Aside from Hidilyn Diaz, the Philippines has another “living weightlifting legend”. His name is Artemio E. Rocamora, who watched the Pinay gold medalist’s historic win at the Tokyo Olympics — 57 years after he competed in the Tokyo Olympics 1964.
A Facebook post of Shana Rocamora Ramirez gained traction online after she introduced and took pride in her 87-year-old “Papa” or “Lolo” Artemio, a Philippine Air Force veteran and a former athlete who also brought honor to the country in the weightlifting field.
“Nagbigay ng karangalan sa ating bansa bilang 3rd Placer/Bronze winner sa Asian Weightlifting Championship kasabay ng light heavyweight 19th place naman sa overall Tokyo Summer Olympics noong 1964,” wrote Shana.
Artemio’s Olympic record is still shown in the sport’s event’s official website.
Shana went on to tell that her lolo also had his fair share of struggles, similar to what Hidilyn went through. He relived the days when he lacked financial support, making it also difficult to support his family as an athlete.
“He is now too old and as he saw Hidilyn Diaz compete and bring home the gold, he was so amazed and remembered his journey. Naka-relate siya kasi totoo mahirap humanap ng sponsors, nahirapan daw sya mag-focus noon kasi at the same time kailangan nyang kumayod para itaguyod ang pamilya.”
In light of the nation’s celebration of Hidilyn’s Olympic triumph, Shana said her family hopes her lolo is recognized and remembered for the honor he brought to the country.
“Gusto lamang namin na habang andito pa siya at nabubuhay, mabigyan siya ng pag alala sa nauwi nyang karangalan sa ating Bansang Pilipinas noon.
“We will never get tired of listening to his stories. Ang masakit na part lang, sana nabigyan din sila ng sapat na suporta at pagkilala noong panahon na binuhat din nila at dinala ang Pilipinas noon.
“I’m so grateful to be Filipino and proud to be his Apo. Our Super Handsome LOLO Artermio,” said Shana.
The viral Facebook post now has 150,000 reactions and over 60,000 shares as of writing.
A Facebook post by Yhana Ramirez, meanwhile, mentioned that their lolo wants to meet the Olympic gold medalist in person. The said Facebook post was shared on Hidilyn’s Facebook page.