Whenever you would see someone win a competition–a pageant, sports match, film festival, whatever it may be–it’s not uncommon to hear the winners thanking God. You would often listen to them thanking their team, their supporters, families, and then you’d hear them say “Thank you, Lord, for your guidance,” or some iteration of that.
And Olympic gold medalist and champion weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz is no different from that. In her post-competition interview on Monday, Hidilyn thanked Team HD, her family back home, the people who supported her in this journey, and last but not the least, God. (Read: Weightlifting Champ Hidilyn Diaz Wins First-Ever Olympic Gold for PH)
Hidilyn kept on mentioning God in her interview, saying, “Thank you for all the prayers. Grabe si God.” And there were more ways she showed that her faith had helped her immensely in her Olympic journey during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“God prepared me”
In her interview with volleyball player and sportscaster Gretchen Ho, Hidilyn was asked how it felt to be the first-ever Filipino to get a gold medal at the Olympics. She simply answered, “Kakaiba si God, kakaiba si God. Sa lahat ng prayer warriors ko diyan sa Pilipinas, sa Team HD, at sa lahat ng sumuporta sa akin–thank you for believing in me.“
Gretchen also mentioned that the 30-year-old weightlifter had a different aura coming into the competition–she was confident, despite being the underdog. Hidilyn says it was all because she psyched herself up during the week saying she was prepared and that she could do it. And of course, she didn’t forget to mention God once again.
“Sa lahat ng pinagdaanan ko, pinrepare ako ni God to be strong today.” (Read: Hidilyn Diaz Inspires Children to Dream High With New Book About Her Life)
Two medals on her neck
If you’ve seen her Tokyo 2020 pictures after winning the coveted gold, you would’ve probably noticed that Hidilyn has another medal on her neck. It is a silver necklace that her coach immediately gave back to her after she successfully lifted her gold-winning 127kg barbell.
If you zoom in on her pictures closely, you would discover that the silver necklace is the Miraculous Medal of Our Lady. It is the medallion that Saint Catherine Labouré designed after her apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Manila Cathedral was quick to congratulate the gold medalist on her win, and thank her for representing the country well on Twitter. “Hidilyn Diaz got two medals, the Olympic gold and the Miraculous Medal of Our Lady. Congratulations and thank you for bringing honor to our country!” the tweet said. (Read: 5 Marian Devotions To Guide You This Week)
Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the CBCP, also said that they admire Hidilyn’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. “Hidilyn is a true weightlifter who draws her strength from her love for the country and her deep Catholic faith,” he stated.
Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila added that she is a true testament that there is “no real success if it does not come from God.”
Millions of pesos richer
Because of her gold medal win, Hidilyn is now also at least P33 million richer. Some of her incentives are P10 million from the government through RA 10699, P10 million each from tycoons Ramon S. Ang and Manny V. Pangilinan, and P2.5 million from her hometown Zamboanga through a similar law.
Additional P5 million from Phoenix Petroleum president Dennis Uy, P3 million from Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero, and P200,000 from Angeles City mayor Carmelo Lazatin, Jr. were also pledged for the weightlifter.
It’s more than enough to support herself and her family, so what will Hidilyn be doing with this overwhelming amount of financial incentives she’ll be getting? (Read: Meet the 10 Filipinas Representing PH At The Tokyo Olympics)
As of now, she has no definite answer yet. But she tells Gretchen Ho in a separate interview that she will be saving a part of the amount, give back to the weightlifting community (which could include improvements to her own gym), and give part of her incentive as tithes.
Tithes are a donation–often 10 percent of one’s annual income–given to the Church as a form of support.
Other incentives Hidilyn will be getting are lifetime free flights from both AirAsia and Philippine Airlines, lifetime free gasoline from Phoenix Petroleum, a condo unit in Eastwood, and a house and lot in Tagaytay, among others.