2022 Topical Reporting: Olympics and Paralympics Coverage, Small Newsroom winner

Anatomy of Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal

About the Project

FYT Media’s Atom Araullo, in partnership with The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), published a two-part story on the country’s Olympians and the historic gold performance of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz at the Tokyo Olympics:
Part 1: “Anatomy of Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal”
Part 2: “Anatomy of Gold: Hidilyn Diaz triumphs against all odds”

To further create an interactive experience, a data story was published separately, allowing readers to explore and zoom into the country’s performance in the Olympics and other international sports events as captured by available facts and figures used in the series.

Writer Atom Araullo focused on Diaz and her gold medal finish, a first for the Philippines, as he traced the weightlifter’s origins. He discussed the barriers that make it difficult for athletes in the country to fulfill their potential and test their mettle in the international arena.

Araullo writes with a clear perspective. Diaz’s was not a steady climb. The odds were stacked against an athlete with modest beginnings. But she was determined, mentally focused, and clear-sighted about what it would take to achieve her goal. This, despite systemic constraints and the lack of resources.

The report renders more sharply the critique of the country’s sports program, showing the lack of focus on what needs to be done and calling for the necessary resolve to address the issues systematically and consistently.

Araullo presented a data-driven report with a dramatic narrative in which he wrote seamlessly about Philippine sports participation, how the country’s performance compared with other nations, and the huge investments required to compete. But the personal struggle is the thread that weaves through the report. It is centered on Diaz’s dreams, her hopes to escape poverty, and the odds she overcame as she faced bigger and bigger competition.

Judges Comments

‘Anatomy of Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal’ is an impressive entry that connects Olympic performance to GDP and puts the win of the country’s first Olympic medal into economic context. It is a powerful story told through a personal lens that exhibits an admirable journalistic approach.