UPDATE: MICHAEL MARTINEZ QUALIFIES FOR THE FINALS OF THE FIGURE SKATING COMPETITION (2-14-2014)

MICHAEL CHRISTIAN MARTINEZ is the lone delegate of the Philippines to the SOCHI 2014 Olympic Winter Games held in Russia.  He competes for the Figure Skating Games scheduled on February 13 and 14.

Michael Martinez

Here are some of commentators reactions to Michael’s performance during the qualifying round (2-13-2014):

“Here is history in the making… very flexible skater, the first ever from the Philippines. He’s the first Filipino to have ever landed a triple axle in competition, very charismatic performer,” said the female commentator before Martinez began performing to the tune of Arthur Fielder’s Romeo and Juliet.

Michael completed several triple axles, a triple loop, and the “Mr. Frick Move,” which had himself leaning backwards to the ice.

“Well, that was fantastic, until the early on we’ve been treated to some wonderful performance. I said it was gonna be good. To be honest, I think it was gonna be quite this good,” said the male commentator.

Marking the return of the Philippines to the Olympic Winter Games after a 22-year hiatus and also its first Olympic participation in Russia after not attending the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympic Games, Michael has gone through great lengths even with little support from the Philippine government just to participate and represent the country in Sochi this year.

Let’s get to know more about this very young Winter Olympian:

  • Michael Martinez is a seventeen year-old figure Ice Skater.  Born on the 4th of November, 1996 and is a native of the City of Paranaque and Muntinlupa, south of Metro Manila, Philippines.
  • His first taste of the Ice Skating floor was in 2005 at the SM Southmall Ice Skating Rink.
  • Michael won his first senior international title at the 2012 Crystal Skate of Romania, the first figure skating title ever won by  the Philippines.
  • As a skater in training, Michael has many battle scars including a torn ligament in the knee and a broken ankle but that did not stop him from skating.
  • Michael is the first southeast Asian to ever entered in an Olympic-Level Figure Skating competition.
  • Michael will compete with 29 other top figure skaters in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
  • He is ranked as the 28th Best Senior-Level Figure Skaters in the World.
  • Michael is also the first Figure Skater to hold a nation’s flag during the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

Entering his final two months of preparation for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Michael Martinez admitted he was already feeling the heat.

“My training is not yet complete,” said Michael in an interview after a training session at the skating rink of the SM Mall of Asia. “I need four hours with a coach, but we can only afford one hour. We lack the budget.”

The absence of government support compelled Michael to seek sponsors elsewhere.  His biggest supporters so far are SM which donated Php 1 million for his training and other expenses related to his Olympic participation and Manny V. Pangilinan. 

But Michael’s main supporter is his mother, Teresa, who accompanies him in his training and competitions abroad.  She also knows first-hand how much the pursuit of Olympic gold can cost.

“It will cost you half-a-million pesos per competition.  You also pay for the airfare and hotel of the coach who charges $400 a day,” Teresa recounted, adding that Michael has already competed five times in 2013.  “One of his coaches in the US charges $100 an hour, he has an Olympic coach that charges $150 an hour, and a choreographer that charges $130.”

Ms. Teresa said that adding ice time, the daily cost of training could easily amount to $500-600.

The need for the coaches could not be stressed enough as Michael is yet to learn a crucial skill – quad jumps – a jumping technique with four revolutions.  His Filipino coach Ted Domingo underscored the necessity of training abroad.

“We’re talking about high level competition.  In the Philippines, we still don’t have that kind of training,” he said.

The Philippines has yet to win an Olympic gold, and winning one in figure skating, would be sweeter.  But Michael needs more than just a dream.  He, along with other ‘pinoy’ athletes needs the support of fellow Filipinos and most specially the Philippine government.

Catch Filipino figure skater Michael Christian Martinez perform in the February 13 eliminations with the hope of making it to the finals this February 14 on TV5.

UPDATE: MICHAEL MARTINEZ QUALIFIES FOR THE FINALS OF THE FIGURE SKATING COMPETITION (2-14-2014)

Aside from Michael, global pinoys Gilmore Junio, representing Canada, will be participating in the Men’s 500 meter (Feb 10) and Men’s 1000 meter Speed Skating (Feb 12).  Meanwhile, JR Celski of the United States will be participating in 4 short track events – 500 meter, 1000 meter, 1500 meter and 5000 meter relay – happening at various days of February.

Sports5, the production arm of TV5, have Aaron Atayde, Anthony Suntay and Patricia Bermudez-Hizon as broadcast presenters from the TV5 Olympic Center in Novaliches, Quezon City.  TV5 is also present in Sochi, Russia with James Velasquez and Chiqui Roa Puno giving Filipino viewers daily updates and features of the prestigious sports event.

TV5 delivers live and delayed coverage through AksyonTV and Hyper, the 24/7 sports channel.  The Winter Olympics is also available online and mobile platforms in partnership with PLDT Home Fibr, SMART and digital satellite provider, Cignal.

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