Swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi On The Legacy of an Olympian
Sports

More Than Medals: Veteran Swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi On The Legacy of an Olympian

Jasmine wears a CHARINA SARTE cutout dress. Photographed by Mark Nicdao for the July 2024 Issue of Vogue Philippines.

Looking back on her illustrious career, Olympic swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi believes that winning doesn’t make you strong—it’s the mental and moral fortitude it takes to get there that does.

After one year of competitive swimming, Jasmine Alkhaldi, who was then six-years-old, walked up to her coach, demanding to know the highest achievement possible in the sport. She needed a goal.

“It’s crazy how I remember it to this day,” she muses. Coach gave her the general outline: make the national team, win international games, and, then, qualify for the Olympics. “I knew it in my heart, which was so weird. I just said, okay. I’m gonna go to the Olympics. Then I smiled, and I walked away.” 

From then on, her goals were set. She jokes that the little girl was not, in fact, prepared for what was up ahead. But well over two decades later, Alkhaldi achieved all that she sought out to do. 

“One thing about me is I don’t know how to quit,” the 30-year-old laughs. A two-time Olympian, 29-time SEA Games medalist, and holder of several Philippine women’s swimming records, the veteran swimmer doesn’t carry these titles lightly. “At the end of the day, it’s more than medals. It’s [about] how you present yourself.” 

This, she knows by heart. 

Olympic swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi wears a FENDI draped top. Photographed by Mark Nicdao for the July 2024 Issue of Vogue Philippines.

In the 2013 Southeast Asian Games, Alkhaldi recalls being stripped of what was supposed to be her first gold medal for the Philippines at the wake of a technical mistake. An extra sound at the start of the race reportedly resulted in a false start for a number of the competitors. Eyes puffy from the night before and stubborn against all advice, she was determined to show up for the re-match. “They told me not to go but tinapangan ko loob ko. Philippine team ako eh. (They told me not to go, but I gathered my courage. I’m on the Philippine team, after all.)” 

So, she swam. When Alkhaldi touched the wall, looked up, and saw that she landed third place, she couldn’t help but celebrate. The gold turned into bronze, but she came home with a feat she deems as her biggest accomplishment to date. 

“Besides making the Olympics, that is the happiest I have ever been in my sporting career,” she reflects. “It was a little sad that I didn’t get the gold, but a lot of competitors came up to me after that [to express their respect] that, yes, you didn’t win, but you still stood up there. Knowing that everyone’s against you, you still went for it.”

“Being an athlete and a woman, you’re gonna go through so many failures and disappointments,” Alkhaldi explains. “But what makes you follow through and what makes you reach your goal is getting up after you fall. That’s where strength is.”

This month, Vogue Philippines pays tribute to stories of grit, determination, and the pursuit of excellence. Below, meet more of the athletes who continue to shatter the glass ceiling of sports.

CHAMPIONS: OLYMPIANS, SPORTSMEN, AND WOMEN

Vogue Philippines: July 2024 Issue

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By BIANCA CUSTODIO, NANA CARAGAY, PATRICIA VILLORIA Photographs by MARK NICDAO Beauty Editor JOYCE OREÑA Fashion Director PAM QUIÑONES. Stylists: David Milan, Steven Coralde of Qurator Studio. Makeup: Angeline dela Cruz, Bea Mocorro, Janica Cleto, and Japeth Purog of Estée Lauder Philippines, Nadynne Esguerra. Hair: JA Feliciano and Kyle Velasco, Jessica Riva and Noel Muncada of Toni&Guy Philippines, Mong Amado. Art Director: Jann Pascua. Producer: Anz Hizon. Bookings Associate: Bianca Zaragoza. Beauty Writer: Bianca Custodio. Nails: Extraordinail. Photographer’s Assistants: Arsan Sulser Hofileña, Crisaldo Soco, John Phillip Nicdao, Villie James Bautista. Stylist’s Assistants: Geno Karlo, Kyla Uy, Ticia Almazan. Shot on location at Balay Kobo and Vogue Studios. Special thanks to VMG Asia
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