Michael Christian Martinez Embraces Winter Olympic Spirit, Favorite Athlete Due To Character
Like homes all over the world James and I have watched countless hours as the 2014 Winter Olympics play out from Sochi, Russia. We have been thrilled with downhill skiing, short track, cross country, snow boarding, speed skating, and last but not least figure skating. We have clapped for athletes from a wide variety of countries, been pleased with American success, but also mindful that grand sportsmanship has no national label.
Such is the case with Michael Christian Martinez.
I have had no greater concern about an athlete moving forward during the games than when Martinez performed the short skate and needed to be one of the top 24 contenders to advance to the free skate. When he prevailed I clapped, and not because of anyone else he was skating against but simply because Martinez contains all the spirit and true energy of the Olympic spirit. In the end he placed 19th in the men’s finals, and yet he walks (or skates) out of the winter games a winner in the real sense of the word. A small framed young man–age 17–with a world class dream.
He caught my attention at once when during the opening ceremony Martinez was the lone athlete and flag-bearer. With poise and a winning countenance he walked in proudly, being the first Olympic figure skater from the Philippines.
But then I started to learn more about his background and I became prouder of him; loudly cheering as he performed. The financial struggles his family faced in helping him train for a costly sport, not having the type of coaching opportunities his competitors enjoyed, and self-training some of his triple jumps from what he had seen others perform made him my type of athlete. My heart warmed when it was reported during the free skate that during warm-ups he would do a jump and then glance over his shoulder to see if his idols on the ice had noticed.
Michael Christian Martinez personifies the hopes and aspirations of the Olympic dream. He comes at his dream from the ‘every man or woman’ perspective and that is one reason he is cheered from around the globe. It is my hope that the Philippine government or a Filipino company will ante up the money that will allow this young man to medal in the 2018 winter games. It is crystal clear that he has the core abilities and needs now to have the expertise from a solid coaching experience.
Regardless of the future one thing is clear. Michael Christian Martinez has won the hearts of many by coming to the Olympics with the true spirit of the games in his soul.