Quotes: 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
 Nov 27 2014 - Lebanon mourns 'songbird' SabahArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) BEIRUT: Iconic Lebanese singer and actress Sabah died Wednesday at the age of 87 after a seven-decade career and a colorful love life that kept her in the headlines until the ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Egypt drops ban on 'adults only' filmArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) CAIRO: An Egyptian court has revoked a government ban on a film by Lebanese star Haifa Wehbe that had been deemed sexually provocative judicial sources said on Wednesday.In April ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Saudi- Prince vanishes from social mediaArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) NEW YORK: Prince whose distaste for the music industry's conventions is well known has abruptly disappeared from social media after tentative efforts to promote his two new ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Saudi- Cumberbatch quits smokingArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) LONDON: 'Sherlock' star Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed he left smoking one month back.The 38-year-old actor said staying away from cigarette is helping him stay healthy ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Saudi- Dilip Kumar perfectly fine: Big BArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) MUMBAI: Thespian Dilip Kumar is 'perfectly fine' says actor Amitabh Bachchan quashing rumors of the former's health scare.Social networking platforms were abuzz with rumors ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Saudi- Turki Khan: Changing society one step at a timeArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Dreams ambitions and determination have no limits dedication to those three traits can take that dreamer ambition-seeker and determined young man or woman to places he or she ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Saudi- Exploring fine art through pencilArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Eman Al-Qahtani is a successful talented and ambitious young Saudi artist. She combines thoughts and colors in her paintings. She has her own art method; a painting is to deliver ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Saudi- Qatar lifts 22nd Arabian Gulf CupArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Qatar rallied to get the better of Saudi Arabia 2-1 to win the 22nd Arabia Gulf Cup football tournament at the King Fahd International stadium in Riyadh Wednesday night.Playing ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Saudi- Al Kabeer climbs to No. 2 after honors sweep in Globe CupArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) One mighty performance that saw Al Kabeer Frozen Foods sweep honors had the defending champion moving up the leaderboard after the eighth week in the Thursday League 12th ...

 Nov 27 2014 - Al-Taib wins Fastest Car Race 2014 in RiyadhArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Ahmed Al-Taib a Saudi topped the Fastest Car Race 2014 which was organized at Dirab Park racetrack in Riyadh. Al-Taib won the race in a Porsche 911 Turbo which is characterized ...

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

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

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
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


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


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help