Trivia about the 2004 XXVIII Olympic Games in Athens, Greece
Greece was the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games, and the first modern Olympics was also held in Greece in 1896. So it is very appropriate that the Olympics return to Greece once more.
Over 10,000 athletes and over 5,000 team officials from 201 National Olympic Committees will participate in the 28 different sports events between August 13 and 29. There will be 301 medal ceremonies.
The Philippines has participated in 17 Olympic Games since 1924, but no Filipino athlete has yet returned home with a gold medal. In 80 years, the bounty includes only 2 silver and 7 bronze medals.
In all, 359 athletes in 19 different sports disciplines have represented our country. The biggest contingent was the 64 athletes who went to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The smallest delegation was made up of only 1 athlete, David Nepomuceno, who competed in the 100-meter and 200-meter events during the 1924 Paris Olympics. We skipped the 1980 Moscow Olympics following the lead of the United States in boycotting that Olympics.
The 2 silver medals we got both came from boxing. Anthony Villanueva settled for the silver in the featherweight division during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco got his silver medal in the light flyweight division during the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Swimmer Teofilo YIdefonso brought home the first bronze medal whom he won in the 200-meter breaststroke event in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. He got another bronze medal when he finished third again in the same event at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.
5 other bronze medals were netted by tracksters Simeon Toribio and Miguel White; and boxers Jose “Cely” Villanueva, Lepoldo Serantes and Roel Velasco.
3 other Filipino athletes have also won medals, but only in demonstration/exhibition sports. Arianne Cerdena won the gold medal in ladies’ bowling during the 1988 Seoul Olympics, while Stephen Fernandez and Bea Lucero each got a bronze in taekwondo during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
This year, the Philippine contingent is composed of 16 athletes: 5 in swimming, 4 in boxing, 3 in taekwondo, and 1 each in shooting, archery, track and field, and marathon. These events are the ones depicted on the 4 stamps, a souvenir sheet and 2 first day covers.