By Connie Macatula-DeLeon, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Oct. 27, 2014
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – 2014 Skate America, the first of six events of the 2014 International Skating Union Grand Prix Series, ended this weekend.
Seventeen-year-old Filipino skater Michael Martinez placed 10th out of 12 in the short program and free-skating events.
Martinez, an inspiration not only to ice-skating fans but also to millions of Filipinos back home, is very grateful for the show of support.
“Grabe,” said Martinez. “Nakakaiyak po. Actually, nung nakita ko ‘yung mga flag, parang natanggal ‘yung halos lahat ng kaba ko. Grabe ‘yung tuwa na nakita ko do’n.”
Martinez, the first Filipino to represent Southeast Asia in the Grand Prix Series, competed with back, thigh, and ankle injuries.
He sustained deductions because of a total of three falls in two performances.
But this did not stop him from staying positive. Martinez’ coach says he is doing this not only for himself, but also for his country.
“He’s so excited to go out there to perform for them and to make them proud,” said coach Peter Kongkasem, “and I see that everyday in practice whenever he is at the rink.”
Martinez’ fans in Chicago say he is a true inspiration, especially to kids who aspire to be ice skaters like him.
“I’ve been watching him over the past years and he has been working really hard,” said Kayley Licudine, a Chicago-based figure skater.
Fans have followed Martinez through 23 international skating competitions, including the 2014 Winter Olympics. He has a message to all his followers around the world.
“Maraming, maraming salamat ulit sa inyong suporta and ‘yung mga prayers,” said Martinez. “Ang laki ng tulong nito sa performance ko.”
Martinez will gear up for his next competition in Warsaw, Poland.