After a year of intensive training in the U.S under a new Ukrainian coach, Olympic skater Michael Martinez has returned to the country ready to give back to the next generation of skaters who want to follow in his footsteps.
"I train at least ten hours a day. Five to six hours on ice, two hours in the gym, one hour dance and one hour workout. I’m eyeing the two Grand Prix, one is the qualifying event for the next Olympics. I usually train in Anaheim Lake Forest and Artesia. A lot of my supporters are from Carson so they just go wherever I go (laughs). Everybody is actually really supportive. The camaraderie there is really great,” he shared during his special performance along with other members of the national skating team at the SM Megamall Skating Rink last June 18.
After being the lone Philippine representative to the Winter Olympics in Russia in 2014, Michael says he has learned a lot as an athlete.
"I did the 2012 Youth Winter Olympics and the 2014 Winter Olympics. After those competitions it made me more mature and really made me think a lot. I don’t know how to say it but I’m just really serious about reaching my dreams and I’m a pretty O.C person (laughs). Now I’ve been taking dance lessons in the U.S on ice and off ice to improve my choreography and dancing skills on ice. The Grand Prix are the biggest tournaments for me and next year will be the World Championship qualifying event for the next Olympics,” he revealed.
During his short stay in the country, Michael looks forward to doing a skating camp in SM Seaside Cebu on June 30 and July 1 where he can share the techniques he learned abroad to his fellow Pinoy skaters.
"After the camp I also have a performance on July 2 with friends who were national team champions last year and then, after that I think we’ll just go fly back to the states. I’m based in Lake Forest in California. The camp is just the start for me to teach the kids here and to impart my knowledge so I just wanted to continue that every year,” he shared.
Having grown up without a father, Michael said he is happy to be able to spend Father’s Day this year with his always supportive mom.
"I guess I’d get her roses because she really loves red roses. On Father’s Day maybe we’ll just do a family reunion and then just eat dinner together and that’s pretty much it,” he said.
Aside from his skating career, the 19-year-old Olympian also wants to pursue his studies again.
"I’m planning to apply to a university for law school. If I wasn’t a skater I guess I would be in school doing law. Law is just really interesting for me to do and ever since I was a kid I would watch shows like CSI and court cases and I found it very interesting. Ever since I was a kid I really wanted to be a lawyer and then I saw ice skating so I got frozen (laughs),” he admitted.
As one of the country’s top athletes, Michael said he just wants to keep inspiring other skaters to keep on pursuing their dreams.
"No matter what happens, whether you have problems like may asthma ka or hindi mo nakukuha yung jump na yun (sa skating) or any problems, know hat you can do it no matter what. If you really love the sport, if you really want that dream to happen, it will happen.”