by Kiko Matsing
An emotional performance from Michael Christian Martinez, lone Filipino athlete at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. He started his skating career at a local mall rink. Love the choice of Bohemian Rhapsody as his program music.
Born in Paranaque City, Martinez was stricken with asthmatic bronchitis at two months old. As a young boy, he struggled with sports because of his asthma attacks.
He got his first glimpse of skating after going to a shopping mall with his mother at age 8. He became mesmerized when he saw skaters spinning and jumping.
By age 12, he was competing in European junior competitions and winning gold without a coach, his mother said.
In 2010, he began training in the United States with coaches including John Nicks and Ilia Kulik, she said.
Martinez splits his time between Manila and Los Angeles.
In 2013, he came in fifth at the world Junior Championships in Milan. He is currently ranked 30th by the International Skating Union.
Olympian at 17
With little support from the government, the family of the Philippines’ lone Winter Olympian Michael Christian Martinez resorted to mortgaging their home to send the 17-year-old to Sochi, Russia as the first Filipino Winter Olympian in 22 years.
It’s a gamble, but the teenager from Paranaque, Manila, Philippines is relying on his faith and family’s support to carry him to the promised land.
“Before there was no one to hold on to, only my mom but no one else,” he told Simone Orendain of the Catholic Register. “So I’m holding on to God. Every competition I ask him for help and confidence and it really works!”
Martinez, 17, and a devout Catholic, is vying to become the first Filipino to medal at the Winter Games, having bested international pre-Olympic tournaments to earn an elusive ticket to to Russia.
(from Rappler, Feb 2014)
Not exactly the Sochi footage. (The IPR police has been scouring YouTube for renegade uploads.) But it’s about the same as what Martinez presented in his short program, where he placed 19th. His Sochi performace was actually more refined. How apropos to use Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet theme the day before Valentines. Love the Venetian costume.