Gillian Akiko Thomson-Guevara

Board Chairperson

Akiko Thomson Swim School
Philippine Olympians Association

Akiko was a national swimmer of the Philippines for 10 years, competing in 5 Southeast Asian Games (winning 7 gold medals) and 3 Olympics. She has always been involved in sport in one capacity or another (as a proud volunteer and official) and is currently the President of the Philippine Olympians Association.

After graduating from the University of California Berkeley with a degree in Anthropology and Theater, she worked in the media for 7 years as a host of the sports show Gameplan and then as a reporter for the Probe Team. She went on to pursue her MBA at the Ateneo Graduate School as well as a Masters in Sports Management from the MEMOS program of IDHEAP, in Switzerland.

Akiko, as she is more commonly known, was a commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission for 8 years and has been running a swim school with her husband, Chips, since 2011.

Akiko is the proud mama of 3 active “chicks”. After the birth of her 3rd child Sachiko, who was born with Down Syndrome, Akiko knew she would have an advocacy in the Special needs world somewhere down the road. When the Special Olympics opportunity presented itself, it was the perfect mix of 2 loves—sports and special needs—and there was no way she could say “no”.

Akiko looks forward to learning firsthand what sports can do/has done for our special needs athletes, and what their unique challenges are. While she knows fully well the benefits of sport, somehow it’s in a slightly different context now.

Akiko hopes to see Special Olympics Pilipinas grow even more, to provide more awareness about the importance of inclusivity, to make important connections so that our athletes have more opportunities to engage in sport and to excel. To be the best they can be, and to be active and valued participants in society.

To Akiko inclusion is saying “yes”, welcoming the other into the fold knowing fully they have just as much to contribute, and we, have just as much to learn from them. Inclusion is recognizing the richness of diversity, being willing to learn and engage, and focusing on what connects rather than what divides.