Sochi, Russia – Michael Martinez, the lone figure skater from Philippines and the Southeast Asia, has advanced to free skate program in Winter Olympics 2014 with a chance of bringing home a medal.
On Thursday’s short program, zooming gracefully on ice to the tune of Romeo and Juliet by Arthur Fiedler, Martinez had put on hold the breath of millions Southeast Asians for 3 minutes. And he made it to Top 24.
He scored 64.81 (33.31 technical, 31.50 component), and has qualified to compete to the free skate program, along with the rest of Top 24 figure skaters. Hopefully, he qualifies to climb the podium, too.
The 17-year-old Filipino teenager, who hails from a country without snow, had been struggling with asthma in his younger age. Skating seemed to be the cure. So he has been skating for his health — from Mall to Olympics — and who knows… bringing the bacon home — the first Winter Olympics medal.
This is what he had to say about his asthma and skating in an interview at Sochi:
“I couldn’t take up any sport. I tried outdoor sports when I was younger, but I easily got asthma attacks so I stopped.”
“I had asthma maintenance medicine when I started skating, since the cold in the rink makes me sick too. But year after year, my health keeps improving, so my mother fully supported me to continue skating. She said it’s better to spend the money on skating than in the hospital.”
Despite of asthma and financial difficulties, Michael Martinez has been skating in international competitions. Last year in Milan, Italy, he was fifth at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships. He is currently ranked 30th by the International Skating Union.
I know, it’s tough to capture the elusive Olympic medal. But just being there at Sochi Winter Olympics — the Filipinos and Southeast Asians are proud of you Michael.
If you wish to see the video of his Olympic performance (Short Program), please CLICK here.
SNTV spoke to Michael Martinez on Wednesday in Sochi: