Martinez thrilled to meet figure skating idols

By Camille B. Naredo,

Posted at Feb 25 2014 01:23 PM | Updated as of Feb 25 2014 09:23 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino Olympian Michael Christian Martinez left Sochi without a medal but did get a chance to meet and skate with his figure skating idols, including 2013 ISU world champion Patrick Chan of Canada.

The 17-year-old Martinez made his Olympic debut in impressive fashion, qualifying to the medal round of the figure skating event and eventually landing in 19th place overall.

Prior to the competition, he said he was congratulated by his fellow skaters for qualifying and making history for the Philippines as well as Southeast Asia.

“Gulat na gulat sila,” Martinez said in a press conference Sunday when asked about the other Olympic athletes’ reaction to his participation in the Winter Games. “Yung iba, (they asked) if may ice skating rink ba sa Philippines.”

“So ako, (I said), yes, of course. ‘Yung top skaters, lalo na ‘yung Canadian champion, world champion, he congratulated me for making it to the Olympics,” Martinez said, referring to Chan.

Chan bagged the silver in Sochi.

“Tuwang-tuwa ako, grabe ‘yung feeling,” Martinez said. “Hindi ko ine-expect na iko-congratulate niya ako.”

Martinez said it was a dream come true for him to compete against Chan as well as his other figure skating idols in Russia.

“Noong na-meet ko siya (Chan), ang dami kong gustong itanong. Paano niya nagagawa ‘yugn high scores? So tuwang-tuwa ako noong na-meet ko siya,” he said.

Meeting his hero was not the most memorable part of Martinez’ Olympic experience, however. For him, that would be the opening ceremony.

“Noong nag-march ako sa opening ceremony and waved the flag,” he said. “That was a really magical moment for me.”