In the wake of Hidilyn Diaz’ historic win at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, bringing home the country’s first Olympic gold medal via weightlifting event, let us look back on her humble stories shared to King of Talk Boy Abunda on TWBA in 2016, after nabbing a silver medal in the Rio Olympics.
When Hidilyn stands at the arena to compete, she clears her mind from fear and worries, setting her focus on her goal – to make a glorious lift. “Kinakausap ko ‘yung sarili ko, sinasabi ko na ime-make sure ko na ‘to. Sinasabi ko, ‘Kaya ko na ‘to. Nagawa ko na ‘to dati.’”
Each victory is made up of little fragments of talent, confidence, tenacity, grit – and as Hidilyn believes – a dash of luck as well, and so much more. “Nanininiwala ako na kung ginawa mo ‘yung best, siguro si God ang gagawa ng rest. Pero talagang kailangan mo din gawin ang part bago ibigay sa’yo ang swerte o ibigay sa’yo ang para sa’yo,” she explained.
Outside the arena, however, Hidilyn thought she can’t be called lucky, that is, if she would associate luck with game of chance. “Hindi ako nananalo sa raffle,” she smiled. Luck is not elusive, though, inside their home, where everyone's a winner because of the love shared.
Hidilyn is a responsible daughter and a thoughtful sister, generous in the little and big ways. “’Pag may laro ako, binibilhan ko sila ng mga pasalubong. Kung may pera ako, nagbibigay ako sa kapatid at Nanay ko.”
The interview segued to another topic about romantic love, painting a bashful smile on Hidilyn’s face. Then-single, the power athlete opened up about being ‘sawi’ in a relationship. “Ngayon, choosy na ako. Namimili ako ng tao kung sinong mamahalin.” But she’s already moved on. Fast forward to 2020, Hidilyn is in a happy relationship with coach-boyfriend Julius Irvin Naranjo. And she’s no longer elusive when asked about marriage plans, saying she’s ready but just waiting.
The newfound fame – and millions worth of prices – will never break Hidilyn’s humility. Her heart is full of reverence toward the Lord and not on material things. “Itong material na bagay ay hindi magla-last. Si God lang magla-last. Sinasabi ko, ‘Kailangan kong maging humble.’ Itong money, hindi ito nagde-describe as me.”
The first Filipino Olympic gold medalist would exude grace and strong faith throughout the interview. Asked how solid her relationship with God is, Hidilyn said prayer is a big part of her journey. “Every morning nagpe-pray ako tapos kung walang ginagawa. Ito ‘yung journey ko with God simula 2013. May mga ups and downs tapos si God ang naging best friend ko noong mga times na kailangan ko Siya.”
In 2014, Hidilyn suffered from a knee injury, which she thought signalled the end of her sports career. But she powered through, thus telling aspiring weightlifters to never stop dreaming. “Dream high kasi doon tayo nagkakaroon ng drive sa buhay, to continue life. Along the way, may mga trials but never give up.”
At that time, Hidilyn was only talking about her plans to join the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and finish her studies. “Go for gold,” Tito Boy cheered her on, to which Hidilyn replied with a big “yes!” Tito Boy continued, “Thank you for the silver and we are looking forward to the gold.” And so it happened.
One of the highlights of Hidilyn’s guesting on Tonight with Boy Abunda is the Fast Talk segment where she seemed to have prophesied her gold medal win.
First, her favorites! If you’re bringing her pizza, it has to have cheese toppings. Cake will also make her smile. It’s her favorite dessert.
Her favorite singer is Popstar Royalty Sarah Geronimo. James Reid is her celebrity crush.
If she could play a sport other than weightlifting, the strong woman (literally and figuratively) wants to try mountain biking. Asked by Tito Boy her alternate career if she wasn’t an athlete, Hidilyn said she’d probably be a devoted mother. The first thing she does in the morning is pray.
One question she always gets is, “Kung tomboy ba ako.” Hidilyn is not offended and to answer that, she said she’s not a lesbian. She’s also not the ‘kikay’ type. The King of Talk commented that Hidilyn is even prettier in person.
Tito Boy asked if athletes get enough support from the government, which Hidilyn replied with, “Sa ngayon, oo.” The empowered woman believes female athletes have more advantage when it comes to discipline. She named Manny Pacquiao as the greatest Filipino athlete of all time.
Tito Boy also asked what would be the title in case her life is made into a movie. Hidilyn’s answer was “Ginto.” And it manifested four years later! And if the dream biopic happens, Hidilyn wants her life portrayed by Angel Locsin.
Hidilyn brought home the country’s first Olympic gold medal by a 127-kg lift in the clean and jerk, setting a new world record in the 55-kg women’s division in weightlifting during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Check out Hidilyn’s full interview with Tito Boy in this video!