MANILA, Philippines - Figure skater Michael Christian Martinez has left Sochi after making history as the first Filipino to compete in the Winter Olympics in Russia, hoping to do better the next time out boosted by the experience and the support he gained in the two-week Games.
It was one impeccable journey on ice as the once asthmatic teener found the thrill and joy skating on malls back home and ended up before the world stage of the Olympics in Sochi.
In a Facebook post yesterday, the 17-year-old skater thanked his supporters in the Philippines and elsewhere and said he will bring all the great memories he had in Sochi.
Aside from the unforgettable competition, he said he will also not forget all the nice people he met and the camaraderie among skaters during their stay in Sochi.
Martinez also thanked the doctors and therapists who attended to him every day during the competition: “Without them I would have not be able to compete. They always tell me that the previous injuries have not healed yet, then I come in with a new one,” he said.
“That’s the skater’s life after all. You see us perform and smile but you don’t see the bumps and bruises hidden beneath our costumes. That’s how much we love skating!” Martinez said.
Based on his profile posted on Sochi 2014 Olympics website, he has been injured at least four times on record. But each time he managed to recover well. He was cut in the thigh by a skate blade in 2009; tore two ligaments in his ankle in 2011; tore the medial collateral ligament in his knee in 2012; and fractured his ankle last year.
In an email sent to The STAR, his mother said the young skater had barely “one and a half month of full training prior to the Olympics versus the many years of preparation of older opponents and yet he managed to defeat 10 veteran skaters.”
Martinez’ performance could have been better last Feb. 14. But his lack of sleep the night before the competition and his migraine took a toll on the free skate, his mother disclosed.
“Although he knew that he was capable of a better free skate, as he had done in the past, he is okay with his 19th place finish in his first Olympics,” Mrs. Martinez told The STAR.
He fell short of his season’s best score of 191+points under the Int’l Skating Union (ISU) record.
In August 2013, Martinez got 210+score in Glacier Falls Summer Classic competition held in the US.
Martinez placed 19th with a final score of 184.25 points last Feb. 14, 20014 at the Iceberg Skating Palace. He made history for tropical Philippines by competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.