Philippine Catholic bishops congratulated the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, not only for her victory but for her show of faith and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Diaz’s triumph came in the women’s 55-kilogram weightlifting event on July 26. She also set an Olympic record after lifting a combined weight of 224 kilograms.
After completing her final lift in a very close competition, Diaz held her hands to her face, burst into tears and clutched at her Miraculous Medal of the Blessed Virgin Mary hanging from her neck.
“Thank you, Lord, thank you Lord,” she cried repeatedly after the winning lift.
Later on the podium at the medals ceremony, Diaz pointed heavenward after singing the Philippine national anthem, then made the Sign of the Cross before stepping down and shouting “Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!” (“Long live the Philippines!”)
Diaz’s inspirational victory and public display of her Catholic faith touched the hearts of church leaders and Filipino Catholics watching from home and quickly went viral on social media.
“We admire her devotion to the Blessed Mother as she carried in her victory her great faith in God,” said Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the country’s bishops’ conference. “Hidilyn is a true weightlifter who draws her strength from her love for the country and her deep Catholic faith.”
Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila said Diaz has given inspiration to all Filipinos.