Filipino figure skater Michael Martinez, 21, failed to advance at the 2018 Winter Olympics after ranking 28th in the men’s singles. But being the sole competitor for the Philippines in figure skating was more than enough for him and his countrymen to celebrate.
During his homecoming on February 22, 2018 at the SM Skating in SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Martinez was given a warm welcome by the media and his supporters. In a brief one-on-one interview with him, I asked him whether he believes that champions are made or born.
“I truly believe that, you know, everything happens for a reason,” Martinez replied. “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.”
In 2014, Martinez made history at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia as the first figure skater from Southeast Asia to qualify for the Olympics. But in September 2017 in Germany, he needed to finish in the top six to qualify for the PyeongChang Games but he finished in seventh.
Thinking it was just not meant to be, Martinez stopped skating. But going to the Olympics one more time was apparently written in his fate.
The National Olympic Committee of Sweden returned its qualification place that Alexander Majorov 16 days before the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang Games. This allowed Martinez to compete.
Since September 2017, Martinez had not practiced while working as an assistant at a law firm in Irvine, California and studying business law. He had to make up for the period that he hanged up his skates.
Although Martinez did not advance at the 2018 Winter Olympics, he is proud to be among the 30 best figure skaters in the world and so are his fellow Filipinos. Here is a short interview I had with the Filipino Olympian: