OLYMPIC SKATER MICHAEL MARTINEZ GETS ROUSING WELCOME FROM FANS

Olympic skater Michael Martinez came home to a grand welcome yesterday after a dramatic 22-day
journey in Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Martinez arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on board flight EK 332 from Russia along with his mother, Maria Theresa. The flight arrived an hour late, but Martinez’s fans patiently waited for their idol and gave him a rousing welcome when he emerged from the tube of the plane. Martinez, 17, brought honor to the country by being the first skater from the Philippines, a tropical zone, and Southeast Asia to qualify for the Olympics. He made a remarkable 19th place finish, a big jump from his 30th rank upon qualifying for the Olympics among thousands of aspirants. From the airport, a brief motorcade organized by the Pasay City government and the SM Mall of Asia management was held for Martinez shortly before 6 p.m. At the Mall of Asia, fans patiently stood in the glass partition down the ground floor and steel railing up to the second level of the ice skating rink – all hoping to see Olympic figure skater in person. Shaking off the jetlag, greeted throngs of fans and supporters at the mall. The SM Group later feted Martinez with gifts and surprises.

ALSO: Martinez returns home, receives hero's welcome

For a couple of extra hours, eager fans patiently stood in the glass partition down the ground floor and steel railing up in the second level of the Mall of Asia Ice Skating Rink hoping to see Olympic figure skater Michael Christian Martinez in person. It was worth the wait. After a 50-minute delay following a long flight from Moscow, Russia, Martinez finally arrived and received a hero's welcome befitting someone who made the whole country proud with his participation in the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Mindless of the jetlag, Martinez was honored with a motorcade that went through parts of Manila, Makati and Pasay City before proceeding to MOA where throngs of media men and hordes of fans await. Apart from the money he had already received from generous donors including the $10,000 from sports philantrophist Manny V. Pangilinan, the 17-year-old Martinez received more blessings, from being given the key to the city of Pasay, to a lifetime privilege at all SM's skating rinks to another $10,000 from SM big boss Hans Sy. Martinez thanked all of them and all the Filipinos who cheered and prayed for him in Sochi where he was the only Southeast Asian who performed there. He also took the opportunity to share all the accolades he has received to fellow Olympians before him. "I share this honor to all the Filipino Olympians before me," said Martinez, who was accompanied by mother Maria Teresa, Phl Skating Union chief Pochollo Veguillas, Sy and other sports and local officials during the presser. Barely settling in the country, Martinez said he is set to leave in a couple of weeks to join the World Juniors Championship from March 13 to 15 in Bulgaria as part of his preparation for the next Winter Olympics in Pyongchang, South Korea four years from now. And Sy said they are ready to give more support to Martinez. "We are ready to give more support to him (Martinez) to make sure he gives us more reasons to be proud of in the Olympics," he said.

ALSO: Michael Martinez almost withdrew from Sochi

The country's new sports inspiration, figure skater Michael Martinez, is happy to be coming home on Sunday to even just for a short four-day visit. Before leaving Sochi, the 17-year-old athlete sent a message of thanks for his memorable Olympic debut. "Aside from the unforgettable competition I can not forget all the nice people I met here and the camaraderie among skaters," he said in his Facebook page. Martinez also gave special thanks to the medical team in Sochi who helped him get through the compettiion. Michael's mother Teresa revealed that her son was almost forced to withdraw from the Olympics after a bad fall during practice a few days before the figure skating event. "Thanks too to the doctors and therapists who attended to me everyday. Without them I would have not been able to compete. They always tell me that the previous injuries have not healed yet, then I come in with a new one," the skater said on Facebook. An x-ray after the fall showed a fractured hip but Martinez and his mom refused to quit. "Bumagsak siya sa triple jump sa practice. Ang sabi sa amin ng doctor fractured hip. PIna-check ko ulit sa tatlong doctor doon sa Sochi. Buti nalang nakuha sa therapy. Araw araw ang therapy niya sa Sochi," Mrs. Martinez said. Mrs. Martinez said her son has suffered so many injuries like a sprained ankle and a twisted knee because of the hard falls on the ice but they refused to let it get them down.


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Martinez gets rousing welcome from fans


Olympic skater Michael Martinez is greeted by fans at the SM Mall of Asia yesterday. VAL RODRIGUEZ

MANILA, FEBRUARY 24, 2014 (PHILSTAR)  By Joey Villar-  Olympic skater Michael Martinez came home to a grand welcome yesterday after a dramatic 22-day journey in Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Martinez arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on board flight EK 332 from Russia along with his mother, Maria Theresa.

The flight arrived an hour late, but Martinez’s fans patiently waited for their idol and gave him a rousing welcome when he emerged from the tube of the plane.

Martinez, 17, brought honor to the country by being the first skater from the Philippines, a tropical zone, and Southeast Asia to qualify for the Olympics.

He made a remarkable 19th place finish, a big jump from his 30th rank upon qualifying for the Olympics among thousands of aspirants.

From the airport, a brief motorcade organized by the Pasay City government and the SM Mall of Asia management was held for Martinez shortly before 6 p.m.

At the Mall of Asia, fans patiently stood in the glass partition down the ground floor and steel railing up to the second level of the ice skating rink – all hoping to see Olympic figure skater in person.

Shaking off the jetlag, greeted throngs of fans and supporters at the mall.

The SM Group later feted Martinez with gifts and surprises.

It was at the mall’s ice skating rinks where the athlete learned his fancy moves, among them his famous rendition of the Biellman spin – a technique that only he executed among all the participants – showcasing his grace and flexibility.

SM Prime Holdings, Inc. president Hans Sy came up with the biggest surprise by awarding Martinez with a $10,000 cheque from SM Foundation, Inc.

Martinez thanked his fans and supporters who he said gave him the strength to pursue his dream. He also took the opportunity to share the accolades he gained with fellow Olympians before him.

"I share this honor to all the Filipino Olympians before me," said Martinez, who was accompanied by mother Maria Teresa, Phl Skating Union chief Pochollo Veguillas, Sy and other sports and local officials during the press conference.

SM also gave Martinez a Lifetime Skating Privilege which allows him to skate for free at any of SM’s skating rinks. Martinez was also presented with a Global Pinoy Card.

SM said it believes in rewarding every hardworking Filipino who has achieved success abroad. The Global Pinoy Centers count Filipino stars such as Martinez and Manny Pacquiao as honorary cardholders and all other hardworking overseas Filipino workers who have sacrificed to make life better for their loved ones and for their country.

Martinez also received various presents from other SM companies such as gift certificates and cash cards from The SM Store, SM Supermarket, China Banking Corp. and a free three-day and two-night accommodation at SM's heritage Taal Vista Hotel.

Today, Martinez’s fans can catch him dazzle on the ice as he gives a special performance at SM Southmall at 4 p.m.

Fans and friends will also have a chance to meet and greet Martinez as he performs tomorrow at the Mall of Asia at 12 noon and at SM Megamall at 4 p.m.

Next stop: Bulgaria

Martinez's sweet homecoming, however, will be cut short because he will soon head to Sofia, Bulgaria where he is set to compete in the prestigious World Junior Figure Skating Championships to be held from March 10-16.

He ranked fifth overall in the same competition last year.

Sy reiterated his continuing support to Martinez.

"We are ready to give more support to him to make sure he gives us more reasons to be proud of in the Olympics," said Sy.

Martinez aims to earn a medal this time following his experience at the Winter Olympics.

From Bulgaria, Martinez will train in the United States for the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Championship series which will start in August.

194 medals, trophies

As a child, Martinez frequented SM Southmall in Las Piñas and later the SM Mall of Asia for figure skating competitions despite frequent bouts of asthma.

From the time he started skating at eight years old, Martinez has garnered 194 medals and trophies from various international and local competitions.

He clinched seventh place at the 2013 Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany that qualified him for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Through the years, SM and the SM-sponsored Philippine Skating Union have conducted several figure skating competitions that have helped mould international champions like Martinez.

The excellence demonstrated by skaters especially during competitions is a mark of quality that the SM Skating Rink can provide with its world-class venue and facilities.

Property conglomerate SM Prime Holdings, Inc. operates skating rinks through SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Inc. at the SM Mega Fashion Hall in Mandaluyong, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay, and SM Southmall in Las Piñas.

Another commendation

Meanwhile, Sen. Grace Poe has also filed a resolution to commend Martinez.

Under Senate Resolution No. 517, Poe hailed Martinez for “raising the Philippine flag in the global sporting event with courage and bringing honor to a tropical nation in a sport hardly known to most Filipinos.”

Apart from Poe, Senate Deputy Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III had filed a resolution to honor Martinez.

The city council of Muntinlupa, Martinez’s hometown, has earlier passed a resolution recognizing his feat.

Apart from the citation, Martinez will also be awarded a P100,000-reward. - With Christina Mendez, Perseus Echeminada

Martinez returns home, receives hero's welcome By Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 23, 2014 - 8:00pm 9 111 googleplus0 0


Michael Christian Martinez

MANILA, Philippines -- For a couple of extra hours, eager fans patiently stood in the glass partition down the ground floor and steel railing up in the second level of the Mall of Asia Ice Skating Rink hoping to see Olympic figure skater Michael Christian Martinez in person.

It was worth the wait.

After a 50-minute delay following a long flight from Moscow, Russia, Martinez finally arrived and received a hero's welcome befitting someone who made the whole country proud with his participation in the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Mindless of the jetlag, Martinez was honored with a motorcade that went through parts of Manila, Makati and Pasay City before proceeding to MOA where throngs of media men and hordes of fans await.

Apart from the money he had already received from generous donors including the $10,000 from sports philantrophist Manny V. Pangilinan, the 17-year-old Martinez received more blessings, from being given the key to the city of Pasay, to a lifetime privilege at all SM's skating rinks to another $10,000 from SM big boss Hans Sy.

Martinez thanked all of them and all the Filipinos who cheered and prayed for him in Sochi where he was the only Southeast Asian who performed there.

He also took the opportunity to share all the accolades he has received to fellow Olympians before him.

"I share this honor to all the Filipino Olympians before me," said Martinez, who was accompanied by mother Maria Teresa, Phl Skating Union chief Pochollo Veguillas, Sy and other sports and local officials during the presser.

Barely settling in the country, Martinez said he is set to leave in a couple of weeks to join the World Juniors Championship from March 13 to 15 in Bulgaria as part of his preparation for the next Winter Olympics in Pyongchang, South Korea four years from now.

And Sy said they are ready to give more support to Martinez.

"We are ready to give more support to him (Martinez) to make sure he gives us more reasons to be proud of in the Olympics," he said.

Martinez was particularly vocal of his gratitude to Sy and SM where he started as a wide-eyed eight year old dreaming of the Olympics.

With sheer hardwork and determination, Martinez worked his way through all the challenges that he faced, qualified in Sochi and, as the youngest of all men's participants, finished 19th overall out of the 24 who made the medal round.

He left the country an ordinary figure skater and went home a hero.

FROM ABS-CBN

Michael Martinez almost withdrew from Sochi By Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News Posted at 02/23/2014 11:39 AM | Updated as of 02/23/2014 11:39 AM

MANILA -- The country's new sports inspiration, figure skater Michael Martinez, is happy to be coming home on Sunday to even just for a short four-day visit.

Before leaving Sochi, the 17-year-old athlete sent a message of thanks for his memorable Olympic debut.

"Aside from the unforgettable competition I can not forget all the nice people I met here and the camaraderie among skaters," he said in his Facebook page.

Martinez also gave special thanks to the medical team in Sochi who helped him get through the compettiion.

Michael's mother Teresa revealed that her son was almost forced to withdraw from the Olympics after a bad fall during practice a few days before the figure skating event.

"Thanks too to the doctors and therapists who attended to me everyday. Without them I would have not been able to compete. They always tell me that the previous injuries have not healed yet, then I come in with a new one," the skater said on Facebook.

An x-ray after the fall showed a fractured hip but Martinez and his mom refused to quit.

"Bumagsak siya sa triple jump sa practice. Ang sabi sa amin ng doctor fractured hip. PIna-check ko ulit sa tatlong doctor doon sa Sochi. Buti nalang nakuha sa therapy. Araw araw ang therapy niya sa Sochi," Mrs. Martinez said.

Mrs. Martinez said her son has suffered so many injuries like a sprained ankle and a twisted knee because of the hard falls on the ice but they refused to let it get them down.

After qualifying for the Olympics last September they were not going to quit even with a fractured hip. Martinez endured the pain to fulfill his Olympic skating dream.

Mrs. Martinez said her son could have performed better had he trained longer for the Olympics and not just the two months they did in the US and Russia.

The sacrifice and commitment of Mrs. Martinez is admirable, as she did everything she could to get her son the best training using her own resources.

But now they are praying for support to be able to really aim and train for a medal at the 2018 Olympics.

Mrs. Martinez is as much a champion as her son. She coached him until she could get a better coach. She used up funds from her farming business, borrowed money and solicited support so her son can get better training in the US and finally Russia.

There are so many stories of Filipino athletes striving and giving their all to get to their dream but few like Martinez make it. He is only 17 and young enough to compete in the next two Olympics.

Here are some tidbits on Martinez's inspiring story and his road to the Winter Olympics in 2018:

1. Michael Martinez almost pulled out of the Olympics a few days before the preliminary competition due to fractured hip he suffered while practicing in Sochi.

2. Michael had to do daily therapy for his hip and shoulder while in Sochi to lessen the pain to enable him to skate .

3. Michael's asthma started acting up day before the preliminary. His mother said he was wheezing and thankfully it did not progress to a full-on asthma attack .

4. The night before the finals, Michael only had two hours sleep as he was called for random doping test which kept him up till 3 a.m.. Michael had to be on the ice at 7 a.m. for his scheduled practice time. It was very hard to get Ice time so he had to use it despite lack of sleep

5. Michael joined 13 tournaments in 2013 to try and qualify for the Sochi Olympics. He finally got enough points in September 2013 after a tournament in Germany.

6. While training in the US, Michael and his mom would take the bus at 5 a.m. to get to the rink for training at 8 am. They would take another bus to get to another rink for training with the spin coach and still another bus to get to the choreographer training venue. MIchael needs a spin coach, a jump coach, a choreographer and a polishing coach to make a routine perfect.

7. Michael's mom paid US$2,000 to the choreographer who made Michael's two-minute routine for the preliminary competition at the Olympics. She had to pay another $130 per hour for the polishing lessons to execute the routine in top level for Olympics. Mrs. Martinez said the best choreographer charges $10,000 for a two-minute routine.

8. Michael's mom also studied the ins and out of skating when her son decided he wanted to go all out to become a world champion. She learned through books the steps, scoring and technical requirements of figure skating and she coached her son from 2005 onwards until they finally got a coach in the US in 2011.

9 Michael has been home-shooled since he was in grade school to give him more time to train on the ice six hours a day.

10. Michael is the only junior to make it to the Winter Olympics in Sochi. He beat at least 10 veterans to land 19th out of 30 competitors.

11. To win a medal in the 2018 Olympics, Michael's mom said training should start now. Michael needs to start perfecting the quad jump or four turns in the air. The ideal set up for him would be to based in the US (in Anaheim) where the coaches and competitions are many.

12. Michael and his mom would have preferred to stay in Europe to continue training for the World Junior Championships in Bulgaria March 10. But they are using the four-day visit to Manila to hopefully get sponsors to reach his full potential in figure skating.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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