After making it to the medal round, Filipino Michael Christian Martinez aims to give the country its very first Winter Olympics medal when he competes in the men’s figure skating event free program today in the Sochi Russia Winter Olympic Games at the Iceberg Skating Palace.
Martinez, who showcased a very fantastic form in the short program list Thursday, posted an inspiring 33.31 in technical and 31.5 in the component scores for a total of overall 64.81 points – his best ever – to make it to the top 24.
“I feel like a real champion,” the 17-year-old Martinez told the Associated Press after competing in the short program list. “I know I can make the free skate because I’m really prepared.”
In his facebook account, Martinez of Muntinlupa City is asking for prayers for the entire Filipino nation to make the improbable Friday night. “Please pray for me.”
Martinez skated on the sound of “Romeo and Juliet” by Arthur Fiedler and began hitting a nice triple axel that drew applause from the crowd although he didn’t finish the rotation on a triple lutz on his second jump and triple toe loop which lowered his marks from the judges.
But Martinez, who is coached by 76-year-old Russian Victor Kudryatsev, showed good spins in two minutes and 39 seconds and showed where he really belonged.
“I missed one jump but the rest was really good,” he added. “I’m really happy.”
Martinez was also assured of entry into the top 24 after Russian legend Evgeni Plushenko withdrew from the contest after hurting his back, while Viktor Romanekov of Estonia and Brendan Kerry of Great Britain failed to beat the Filipino’s score.
Martinez, who started ice skating in malls in Metro Manila, earned praises from the commentators too as a real entertaining skaters.
“History is being made,” said the announcer.
JOSEF T. RAMOS