TOKYO – It happens to the best of ‘em.
Those were the words of Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William “Butch” Ramirez for Filipinos athletes who had to face adversity in the first few days of competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
Ramirez was like a father figure as he went around venues cheering Filipino athletes on and consoling hopefuls like Yulo after the world champion gymnast fell short of reaching the finals of his favorite floor exercise event.
“Si Caloy, first time sa Olympics. I got to talk to him before his vault competition. Sabi ko sa kanya na ‘wag siya masyadong mag-worry kasi it really happens,” said Ramirez of Yulo, who made it to the finals of the vault apparatus.
Ramirez need not look far to drive home his point, citing Japan gymnastics legend and two-time Olympic champion "King Kohei" Uchimura's fall from the horizontal bar in the qualifiers a day before Yulo's performance.
“Kahit ‘yung Japanese two-time world champion, natalo, nahulog sa bar,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez also pointed out that Yulo's future is still ahead of him at 21. He said Hidilyn Diaz, as successful as she is, didn't medal until her third Olympics.
“Nakita ko na umupo [si Yulo] sa ibaba. I would imagine as an athlete ‘yung frustration nu’ng bata, but Caloy should not worry because he has the Paris Olympics to look forward to,” said the head of the government sports agency.
“Si Hidilyn, she’s a model, pumasok siya 2008, nanalo siya sa Rio Olympics,” he added. ’Yun ang sinabi ko sa kanya (Yulo), ‘wag siya mag-worry, naiintindihan namin ‘yan because it happens even to the best athletes.”