see…amidts the nearing futility of our government’s campaign of garnering a single medal in the Olympics, nanalo rin pala tayo, ‘di nga lang sa boxing, taek or track…ICE SKATING! hahahaha! ok no? read on!

Tropical RP bags gold, world crown — in ice skating

The Philippine Star 08/24/2004

Here’s one Philippine contingent that struck gold.

Two years too early for the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, skaters from the SM Philippines ice skating team brought home an impressive 90 golds, 62 silvers and 26 bronze medals to top this year’s Ice Skating Institute of America (ISIA) World Championships in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The SM team, which included 43 skaters from the SM Megamall and SM Southmall rinks, scored 776.5 points to beat 88 teams from the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Mexico and the United States, which fielded teams from 24 states.

It was an emotional moment when SM first vice president Ric Camaligan received the trophy for the Philippine team. The audience gave a standing ovation to the team, which defied many odds, including an improbable climate.

The White Bear Lake Sports team from the US placed second with 686.3 points while the Plymouth Ice Center took third place with 647.8 points.

What made the victory of the contingent from a tropical country more remarkable was that it was the first by a non-US team since the ISIA was organized in 1959.

The Filipino skaters’ participation can be compared to the experience of the Jamaican bobsledding team in the 1988 Calgary Olympic Winter Games, which became the subject of the 1993 Disney comedy movie “Cool Runnings.”

But unlike the Jamaican team — which finished last — the Philippine skaters stamped their class in the Minnesota competitions.

Among the standouts in the team were Cara Naomi Damian, who brought home three gold, four silver and three bronze medals, and Bien Bergonia who garnered two gold, five silver and five bronze medals.

Other skaters who won multiple medals were Dale Feliciano (four golds and two silver medals), Celine Gabrielle Gabrieta (three golds, two silvers and one bronze), Jazz Ashley Tulda (three golds and two silvers), Marc Camaligan (three golds and one silver), Arlene Cariño (three golds and one silver), Francesca Recasata (three golds and two silvers), Danica Icanranom (four golds) and Roxanne Puno (three gold medals).

The Champion’s trophy brought home by the SM team features a transparent globe mounted on a miniature Phantom Skate Blade, a brand of ice skates said to be favored by Olympic competitors.

This year was the 11th time that SM, which also participates in Asian competitions, sent a delegation to the ISIA World Competition. With one exception, all 43 skaters learned to skate from formal lessons at the SM Megamall and SM Southmall ice skating rinks.