After being the Philippines’ sole representative to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Japan, Michael Martinez hopes to do the country proud again this year as he improved his standing in the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Boston by placing 19th, compared to last year’s rank best at 21st. While beating his personal best, Michael religiously trains to build his array of technical moves, but carefully plots his strategy to gain maximum points for better standing.
Teresa Martinez, Michael’s mother shared how her son has sacrificed his body for the sport with the goal of bringing home the gold in the next Winter Olympics. “As an elite skater, he’ll always have the pain—chest, shoulder, hip, ankle, knee, back—due to constantly falling on hard ice. If you’re not a tough skater, it will make you think twice about the sport. But Michael is in it to win it. He’s glad to see his improvement in the rink, but looks forward to winning the gold in the long run,” she admitted.
At 19 years old, Michael said that he is a more confident skater now and hopes to inspire more Pinoys to take up the sport. "We have already shown the world that Filipinos can be in the Winter Olympics. I was even the youngest skater in the men’s division in the 2014 Olympics, meaning with dedication and support, it's attainable. And, Filipinos having a natural artistic talent is a big plus in figure skating. Unlike in other sports that's difficult like those requiring height as a physical advantage, etc,” he explained.
Michael said he is hopeful that he can inspire other budding athletes to make it into the Olympics someday. "The frequent question always is that why am I the only (male) skater competing internationally and why there are no other (new) male skaters coming up, even from the novice or junior level. I hope to help and inspire other male skaters to join the sport,” he added.
With his eye already on his next competition, Michael said he wants to always be in a state of training and preparation which includes picking out the next song he wants to include in his routine. "Skating is my passion and I like to be on the ice, and I am grateful that SM is helping me with developing my passion. I like the music ‘Emerald Tiger’ by Vanessa Mae. I suggested it to my choreographer for next season's routine program. Hopefully he'll consider it,” he admitted.
When he is not in the ice rink, Michael indulges in his other hobbies, which includes balloon sculpting. "Also, I draw, I do origami, and photography is one of my hobbies,” he shared.
As of April 2016, Martinez places 27th in the overall world ranking. For more information, visit www.smskating.com.