It took 97 years, but the Philippines has its first-ever Olympic gold medal.
Hidilyn Diaz made history on Monday when she won the gold medal for women’s 55-kilogram weightlifting, ending the Philippines’ gold medal drought that started when it first began participating in the Summer Games in 1924.
Diaz won with a total of 224 kilograms, an Olympic record and just one more than second-place finisher Liao Qiuyun of China. Liao also set the world record for 55-kilograms in 2019 with 227 kilograms.
Diaz was tied with Liao going into the clean and jerk. She’d made two other attempts to lift her final weight of 127 kilograms, which would put her ahead of Liao. She had just one more attempt left, so it all came down to the dramatic final lift. Once she’d lifted the bar over her head and heard the buzzer, she dropped it and burst into tears as members of her team came over to embrace her.
The Philippines won its first bronze medal in 1928, when Teofilo Yldefonso finished third in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke. 36 years later, Anthony Villanueva gave the Philippines its first silver with a second-place finish in featherweight boxing. But Monday was the first time the country’s national anthem was played during the medal ceremony.
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