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Olympic Medal For Sale
« on: September 30, 2010, 04:01:37 PM »
By Joaquin Henson, Philippine Star

Anthony Villanueva, the country's first Olympic silver medalist, is down and almost out. He makes a small living as a boxing trainer in Gabriel (Bebot) Elorde's stable but it hardly puts enough food on the table.

So Villanueva, 54, is selling his Olympic medal for $26,000 or roughly P1 Million. He hopes to use the money to start a new life.

Villanueva lost to Stanislav Stepashkin on a highly-disputed split decision in the featherweight finals at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He went on to post a forgettable 4-3 record as a pro then migrated to the US in 1976.

Life in the US wasn't easy. Villanueva worked as a cook in a Mexican restaurant in Massachusetts, as a security guard at the St. Vincent Medical Center in Staten Island and the Philippine Embassy in New York, and taught boxing in private gyms. He returned to Manila in 1988 and was part of the Philippine coaching staff at the Seoul Olympics. But without a guaranteed steady income, he went back to the US.

Villanueva picked up a P200,000 prize from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) as a reward for his 1964 feat last year. He says it took four visits to the PSC office before his check was finally issued.

Villanueva says he's not envious of Onyok Velasco who won the country's only other Olympic silver medal in 1996 but wonders why he's not as revered. Velasco receives a P7,000 lifetime monthly pension from the PSC -- Villanueva gets nothing.

"Iba ako kay Onyok," he says. "Hindi ko pa siya natatagpuan. Bakit siya lang ang nakakuha ng malaking biyaya? Ako rin may silver medal. Hindi siya nakatikim ng dugo sa laban. Noong lumaban ako sa Tokyo, wala kaming headgear at sugat-sugat ang aking mukha. Walang comparison kami ni Onyok."

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Re: Olympic Medal For Sale
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2010, 10:15:38 PM »
 :-\
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