Four years ago, in the Russian city of Sochi, A Filipino made history by showing up for the 2014 Olympics. Why? Because it was the Winter Olympics then, comprised of various winter sports involving ice and snow, the latter not being present in the Philippines at all. But Michael Christian Martinez was not going to keep something like that from doing what he liked, what he did best, for the country. He placed well below the Olympic medal rounds, but his star was now visible. And in South Korea this year, Michael Martinez will skate for Olympic Gold once more.
CNN Philippines reports that Michael Martinez, now 21, is raring to skate for glory at Pyeongchang in South Korea, host of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. This is extremely heartwarming for the skating Olympian idol of the country, especially considering that, under normal circumstances he should not be going at all. He had competed in last year’s qualifying event, the 2017 CS Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, but placed 8th and failed to make the cut. Good fortune struck last month in January when men’s 3rd placer Sweden bowed out of contention, and their Olympic spot was given to Martinez.
Any description of excitement on the part of Martinez that he would be skating for a second Winter Olympics in a row would come off as an understatement now. In a past interview with the CNN Philippines Sports Desk, he shared his good feelings for the upcoming games saying, “Training has been amazing. I am pretty excited to perform my old program from last season which is ‘Emerald Tiger’ which a lot of people love.”
In addition to being the first Filipino Winter Olympian in 2014, Michael Martinez was the first from Southeast Asia, and from a tropical country, to have qualified for this major multinational winter sporting event. He had marched as the sole athlete of the Filipino contingent in Sochi, making him by necessity the proud flag-bearer of the nation. After placing 19th in the short program to qualify for the men’s free skate segment, Martinez ultimately finished again in the 19th spot. Having grown older and even more experienced since then, the Filipino skating hero is out to do the country proud once more in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, the opening ceremony of which takes place Friday, February 9.
Photo courtesy of notey.com