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to God and to the intercession of the Blessed Mother.
The 30-year-old topped the women’s 55-kilogram weightlifting competition after an overall lift of 224 kilograms — an Olympic record.
After winning, the four-time Olympian praised God and lifted up Our Lady’s Miraculous Medal she wore around her neck while shouting “Thank You, Lord” repeatedly.
That gesture by Diaz has since gone viral.
In a virtual press conference Tuesday, the weightlifter from Zamboanga shared the story behind the miraculous medal and what it meant for her.
“This was given to me by my friends. They prayed the novena for 9 days before my competition. I also prayed the novena,” Diaz said.
“It is a sign of their faith and my faith to Mama Mary and Jesus Christ,” she added.
On her Instagram, she posted a story with a text that reads, “Thank you for praying!”
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has joined the whole nation in celebrating Diaz’s victory.
“We admire her devotion to the Blessed Mother as she carried in her victory her great faith in God,” said Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP President.
“Hidilyn is a true weightlifter who draws her strength from her love for the country and her deep Catholic faith,” he added.
Hidilyn Diaz was born on February 20, 1991. She is a staff sergeant in the Philippine Air Force.
In her early weightlifting years, she was a bronze medalist in the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand and achieved 10th place at the 2006 Asian Games in the 53-kilogram class. While she was a student and representing Universidad de Zamboanga, she won two golds and one silver in the Asian Youth/Junior Weightlifting Championship held in Jeonju, South Korea. She competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics, where she was the youngest competitor in the women’s 58-kg category.
In the 2016 Summer Olympics, Diaz won the silver medal in the women’s 53-kg weight division, ending the Philippines’ 20-year Olympic medal drought.