Philippines’ 1st Olympic Games Medalist Was An Ilocano!!!


While reading the book, “The Olympic Movement in the Philippines” by Celso Limjuco Dayrit, I was surprised to know that the first Filipino to win a medal in the Summer Olympic Games was an Ilocano.

In the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games, which was the second time that the Philippines participated in the O;ympic Games, we won our first Olympic Medal, a Bronze Medal, through swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso who was a native from the Province of Ilocos Norte. He was qualified for the Finals in the 200-meter Breaststroke after registering the fastest time among the third placers in the swimming trials. In the finals, he finished third to give the Philippines its first ever Olympic Medal. Yoshiyuki Tsuruta of Japan and Erich Rudemacher of Germany, got the 1st and 2nd places, respectively.

After four years, in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games, Teofilo Yldefonso repeated his third place performance in the 200-meter Breaststroke, swimming event, winning his 2nd Olympic Bronze Medal.

8 thoughts on “Philippines’ 1st Olympic Games Medalist Was An Ilocano!!!

  1. The other famous product of Piddig, whose citizens also took up arms for the right to brew their own (sugar cane) wine.

    There’s more to that BR. He supposedly died in Capas during the Bataan Death March, and the Olympics ran in his genes — his grandfather is a Hawaiian. Makes sense, because we also exported the first OFWs, the “pucan canes” from out of Salomague Point.

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  2. cecil, wow! i did not know that he is from piddig. i am just wondering where did he get to know how to swim in piddig? piddig has that river that flows up to laoag city but he might have developed a strong breaststroke style going against the current of the river. thanks for the info.

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  3. wen tio. his bust still stands near the municipio. if i am not mistaken, mr. mark joseph (not sure if he is still the president of PASA) mentioned that teofilo ildefonso is the father of the modern breaststroke…. agbiag dagiti ilocano!

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    • dr chester, i’ll see to it that i’ll take a visit and have a picture with the bust of this sports hero. i am proud to be an ilocano!

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    • very true! and include the powers of the malunggay and pokpoklo..hehehe..yes, it’s about time we should know and commemorate our past sports heroes.

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