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Olympic Pinoys

31 July 2012

The Philippines has been participating in the Summer Olympic Games since 1924 in Paris. While some years were more exciting than others, the spirit of the colorful Filipinos who walk in the Olympic parade of nations to compete in this quadrennial event has, over the years, remained constant. Below are short profiles on Olympic Pinoys and links which lead to their biographies and/or family trees.


Fred Elizalde competed in the 1960 Rome Olympics in swimming. He serves as the chairman of multiple corporations — among them Manila Broadcasting Company, Star Parks Corporation, Philippine International Corporation (Philcite), Elizalde Holdings Corporation and Northern Capiz Agro-Industrial Development Corporation (Norcaic).


Rafael Hechanova was part of the Philippine national basketball team to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. He is an architect and real estate developer. He joined the Rotary Club of Makati, Rizal, Philippines, in 1967 and served as 1996-98 RI director and as governor of District 3830. He was inducted into the Philippine Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.


Christine Jacob competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. She is now a television personality.


Robert Jaworski, competed in basketball at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. He became a professional basketball player and coach and a Philippine senator.


Arturo Macapagal represented the Philippines at the 1972 Munich Olympics and at the 1976 Montreal Olympics in mixed free pistol. His father and sister both served as Presidents of the Philippines.

1924 Paris Olympics

David Nepomuceno was a sprinter and the lone representative at the 1924 Paris Olympics. He was a soldier who served in the Philippine Scouts and eventually, the United States Navy. He died on September 27, 1939 at age 39.


Edgardo Ocampo joined the basketball teams that competed in the 1960 Rome Olympics, 1968 Mexico Olympics and the 1972 Munich Olympics. He became a professional basketball player and coach.


Eduardo Alvir Pacheco competed in the 1960 Rome Olympics in men’s basketball. A competitive athlete since his youth, he played collegiate varsity basketball and football. Eddie was a member of the RP Football team to the Asian Games in 1954 and in 1958 and the Asian World Cup in 1963.


Ambrosio Padilla was the team captain and led the Philippines to a fifth place finished in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  He became a lawyer, a Solicitor General and a senator of the Philippines.


Carlos Padilla Sr. competed in the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Olympics in the men’s welterweight event. From an acting family, he also appeared in several films.


Jose “Pempe” Padilla competed in the boxing (lightweight) in the 1932 Los Angeles and 1936 Berlin Olympics. From a family of performers, he also appeared in numerous films.


Fausto Preysler competed for the Philippines in the 1960 Rome Olympics in Yachting. He was also Philippine Squash champion. He is the President of Smith Bell & Co., Inc. and Resident Consul in the Philippines for Costa Rica.


Simeon G. Toribio competed in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics (where he bagged the bronze in men’s high-jump) and the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He was born and raised in Mercedes, Zamboanga.  He became a lawyer and eventually, a member of Congress, representing the second district of Bohol.

White (left)

Miguel S. White was a Fil-Am Bicolano who won the bronze at the 1936 Berlin Olympics in the 400 metre hurdles, losing the silver by a split-second. He became a lieutenant in the 52nd Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Army and was Missing in Action in WWII.


Denise Yabut-Cojuangco is a Filipino equestrienne who represented the country in show jumping in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and 1996 Atlanta Olympics.


Teófilo E. Yldefonso was a breaststroke swimmer who competed in the 1928 Ansterdam Olympics, 1932 Los Angeles Olympics and the 1936 Berlin Olmpics. Known as the “Ilocano Shark”, he is the first Filipino to win an Olympic medal, and the only Filipino to win multiple medals. Yldefonzo fought against the Japanese in Bataan. He survived the Bataan Death March, but later died at Capas Concentration Camp. His remains have never been recovered. His great-grandson, Daniel Coakley, represented the Philippines in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in freestyle.

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