by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News
LAKE FORREST, CA — The Philippines “ice prince,” Olympian figure skater Michael Martinez, is gearing up for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
But first, he needs to get through this week’s world championships, for one of the coveted slots.
The countdown to the Winter Games is on. Martinez will compete in this week’s world championships in Helsinki, Finland, beginning on Thursday.
Martinez practiced over the weekend before leaving for Finland, where he plans to show off his quad jump.
“I’m really excited to compete for the next world championships, also because it’s the next qualifying event for the Olympics, and I feel really ready for it,” he shared. “It’s been really really good. It wasn’t ready for the past completions, but I feel now it’s ready for the world championship.”
Martinez, who finished 19th at 2014 Winter Olympics, is currently ranked number 39 in the International Skating Unions world standings.
A Top 24 finish at the World Championships would punch his ticket to next years Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The once scrawny, injury-plagued ice prodigy is now 20-years-old, and has gone viral with his recent shirtless pictures showing off his muscles.
Despite the added attention, Martinez admits that he added muscle is to help him on the ice.
“I didn’t really see it was going to get that much attention, because I felt like really on my skating part. It help me a lot to reduce injuries and help me to perform better.”
Martinez isn’t the only one getting attention on social media.
He’s a proud doggy dad to a husky puppy named Mr. Ichiban, whom he adopted during the holidays, and also has his own Instagram.
Now in best shape of his career, no matter the results of the world championship, Martinez will continue competing when the new season starts in August — giving him a few months of tune-ups before the Winter Games.