LAKE FORREST — As the Winter Games draw close, the 21-year-old Michael Martinez continues to put in some weekend work with coach Slava Zagor, as a few of his supporters have been dropping by to watched and give him their warm wishes as he heads to Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“Practice has been really good I’m pretty excited to do my performance out there for me. I’m really really excited, super happy, like I don’t know how to say it full of emotions every day just to qualify for the Olympics,” said Martinez.
After making history four years ago as the first Southeast Asian figure skater in the Olympics, Martinez will make history again when he takes the ice as the first Philippine athlete to compete in back-to-back Games.
He was only 17-during the Sochi and has grown since, the Tropical Ice Prince now stands about 2 inches taller, and packs on at least an extra ten pounds of muscle.
“Performance-wise, my choreography wise is a lot better. The way I project on the ice is a lot better because I have strength and injury wise I avoid it.”
Despite the added physique, he says sports science may not be on his side as he attempts to execute a quad jump.
“For my body type it’s just very, very hard especially for my body type. It’s really hard to do the job. It takes years to really do it. Trying striving to do it as fast as I can, but it won’t be ready for the Olympics but if you look at the other skaters smaller compact body thinner, the skinnier body they can do it no matter what, it’s physics.”
Martinez will leave Southern California for Pyeongchang on February 5th, and will compete on the 17th, giving him a few more days of practice in South Korea before he takes the stage.