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August 05, 2015, Wednesday
  • Sen. Trillanes cites security risk as primary reason why his witnesses in bribery charge vs. 2 CA justices won’t be able to testify. 12 hours ago |
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  • Sen. Trillanes says he will appear before CA hearing on Aug. 14 to explain his bribery charge vs. 2 CA justices. 12 hours ago |
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  • DMCI tells Supreme Court that Torre de Manila is outside the boundary of Rizal Park. 12 hours ago |
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  • Comelec Commissioner Christian Lim says the poll body can adjust its calendar of activities & extend campaign period when there is election. 12 hours ago |
  • LTFRB sues 2 fixers who had long been loitering in the agency’s vicinity & offering fake franchise to applicants. 12 hours ago |
  • Sen. Chiz Escudero says Comelec should castigate candidates abusing election rules instead of extending the campaign period. 12 hours ago |
  • Sen. Jinggoy Estrada has been experiencing light-headedness and acid reflux. 12 hours ago |
  • Sen. Jinggoy Estrada will undergo medical check up at Cardinal Santos Medical Center from 6 pm Tuesday until Thursday. 12 hours ago |
  • Sandiganbayan grants Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s request for a medical check up at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City. 12 hours ago |
  • PAGASA says frequent heavy rains in the afternoon in Metro Manila are just due to thunderstorms. 13 hours ago |
  • PAGASA says there is no weather disturbance currently affecting Metro Manila. 13 hours ago |
  • Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ is forecast to move west northwest at 20 kph. 13 hours ago |
  • Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ was located 1,770 kilometers east of Luzon at 2 pm on Tuesday. 13 hours ago |
  • Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ outside PAR has gustiness of up to 245 kph. 13 hours ago |
  • Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ outside PAR carries maximum sustained winds of up to 215 kph near the center. 13 hours ago |
  • Signal Number 3 may be raised over Cagayan when Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ enters PAR on Wednesday morning. 13 hours ago |
  • Batanes may experience Signal Number 4 when Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ (with local name ‘Hanna’) enters PAR on Wednesday morning. 13 hours ago |
  • Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos & Camsur Rep. Leni Robredo attend Liberal Party meeting in San Juan today with Mar Roxas. 13 hours ago |
  • Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos & Camsur Rep. Leni Robredo say no one has asked them to run as Roxas’ vice pres’l bet. 13 hours ago |
  • Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos says she may run for Congress but she has not made up her mind. 13 hours ago |
  • Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos says she is not eyeing the vice presidency. 13 hours ago |
  • Camsur Rep. Leni Robredo says she hopes Sen. Grace Poe will agree to become Roxas’ runningmate. 13 hours ago |
  • Camsur Rep. Leni Robredo says if ever she will seek a higher post, it may be the senate. 13 hours ago |
  • Camsur Rep. Leni Robredo says she has no plans of running for vice president. 13 hours ago |
  • Pampanga to experience power interruptions on Thursday. 18 hours ago |
  • Sen. Jinggoy Estrada says Binay’s ‘True State of the Nation’ or ‘TSONA’ reflects the real performance of the Aquino gov’t. 18 hours ago |
  • De Lima says DOJ has no evidence that will pin down House members to the alleged BBL payoff. 18 hours ago |
  • House Sgt. At Arms Radovan says their CCTVs store only 5 days worth of videos before these are automatically erased by the system. 18 hours ago |
  • House Sgt. At Arms Nicasio Radovan says CCTVs in Batasan Complex have no recording of alleged BBL payoff last May 25, 26 & 27. 18 hours ago |
  • Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano says Binay should release his ‘true SALN’ instead of delivering a counter-SONA. 18 hours ago |
  • DOTC Sec. Abaya hits back at Binay & says the VP does not understand the root cause of the MRT problem. 18 hours ago |

Michael Christian Martinez: Lone Filipino athlete in the Winter Olympics

By MST Sports | Feb. 02, 2014 at 12:01am

By David Casuco

LOS ANGELES—The lone Filipino athlete participating in the Winter Olympics capped his pre-Games preparation in Moscow at the Novogorsk Training Center in Khimki, a region 844 miles north of Sochi where the Winter Games will be held on February 7-23, 2014.

Fil-American Michael Christian
Martinez shows off his form as
a figure skating.

His name is Michael Christian Martinez, and his event is the men’s figure skating singles, one of the traditional centerpiece events in the Winter Olympic Games.

The men’s figure skating starts on Feb. 13, 17:00 pm onwards with competitors taking the ice with their short programs (SP).  Lots will be drawn for the skating order. Freeskates (FS) are scheduled on Feb. 14 .  Only the top 24 performers will advance to the freeskate.”

“I am confident that I will qualify in the freeskate or the final event.  I had enough training days in Moscow to polish my act,” Martinez told this writer. “Now, I am ready and my confidence level is high. Thanks to the great support from Filipinos all over the world.”

It was Victor Kudryavtsev, the Russian coach who mentored former Olympic champ Ilia Kulik, who took care of the final preparations for the Filipino’s Olympic stint.

 Make the freeskate; that is the realistic goal for the Filipino star figure skater.  Should Martinez finish inside the top 20 in the Olympics that would be a great accomplishment in itself.  In his event, he will be competing against the best and the battle-tested skaters in the world in an arena where excellence and perfection are required norms.

Ranked No. 29th figure skater in the world by the International Skating Union ( as of December 30, 2013, Martinez, who is widely regarded in the skating world as one of its future stars, booked his personal best of 67.01 (short program) at the World Junior Championship in February last year. He finished a strong fifth in that competition.

In November last year during the ISU-Junior Grand Prix in Tallin, Estonia, Martinez scored 135.15 in the freeskate for a combined total of 198.82 en route to a third place finish. Both scores remain his personal bests going into the Games.

Should those personal bests hold water in Sochi, Martinez could be somewhere in 18th-22nd places. The top favorites in the men’s figure skating singles—one of the centerpiece events in the Games—are three-time world champion Patrick Chan, Canada; Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan; Javier Fernandez, Spain; Dennis Ten of Kasakhstan, and ageless Evgeny Plushenko, the 2006 Olympic champion from Russia.

Martinez is the lone Filipino
athlete in the Winter Olympics
slated Feb. 7-23 in Sochi.

In an interview before he left California for Russia, Martinez told this writer that finishing in the top 24 is a realistic goal for him as he will be up against jaded and seasoned skaters, veteran athletes who have been into competitive skating for a long time.

“I am hoping to finish in the top 24 to qualify in the freeskate/final event.   I will be competing against older, veterans and more experienced skaters, some of them are former Olympians,” Martinez said.  “Several of these skaters had been skating even before I was born, thus it’s a very, very tough competition.”

Martinez also pointed out that many of these skaters are doing quad jumps consistently, while others will attempt to do quads.  “In my case, my Russian coach decided not to put my quad since it’s not yet consistent and to avoid stress on my knees and to keep me injury-free until the Olympics,” he said.

Martinez wound up his intense training under the watchful eyes of Victor Kudryavtsev, the Russian coach who mentored former Olympic champ Ilia Kulik. In  California, Martinez has two coaches—John Nicks and Ilia Kulik.

With barely a week before the Games, Martinez’s mom who also acts as de facto coach said that preparations, mindset, and the health of his son are upstanding.

“So far so good,” Martinez’s mom, Teresa said. “We stay indoors as much as possible. We are not taking any chances for Michael as he might get sick, especially that he is asthmatic. It is good that the training center is just beside the hotel. The temperature here dips as low as—11 Celsius.”

Martinez is the first homegrown Filipino athlete to see action in the Winter Olympics. A tropical country, the Philippines is not expected to have winter sports athletes. In fact, the Philippines does not have a National Sports Association that handles winter game sports. Regardless, four athletes represented the Philippines in the 1972, 1988, and 1992 Winter Games, but they were second, third generation Filipino expats who grew up or lived outside the country.

The Philippines’s 1972 bets Juan Cipriano and Ben Nanasca did not finish their slalom events in alpine skiing. At the 1988 Games in Calgary, Alberta, Raymund Ocampo, a Fil-Am luger, finished way off the leaders, while Michae Teruel, also an alpine skier, carried the PH tricolor at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. This Olympic year, yet another Fil-Am skater Christopher Caluza, vied for an Olympic slot to represent the Philippines, but he finished dead last at 34th in Skate Canada qualifier. Martinez, on the other hand, booked his Olympic ticket via the Nebelhorn Skateoff at 7th place. Among skaters seeking Olympic slots, the Filipino was third as the top four were in the skateoff just for trophies.

In the case of Martinez, he was born and raised in Metro Manila, a place where people think an ice rink is a kind of popsicle, a triple axel an item inside the tool box, and figure skating as mere recreational sports. Martinez’s phenomenal skills notwithstanding, the boy soon found out that the greater odd to contend with in the sports that he loves is the cost of training expense to raise his game to the next level and eventually become a world beater. People who understand figure skating agree that with a talent like Martinez, the possibilities are limitless. In young Martinez, we could be looking at a very unlikely hero who can deliver PH’s quest for the elusive Olympic gold. But the Philippine sports establishment, which is populated by bureaucrats that are essentially politicos, are not quite responsive to the idea of raising up a real Filipino athlete who can bring home a gold medal.

Meanwhile, like the real life-inspired movie “Cool Runnings” where the Jamaican bobsled team had to raise funds doing arm-wrestling, singing on the street, and holding a kissing booth, Martinez and his supporters in Los Angeles continue to raise additional training funds dancing the zumba. (MNS)

(David Casuco writes sports and spirituality for and Mabuhay News Service. He obtained his journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas and took expanded theological studies at the Angelus Bible Institute in Los Angeles. He is also a member of the southern california Fil-Am community

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