Norwegian figure skater champion Camilla Gjersem, and her Pinay mom, Perlina Bangug Gjersem from Ilagan, Isabela/Macel Ingles
ASKER, Norway – While her twin sister is competing for an Olympic medal in figure skating for Norway in Sochi, Camilla Gjersem is preparing herself for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
The Filipina-Norwegian hopes to see the Olympic qualifier and fellow figure skater Michael Christian Martinez there.
Gushing over Martinez, Gjersem told ABS-CBN Europe that she considers Martinez a good talent and that she hopes "we can be there (at the Olympics) together."
"He is a really good skater. He has good skating skills and his jumps are excellent. He has improved much over the past couple of years and he has good results in the Junior and World Championships. He has earned a spot in the Olympics. It's really huge," Gjersem said.
She also gave an advice to Martinez who, like her and her sister Anne Line, is already preparing for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
"Many skaters often going to the States to practice because there are many skaters there, it is easier to improve with other skaters but I understand it might be difficult because you need resources to go there but anyway he is a hardworking boy and I know he can do it," she said.
Gjersem and Martinez had met several times in various international competitions in Europe. The Gjersem sisters consider him to be "very nice" and "down-to-earth."
She and her mom, Perlina Bangug Gjersem, are both hopeful that Anne Line would make it in the finals, as she competes for a spot at the long program on Wednesday, 4 p.m. Norwegian time.
Asked how it feels to be the mother of an Olympic qualifier, Perlina said that she is "very proud and very, very happy (for her daughter).
She also has this message to her daughter: "Be happy. Be yourself and enjoy the moments of being in Sochi."
She also said that even if her daughters are competing under the Norwegian flag, she knows that her daughters are both "Filipinas by heart" and make good ambassadors for both the Philippines and Norway.
Camilla added, "I really hope that the Philippines can see that she (Anne Line) is also from the Philippines and although we are born in Norway, we have the Philippines in our hearts."
Asked about her daughters' favorite Filipino foods, Perlina said that she gets requests from the girls to make "sinigang" and "tinola."
Perlina also talked about being happy for Michael Christian Martinez's showing at the Olympics and said that she has also met him and his mom in the international competitions.
Despite impressions that her daughters get a lot of support from Norway, Gjersem said that her family has to sacrifice a lot to get them to where they are by paying for most of their training and expenses. They even had to postpone trips to the Philippines so that the girls can practice and participate in competitions abroad.
"We got support from the (Skating) Federation and Olympiatoppen (a training program for figure skaters to qualify for the Olympics), but our main sponsors have always been our parents. Without them, we will not be where we are today," Camilla added.
Anne Line has moved to Malmo, Sweden to follow her German coach who is based there, while Camilla opted to stay with her Polish coach to prepare for the Olympics in 2018.
Camilla, like her sister, is a three-time consecutive Norwegian champion in figure skating since 2012, but lost the spot in the Olympics to her sister. She said that her sister really did a good job in her competitions and had been very consistent in her performances.
She also credits her sister's "mental toughness" and her ability to deliver when it matters.
"Her goal in the Olympics is to be among the 24 top skaters in the short program and hope that she makes a clean program (no falls) so that she can compete in the finals," Camilla said.
To her sister, she had this to say, "Stay focused and just enjoy the performance. Do (your) best and hope that it will be enough to qualify for the finals."
Anne Line has scored 48.56 points during the short program, landing her on the 24th spot out of 30 skaters.