Two-time Olympic figure-skater Michael Martinez is training even harder than when he did to prepare for the past two Winter Olympics qualifying events.
With a pair of new skates and new programs developed by his coach, Nikolai Morozov, Martinez said he has been training intensely for the past 3 months.
"He (coach) asked me, 'Do you want to win? Do you want to be different?" I said yes," Martinez said.
"Nicolai was pushing me so so much throughout the day, every day, with the new programs, new choreography. And it's really different. It's intense."
Martinez, who is aiming to make his third appearance at next year's Winter Olympics in Beijing after stints in Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018, has one last chance to do so at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany in September.
"I could definitely say this time, like you know, I understand the sport fully, understand myself, my body and everything else all throughout. And I just really wanted this time to be better for my future for, you know, something to live (for)," he said.
With an Olympic medal in mind, Martinez flew to Russia on Tuesday to take his training to the next level. His goal is to master the quadruple jump for his winning routine.
According to Martinez, the sheer technical value of quads is probably the only way he could compete and possibly land a podium finish.
No Southeast Asian athlete has ever won a Winter Olympic medal, and Martinez aims to be the first.
"Hopefully I'll be able to do the quads a lot easier this time. So I'm really, really excited. And to be able to land a quad in the competition and be the first one for the Philippines would be also amazing," he said.
Martinez, however, said the hardest part about making it to the Olympics is looking for funds. .
His manager set up a GoFundMe page with a goal to raise at least $50,000 so Martinez can make it to the qualifying events in Germany.
"The main goal is really to be able to have the enough training funds for up to at least for the qualifying event, and we're just hoping that when we do qualify hopefully we do have some sponsors coming in and be able to have the enough support for all the way to the Olympics," Martinez said.
Since the launching of the GoFundMe page in April, more than $6,000 have been raised for Martinez. — With a report by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau