Michael Christian Martinez of the Philippines holds up a jacket at the "kiss and cry" area after his figure skating men's short program at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
MANILA – Filipino skater Michael Martinez, whose inspiring story has gained widespread attention, is seeking to make a respectable finish in the men’s figure skating medal round in the Winter Olympics on Friday.
Maria Calaguas, member of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) delegation to Sochi, said they hope Martinez gets to rank at least 10th or 12th in the free program.
“If he can get a good score… [then] at least he can make it to the 10th,” said Calaguas. “If even higher, then that would be better of course.”
Martinez, country’s lone representative to Sochi, Russia, made history after becoming the first Southeast Asian ever to qualify in the finals of the Winter Olympics men’s figure skating.
He garnered a component score of 31.50 and technical score of 33.31 for a total of 64.81 points in the short program, which is good enough to place him among the top 24 competitors.
Sports commentators described Martinez as “history in the making.”
"I think he has a big future because he doesn't train as much in the Philippines, but he actually does still skate at home," said one commentator after watching Martinez perform his routine.
His story has also gained the attention of foreign media.
"His spins were good, the rest of the program nicely skated. Most importantly, he didn’t look like a 17-year-old making his Olympic debut," wrote Tim Dahlberg of the Associated Press.
“In 2 minutes and 39 seconds, Martinez showed he belonged.”
Even before he competed, CNN.com came up with a story citing Martinez’s dedication to the sport amid his financial struggles.
"His mother told CNN in an email that the family patched together donations from a local shopping mall ice rink, friends and his skating club. She said the family's life saving has been depleted and that their family's farm in Luzon province had been damaged by typhoons last year," reported CNN's Madison Park.
Netizens also celebrated after seeing Martinez qualify for the medal round.
“Laban ka bro at enjoy mu lang yan para dka kakabahan..isipin mu na marami kaming nanunuod sa t.v na sumusuporta at nagdarasal na magawa mu ang gusto mung gawin mamaya. GO FOR OLYMPIC GOLD,MAKE A OLYMPIC HISTORY BOY,” said Hisashi Mitsui.
“My heart, tears and prayers goes to this boy, I'm so proud of you! God bless you and your family,” said Jael Christia Manangkil-Ramos.
“I was teary eyed seeing ur prrformance... wow.. somehow u have uplifted the Filipino spirit amidst all the issues happening here..Good luck and God Bless u Michael Martinez..Go for the Gold!” said Chiradee Ann Gaddi Fronda.
“Congratulations for a job well done.khit di tau mkkuha ng gold proud p din kmi sau Mr. Martinez .thanks for representing our country the Philippines. Dpt yn ang cnosuportahan gov't ntin ung ngbibigay krangalan s ating bansa at hindi ung ngbibigay ng khihiyan. Mga politicians pkiusap lng po n sna throw your support to our athletes, tgumpay nila tgumpay nyo din. We are 1.We are all Filipino. Peace...,” said Jayson Feria Untalan.