THE Philippines may have failed to bring home a single gold medal from the London Games, but a top Philippine-based sports official at least came really close to not just one but 12 of them.
Frank Elizalde, the International Olympic Committee's representative to the Philippines, had 12 of those glittering prizes in his hands when he served as presentor during the medal ceremonies after the star-laden US team defeated Spain, 107-100, in the men’s basketball final on Sunday.
Elizalde awarded the gold medals to each of the 12 Team USA members — one more than the number of Filipino athletes that competed in London — at North Greenwich Arena while the world watched.
“What a distinct honor,” said Philippine Olympic Committee spokesperson Joey Romasanta.
Romasanta isn’t at all surprised that Elizalde was given the honor of awarding the gold medals to the USA basketball team.
“He is really a basketball fan. He is also well-known within the IOC circle. He’s been there for a long time and he is a well-respected individual,” said Romasanta.
The distinct honor is one of Elizalde's final acts as IOC representative as he is set to retire soon. The 79-year-old, who has held the post since the time of Juan Antonio Samaranch, will stay on as an honorary member.
Elizalde is a former president of the Philippine Football Federation and has been the IOC representative to the Philippines since 1982. He is currently a member of the IOC ethics committee.