Figure skater Michael Christian Martinez is the lone representative of the Philippines in the Winter Olympics, but the 17-year-old from Muntinlupa has managed to grab a piece of the spotlight.
Martinez marched with the Philippine flag during the event’s opening rites early Saturday morning and did not go unnoticed during the international broadcast. The commentators called Martinez “a highly-talented figure skater” during the coverage of the lavish ceremonies.
He was also the subject of a profile by Nicholas McCarvel of NBCOlympics.com, the website of the event’s American broadcast partner.
The profile detailed Martinez’ journey to the Olympics from “an air-conditioned shopping mall in humid Manila at the age of nine.”
“For three years he skated once a week at the mall rink, taking lessons and building the foundation for the skills that would one day help take him to the Olympics,” the profile read.
The feature ended with Martinez talking about Filipino pride as he makes history as the first figure skater from the country to compete in the Olympics.
“I feel proud because there are a lot of people that say that because we’re a tropical country, we can’t do this or we can’t do that,” Martinez said. “But what I say to them is them is that I’ll be the first one to skate in the Olympics. I’m proud of that.”