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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Economy and the Olympics

Pacquiao's boxing career has spanned over a decade, and he has been considered the best boxer in this era. But he has never graced the Olympics. Oh, but if you are to count the time he carried the flag during the Beijing Olympics...that's another story.

Pacquiao turned pro too soon to represent the country in the Olympics which fields amateur boxers only. Our two Olympic silver medals came from our boxers, Anthony Villanueva (1964) and Mansueto Velasco (1996). But can you blame the guy? Amateur boxing pays peanuts. Representing this country pays noodles.

So why do we bother to send athletes to the Olympics when we don't give them ALL the support they need to prepare and win? What is the use of the Philippine Olympic Committee when it cannot defend its objectives to the government to give them decent financial resources?

Derek Ramsay who was sent by TV5 to cover London Olympics must have been paid more than the athletes we sent to represent the country. The media men and women sent by giant TV networks must have received more decent allowances.

Seriously, does a country need to be rich to win gold?

Current Medal Standing (as of 31 July):

Kazakhstan has just received its independence in 1991 from the Soviet Union, and has 16.6 million population (2011). In 2006, the personal income tax in Kazakhstan was reduced from 30% in 2003 to a flat rate of 5% for personal income in the form of dividends and 10% for other personal income. Kazakhstan suffered a budget deficit level of 3.5% of GDP in 1999 to a deficit of 1.2% of GDP in 2003. Government revenues grew from 19.8% of GDP in 1999 to 22.6% of GDP in 2001, but decreased to 16.2% of GDP in 2003. In 2000, Kazakhstan adopted a new tax code in an effort to consolidate these gains. According to the 2010-2011 World Economic Forum in Global Competitiveness Report, Kazakhstan is ranked 72nd in the world in economic competitiveness. (Wikipedia)

And they already have 2 golds week one of the London Olympics.

Lesson: Let's fix our country. When done, let's send athletes to the Olympics.


  1. I worked as a sports writer for about ten years, let me tell you my personal insight on the matter, the old song and dance "no government support" is nothing more than a ploy for the National Sports Associations to get more funding from both government and the private sectors. This is not true at all. You think Ethiopia spends millions on their athletes? You think Kenya? Go google these two countries and see how they've dominated the middle to long distance races in the Olympics. The real culprit? Our mentality. We want to play basketball (because we all want to be like the Americans) even if we are not built for that game. The Kenyans and the Ethiopians on the other hand, have a clearer sense of themselves. They run to fetch water. They run to hunt for food. They run to go places. They run. That is what they are good at. That is what they do. They run like Abebe Bikila. They run to be Halie Gibrasellasie. Ask the next generation of Pinoys, the best athletes who would represent us in the next Olympics, and they all want to be Kobe. Heck, even Manny Pacquiao wanted to play basketball before boxing got a hold of him.

  2. Man, we are once again harsh on ourselves, aren't we? :) I don't think basketball in this country is as popular as it was as I remembered it. But its popularity among Filipinos is yet to be toppled by another sport. The economy of basketball is what makes it popular here. You just need a ball, a hoop (makeshift or otherwise), a garage or a dead-end street and a group of your friends, and you've a game going. Sports need to be fun first. If it's all competition, bah! Track and field may be a competitive physical activity, but would you engage your friends in that to have some fun? (Boxing would be so much better.) Pacquiao used to live in the mountains and had to fetch water from below every day, and it was said in his biography, that also contributed to his strong calves. Now, there's the BMX events. And who did we send to represent us? An Amboy from LA. Just great! My brother has been a BMX racer, player half his life (and he is so old now :D ) and he knows some great folks in the league who could have represented the country. But hey, they're just not good enough, perhaps. Our neighbor (a kid of about 14), has won swimming competitions in the Palarong Pambansa, and in one competition, won over the son of Kristine Jacobs. And this neighbor doesn't even have a pool in their backyard. His parents got him into swimming because a doctor recommended it because the kid had weak lungs as a child. He didn't swim to carry a tradition, he learned to swim to overcome a weakness. Plus, he realized it was fun. Also, if our sports commission has the government support, we should have decent sports complex in every city, town or province - from football field to track and field, from covered courts to swimming pools, and not just basketball half-courts in every barangay with a politician's name painted on the hoop board.