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How 1 second of doubt could have affected Hidilyn Diaz’s performance in the Olympics

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Hidilyn Diaz’s decisive final lift in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics gave the Philippines its first-ever gold medal in the Summer Games.

But did you know everything could have gone wrong in just one second?

According to JM Encinas’ report on “Stand for Truth,” Hidilyn was battling her own mind prior to her historic performance in Tokyo.

“Day before ng laro ko, may pinabasa sa akin ‘yung sports psychologist ko. Kasi sinasabi ko sa kanya, ‘Doc may problema. Hindi ako naniniwala.’ Natakot ako,” said the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist.

(“A day before my competition, my sports psychologist had me read something. Because I was telling her, ‘Doc, there’s a problem. I don’t have the belief. I got scared.”)

Dr. Karen Trinidad, the sports psychologist, assured her that she is an expert in her craft, having logged over 10,000 hours in her weightlifting journey.

But she was also aware that one moment is all it takes for everything to come crashing down.

“Kasi sa weightlifting kung may one second of doubt ka, meaning ‘no lift’ na ‘yun eh,” Hidilyn said. “And ang taas ng pressure sa Olympics.”

(“In weightlifting, if you have one second of doubt, that already means a ‘no lift.’ And the pressure is high in the Olympics.”)

“One second of doubt, doon papasok na ang bigat nung binubuhat mo,” Doc Karen said.

(“One second of doubt, and you can feel all the weight you’re carrying.”)

In the case of Hidilyn, they had to develop a method which can help train her mind to be stronger. One thing they came up with was self-talk.

“Ang dami kong sinasabi ko before, like ‘Dead lift! Chest out!’ Sinasabi ko sa  sarili ko ano mga execution,” she said.

(“I used to say a lot of things before, like ‘Dead lift! Chest out!’ I tell myself the executions.”)

“Slow fast” is also something that she tried out, but they eventually settled on the term “one motion.”

“‘Yung term na ‘slow fast,’ may transition, so meron dun one second so dun pumapasok ‘yung doubt,” Doc Karen said.

The change worked wonders for Hidilyn.

“Ngayon after ko mag-chest out, dead lift, one motion na, hindi na ako mag-isip ng ‘slow fast,’ tapos chest out then tingin sa taas, may mga ganun eh, tight back. Ngayon one motion na,” she said.

(“Now, after I do chest out, dead lift, it’s one motion, I don’t have to think ‘slow fast,’ then chest out and look up, there were things like that, tight back. Now, it’s one motion.”)

The rest, of course, is history. Hidilyn lifted 127 kg in her final attempt in the women’s 55-kg category, going one kilogram ahead of Chinese rival Liao Qiuyun. It was a weight she had never lifted before, and she pulled it off.

With the words “one motion,” she was able to banish even one second of doubt in her mind. And now, she is an Olympic champion.

—MGP, GMA News

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