Hidilyn Diaz set two Olympic records on her way to winning the women’s 55kg, bringing the Philippines its first gold medal in Olympic history.
After winning July 26, the four-time Olympian praised God, repeatedly shouting “Thank You, Lord,” reported the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines News. Diaz said this Gold is “a sign of her faith in Jesus”, and she also thanked her friends who prayed the miraculous medal novena.
In a statement, Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao congratulated Diaz on behalf of the Philippine bishops.
“Hidilyn is a true weightlifter who draws her strength from her love for the country and a deep Catholic faith,” the archbishop said. “Congratulations, Hidilyn! May the Lord continue to bless you with perseverance.”
In a Jan. 29, 2020, Instagram post, she said, “I thank God for having a team who is there fighting and working together for one goal and one dream for the Philippines. We will grow together towards #Tokyo2020.”
In 2018, Diaz was a guest at the 5th Philippine Conference on New Evangelization. During the segment of then Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Diaz shared how she clung to her faith as she hurdled many challenges in her life as an athlete.
“I felt that emptiness, I did not know my purpose in life and why I was in weightlifting. That time was also my journey with God because I got to know Him personally. I learned how to pray because before, I did not know how. Then I entrusted everything to God because I said there is a purpose why I’m here, why I’m in weightlifting.” Diaz had said in Filipino.
his is the second Olympic medal of Diaz, who is competing in her fourth straight Olympics, after taking home silver in the 2016 edition of the Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“I’m just thankful to God that he gave me a chance to be a role model, for the youth to believe in the fact that Ate (a Tagalog term meaning “older sister”) Hidilyn is a fighter, fighting for her dreams,” she was quoted as saying. “Maybe God brought me here to inspire the youth to engage in sports and teach them the value of sports.”