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Winter Olympian Michael Martinez Needs Filipinos' Help

Michael Martinez seeks financial help to pay for his training expenses.
IMAGE DAVID W. CARMICHAEL, INSTAGRAM/MICHAEL MARTINEZ
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Filipino figure skater Michael Martinez, who put the Philippines on the map in the figure skating world, is no longer the tall and slim kid we witnessed in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. 

Martinez is the 2015 Asian Figure Skating Trophy champion, a two-time Triglav Trophy champion, and a winner of an ISU Challenger Series medal—a silver at the 2014 Warsaw Cup.

He is the only athlete from the Philippines and Southeast Asia who qualified for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Martinez was 16 when he competed in Sochi. A lot has changed since then. Now, the 24-year-old is grown-up and more muscular and has also taken to posing shirtless on Instagram, showing off his Olympic Rings tattoo. 

But where has he been all this time since he competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics?

Turns out, Martinez has been training a lot in the U.S., where his coaches are based. There are also more skating rinks there, so Martinez can train in a relatively more private setting than the skating rinks of an SM mall, where he initially trained as a teenager.

In April 2021, Martinez asked the public for financial support for his 2022 Winter Olympics bid. 

“I am humbly reaching out to you to join me on my journey towards the 2022 Winter Olympics and bring recognition once again to the Philippines,” wrote Martinez on Facebook. 

“My team and I have organized a fundraising campaign called ‘MICHAEL MARTINEZ - Road to 2022 Winter Olympics’ to help out with the training expenses for the reason that I currently don't have sponsors yet.”

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His GoFundMe page has a target of $50,000, but three months into its launch, he has raised only $7,385. 

“Michael is already taking crucial steps to gain the best chances of becoming one of the contenders at the Winter Olympics. He is currently going through intensive training in the USA under Nikolai Morozov, a renowned top international coach in figure skating,” a description on the page reads. 

“No tropical nation has ever won a Winter Olympic medal, and for all intents and purposes, Michael is vying to be the first.”

With no sufficient funding from the Philippine government, Martinez has to resort to crowdsourcing to bring glory not only to the Philippines, but to all of Southeast Asia. Notably, when he competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics, the whole region cheered for him. 

Currently, Martinez is not yet named to represent the Philippines in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing and needs to undergo the qualifying process set by the Philippine Skating Union.

Martinez regularly updates his Instagram account, where he posts videos of his training on the ice.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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