MANILA, Philippines — A part from our brave athletes, we have something special to look forward to in the forthcoming 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Our very own Rodolfo Sebastian Carlos, a thyroid cancer survivor, has been chosen to be among the 8,000 inspirational people who will carry the Olympic Flame as it journeys around the United Kingdom.
The Olympic Flame, Torch, and Relay were important elements of the cultural festivals surrounding the Olympic Games of ancient Greece.
The Olympic Flame is lit from the sun’s rays at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, the home of the ancient Games.
After a short relay around Greece, the Flame is delivered to the Host Country. It is transferred from one torchbearer to another, spreading the message of peace, unity, and friendship.
The Flame ends its journey as the last torchbearer lights the cauldron at the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium, marking the official start of the Games. The Flame is extinguished at the Closing Ceremony on the final day of the Games.
Carlos was nominated by his co-workers at the Americas Headquarters of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in Atlanta as one of its 70 global employees with interesting and inspirational backgrounds. They will join the rest of the 8,000 torchbearers who will carry the Olympic Flame around the UK.
Originally from Parañaque City, Carlos flew to the United States in 2001 to pursue graduate studies: an MBA at Boston University and a Master of Management of Hospitality at Cornell University.
He is now working as Manager of Feasibility and Investment Analysis for IHG Americas Headquarters.
In 2008, Carlos was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Carlos recalls that the combined effects of the stress and the cancer treatment rendered him very weak.
Within a year after his first surgery, he became obese and often felt weak and tired. He tried to get back to martial arts training, including Filipino Martial Arts (FMA), to help him rebuild his strength, but his body could not cope with the rigorous training.
Carlos then decided to do a more gentle exercise regimen by doing Hot Yoga for a few months. After regaining a significant amount of strength and flexibility, he decided to challenge himself by training in Olympic Weightlifting. Due to his poor state of health back then, at first he did Olympic Weightlifting movements with an unloaded bar.
He periodically added to the weight on the bar by a few pounds every few weeks. Carlos surprised himself when he could eventually dead-lift 400 lbs. and back-squat 330 lbs. after a year of training.
Since January, 2012, he has competed twice in local Olympic Weightlifting meets — a testament to his full recovery. Very instrumental to Carlos’ recovery are his “three F’s”: Faith in God, Family, and Filipino Martials Arts (FMA).
He strongly credits the mental toughness that he had developed from his exposure to several notable FMA masters and teachers of Kalis Ilustrisimo, Pekiti Tirsia, Lameco, De Campo JDCIO, and Sari-An.
Carlos now plans to rejoin his brother, Dr. Sixto Carlos, in their passion of promoting FMA globally thru Carlos Hermanos FMA (Kalis/Escrima/Arnis). The group has been very active in training various branches of the military, police, and community watch volunteers.
By being a 2012 London Olympics torchbearer, Carlos hopes to accomplish the following:
Serve as an inspiration to the youth of his birth country, the Republic of the Philippines, to keep on chasing after their dreams.
Bring awareness to thyroid cancer and inspire fellow survivors to give support to those who are currently battling this disease.
Promote awareness of Filipino Martial Arts and a lifelong physical culture lifestyle of “living strong.”
Carlos will be passing on the Olympic Torch in Willenhall on June 30, 2012, and hopes to see his fellow Filipinos show their support to all their countrymen chosen to join the relay.
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