MANILA – Filipino ice skater Michael Christian Martinez admitted that he was nervous at first when he underwent the pre-judging in the men’s figure skating at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on Monday.
But the country’s lone representative to Russia still did well in front of the judges at the 12,000-seater Iceberg Skating Palace.
“Nung unang pasok ko po sobrang kaba ko kasi siguro baka magkamali ako… ang daming taong nanonood,” he told ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo in an interview over Skype.
“Kinakabahan ako. pero nung sinabihan ako ng coach pati ng mom ko to ‘calm down, kaya mo ‘yan,’ naging okay naman po ako.”
Martinez said all of the 30 contestants in the men’s figure skating had to go through pre-judging to prove their credentials.
He is also thankful that he did not make any error during his routine.
“Kasi may mga skaters na naglalagay na kaya nila ng four rotations, so tinitingnan ng judges kung kaya nga nila,” he explained. “Buti naman po hindi ako sumablay.”
He explained that judges appraise them based on the flow of their routine and how they execute their jumps and spins with poise.
Martinez started skating at a very young age. Among his accomplishments were a senior international title at the 2012 Crystal Skate of Romania, a fifth-place finish at the 2013 World Junior Championships and a fourth-place finish at the 2013 JGP Latvia.
But it was at the 2013 Nebelhorn Trophy, where he placed seventh, that earned him a qualification for the Winter Olympics.
Martinez said it wasn’t easy for him to reach this point as he and his mother Theresa had to sacrifice a lot to make it to Sochi.
“’Yung hirap talaga ay 'yung everyday training, kung paano mo gagawin yung jump, kung paano mo kukunin 'yung spin, 'yung choreography. Tapos kailangan kaming mag-compete. ‘Pag nagcompete kami, sobrang mahal,” he said, recalling their financial hurdles.
“Lalo na kapag sa ibang bansa kasi dadalhin pa namin 'yung coach, sasagutin 'yung pagkain nya, 'yung hotel, ‘yung airfare. So grabe talaga ang pinagdadaanan namin,” he explained.
Martinez considers his mom his biggest hero, saying she was always there even when some of his coaches neglected their duties.
She also had to leave their family business in the Philippines just to accompany her son overseas.
“Kinailangan naming magpunta sa States para mag-train, e 'yung business po niya nasa Philippines. So kailangang iwan po nya muna 'yun. So grabeng kawalan na namin 'yun sa pamilya,” he explained.
“[Minsan] ‘yung ibang coaches po pinapabayaan lang ako, tapos natalo ako noong isang competition… naging second place ako by one point lang, so 'yung mama ko ‘yung lahat ginawa nya, nag-research siya sa Internet, nagtanong tanong siya. Lahat ginawa ng mom ko,” he added.
If it weren’t for his mother, he admitted that he could have not reached the Olympics.
“Worth it naman,” he said, remembering all their sacrifices. “Sa tingin ko nakita po ni Mama 'yung potential ko nung mag-start akong mag-training.” – With a report from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News