Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Filipino skater makes it from mall to Olympics  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 14/02/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN -Arab News) SOCHI, Russia: Michael Martinez nailed the bow at the end

Four bows, to be exact, though no one could blame him. He didn’t seem to want to leave the ice Thursday night, and no one was going to blame him for that, either

This wasn’t the shopping mall in the Philippines, where he learned his jumps and spins while trying to avoid parents and their kids skating by on family outings. This was the Iceberg Skating Palace and this was the Olympics, where the teenager was desperate for the skate of his young life

He had less than three minutes to prove himself in the short program and make it to the men’s free skate final

If he didn’t, he might have to be thinking about the next step, perhaps working for his family raising vegetables to sell to Japan

The expenses had become too much. The mall had contributed some money, but in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan there wasn’t much the government could do for a figure skater, the nation’s only competitor in Sochi

The family home had already been mortgaged to pay for his skating. There was no more to give

“We’re hoping he makes it and some companies support him,” his mother, Maria Teresa Martinez, said. “Otherwise he will just have to stop. We cannot afford it anymore. It’s just so expensive and we can’t do another four years.

In a sequined and braided black and white outfit donated by a designer in New York who saw his Facebook plea for proper Olympic attire, Martinez took the biggest stage of his life, skating just two spots before the great Evgeni Plushenko was supposed to go in front of a capacity crowd at the Olympic arena

He acknowledged the polite applause, gliding to the center of the ice. He paused, struck a pose, and then began the most important skate of his career

“I was so nervous,” he said. “This was such a big event.

He had reason to be. At 17, he is the youngest skater in the program and the only Filipino figure skater ever in the Olympics

Still, Martinez was sure he would prevail. The gangly kid with the mop of black hair had to, because this has been his life ever since he walked by the rink in the Manila mall at the age of 9, saw the skaters, and declared to his mother that this was something he wanted to do

He fell on his behind that day, but that didn’t stop him from coming back the next. Neither did the asthma that put him in the hospital many times and kept him from playing sports outdoors

“I WILL make the free skate,” he declared after practice the night before. “Because I am prepared.

Preparation, though, only counts so much. So on his Facebook page, Martinez asked his friends to “Please pray for me.

He began his skate by hitting a nice triple axel, drawing applause from the crowd. But on his second jump he didn’t finish the rotation on a triple lutz and triple toe loop, lowering his marks from the judges

But his spins were good, the rest of the program nicely skated. Most importantly, he didn’t look like a 17-year-old making his Olympic debut

In 2 minutes and 39 seconds, Martinez showed he belonged. And now all there was to do was to wait

“I’m very happy and proud,” he said. “I missed just one jump but the rest of the program was good.

In the kiss-and-cry area, Martinez waved his jacket with “Philippines” on the back to the crowd, drawing cheers. He sat with the Russian coach his mother — who learned skating along with her son so she could save money by coaching him herself — had hired for him, flashing a thumbs-up sign as his score was posted

It was 64.81, his best ever. But Martinez would have to wait again to find out whether it would be good enough to be one of the top 24 skaters who make it to the free skate

“I think so, maybe half and half,” he said. “I’m a little confident, but then I’m not.

Nearby, though, some of the other early skaters were struggling. Some fell trying jumps, others made mistakes that lowered their scores

Plushenko himself fell on a triple axel in warm-ups, hurting his back and ending his bid to add another medal on home ice to the four he already won

Suddenly, the math was starting to look good. It wasn’t official yet, but Martinez had made it in

“I feel like a real champion,” he said

For one night at the Olympics, that’s exactly what the kid from the mall was.


 


Arab News




  MENA News Headlines
 Sep 20 2014 - Sputtering City bid to keep high-flying Chelsea in checkArab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times)  LONDON Sept 19 (AFP): Stung by a last-minute defeat in the Champions League Manchester City will attempt to make up ground in the Premier League title race when they host ...

 Sep 20 2014 - Everton return in style Spurs heldArab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times)  PARIS Sept 19 (AFP): Everton marked their first appearance in Europe since the 2009/2010 season with a 4-1 Europa League win over Wolfsburg while Celtic and Tottenham were ...

 Sep 20 2014 - OCA encouraging Saudi on women athletes: Sheikh AhmadArab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times)  INCHEON South Korea Sept 19 (AFP): Pop star Psy kicked off the Asian Games 'Gangnam Style' in an energetic K-Pop-fuelled ceremony Friday as North Korean athletes received ...

 Sep 20 2014 - Neeson in action in 'Tombstones'Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times)  LOS ANGELES Sept 19 (Agencies): It's not for nothing that the names of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe are reverentially referenced in writer-director Scott Frank's ...

 Sep 20 2014 - Indicators of US economy edge '0.2 percent' higher in AugustArab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times)  WASHINGTON Sept 19 (Agencies): A gauge designed to predict the economy's future health rose in August but at a much slower pace than in July. The Conference Board said ...

 Sep 20 2014 - Omniyat to launch 3 projects worth USD952.7m in DubaiMENAFN
(MENAFN) Omniyat, a leading development group in the Middle East, is set to launch three distinguished mega-projects worth USD952.70 million at Cityscape Global, Khaleej Times reported.The group's ...

 Sep 20 2014 - Egypt awards oil, gas exploration deals worth USD187mMENAFN
(MENAFN) The Egyptian Petroleum Minister said his country has signed oil and gas exploration deals worth USD187 million with some Western companies and a Tunisian firm, Arab News reported.The ...

 Sep 20 2014 - Morocco, Congo discuss maritime transport cooperationMENAFN
(MENAFN) Local media reported that Morocco and Congo are currently holding talks to boost the bilateral relations in the field of maritime transport, QNA reported.In a meeting that joined the ...

 Sep 20 2014 - Denmark tightens asylum laws citing Syrian influxArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) COPENHAGEN: Denmark said on Friday it would introduce a new temporary type of residence permit for asylum seekers fleeing civil wars such as the Syrian conflict after a huge ...

 Sep 20 2014 - Abbott cites 'chatter' of attacks on govt ParliamentArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) SYDNEY: Intelligence 'chatter' has revealed that militants plan to attack Australian politicians and government buildings the prime minister said on Friday a day after hundreds ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help