By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
June 3, 2013
HACKENSACK, NJ – Figure skating is a sport that tells a story through the art of music, the art of movement and the art of performance.
When it’s performed by figure skating champions like Michael Christian Martinez, it all comes together as one amazing art on ice.
The sole Filipino to compete in the Winter Olympics Sochi is now training at the Ice House in Hackensack, NJ.
World renowned Russian coach Nikolai Alexandrovich Morozov choreographed a whole new program for Martinez, in time for his next season of figure skating competitions in August.
Morozov has coached Olympic Gold medalists and world champions.
He may charge about $5,000 for a four-minute program, but Martinez said, it’s worth every dime as this would take him to the next level of competitiveness.
“Ang dami nagsasabi na parang kulang, hindi ka mukhang top level dun sa mga katulad ni Patrick Chan saka Yuzuru,” Martinez said. “So sabi namin kahit mahal gawin natin.
“Yung mga estudytante niya nasa Olympics, nasa top level and grabe makikita mo talaga yung pag-project nila, yung program nila at ang taas talaga ng scores,” Martinez said.
After a strong debut at the Winter Olympics in Sochi followed by a gold medal at the Triglav Trophy in Slovenia, one would think that he is now getting all the financial support he needs. But Martinez said that is not the case.
“Lahat ginagawa namin kahit walang masyadong fundings. Tinatry pa rin namin na kumuha ng coach na tutulong sa akin maka-pursige ako, maganda yung kalabasan sa 2018,” Martinez said.
From now until 2018, Martinez said he is setting his eyes on qualifying for the next Winter Olympic games.
In a sport that requires grace and precision, Martinez says, long hours of practice until near perfection is key to winning.
But every practice costs at least $10 to $15 an hour, on top of the cost of hiring award-winning coaches.
Martinez said, when he can’t afford it he uses the technique of visualization – playing the program over and over in his head.
“Lalo na sa pag tulog ko, kasi para hindi sayang sa oras and sa money,” Martinez said. “So yun nga nakakatulong din dahil ah yun nga pag-tapak mo sa yelo parang ilang beses ka na nag-practice ng ano dahil nag-visualization.”
The artist on ice said his two biggest fears at this stage in his career is to lose funding for practice and competitions or getting injured.
“Yun nga, financially, kung wala talagang suporta, I have to, you know, stop skating. Plus, yung injuries din yung fears ko,” he said.
Martinez said, he may not have all the financial support he has been hoping for but he is now getting all the emotional and spiritual support from his fans.
“Siyempre nagpapasalamat ako dahil continuous pa rin ang suporta nila sa akin and dumadami pa ang sumusuporta sa akin,” Marinez said. “Kung hindi dahil sa inyo, I can’t move on, i can’t push myself to the limits.”
The new 4-minute and 30-second free skate program will debut at the Asian Trophy in Taiwan in August.
You can contact Don Tagala at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.